Is US group raising funds for Hamas?

Wednesday, December 09, 2009 |  Israel Today Staff

US Attorney General Eric Holder is being urged to launch an investigation into whether or not a new pro-Palestinian charity is raising funds on American university campuses that will eventually end up in Hamas' pockets.

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) this week sent Holder a letter accusing the Viva Palestina USA group of not only raising support for the population of Gaza, but for its Hamas rulers as well.

Sherman noted that Viva Palestina USA was founded by British lawmaker George Galloway, and was modeled after his British-based charity Viva Palestina.

In their first visit to Gaza in March, Galloway and other Viva Palestina representatives gave medical supplies to Gaza hospitals, but also met with and voiced their support for Hamas leaders. According to a report at the time, Galloway held up a bag of cash, declared that it was not charity, but politics, and handed it to Hamas officials.

When Viva Palestina USA first visited Gaza several months later, it avoided outright political statements, but Sherman and other pro-Israel figures in the US insist the spirit and intentions remain the same.

If true, that could cause legal problems for the group, which started raising fund on the campus of the University of California, Irvine during the summer. It if a federal crime to raise money in the US that may end up in the hands of recognized terror groups.

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