Frequently Asked Questions

Since 1967, Israel has been establishing illegal settlements on stolen Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza. All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law and, since 1967, they are the primary driver of Israel’s expulsion and dispossession of Palestinians from their land, destruction of Palestinian homes, cities, and towns, and theft of Palestinian natural resources. 

Over 700,000 Israeli settlers live on 250 illegal settlements built on Palestinian land in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Israeli settlements have carved the occupied West Bank into disconnected islands of Palestinian bantustans, completely cut off from one another, and surrounded by areas Palestinians are prohibited from entering. To expand these settlements, Israeli settlers and their institutions have used a combination of discriminatory laws, Israeli military decrees, surveillance, and outright violence, often waged by private individuals with the backing of the Israeli military. 

The pursuit of the Israeli settlement project entails several war crimes, including the unlawful appropriation or seizure of Palestinian land, the forcible transfer of Palestinians from their land, and the transfer of Israelis onto occupied Palestinian land.

In May 2024 – one year later – we are expanding the bill in light of New York-based organizations fundraising for the Israeli military’s genocidal operations in Gaza.

This moment calls for renewed efforts to ensure our money isn’t supporting Israeli war crimes. It has become even more urgent to ensure that our institutions, and our state, are not complicit in war crimes, including those happening daily in Gaza.

Students across New York State have powerfully demanded divestment of university endowments from Israeli war crimes. We are heeding this call by introducing legislation to ensure that at the bare minimum, our state cannot classify financial support for war crimes as tax-advantaged charitable giving.

The Not on Our Dime! Act (A6943A/S6992A) takes on the issue of charitable status for organizations that support illegal activities, and helps stop New York State’s support for Israeli war crimes in three ways:

  1. The legislation establishes a prohibition in the not-for-profit corporation law on aiding and abetting illegal Israeli settlement activity, or war crimes more generally,  and clarifies that such support is inconsistent with any charitable purpose. The legislation allows the Attorney General to fine organizations that knowingly fund war crimes by a sum not less than one million dollars. It also empowers the Attorney General to strip the charitable status of any organization found to be in violation of the Act.
  2. The legislation empowers Palestinians who have been harmed by settlements,  settler violence, or other war crimes funded in part by New York-based charities to seek accountability. This legislation offers Palestinians a day in court against individuals and organizations who knowingly bankroll this violence.

Overall, this legislation makes clear that New Yorkers do not support violations of international human rights law. By explicitly naming Israeli settlements, and the war crimes that they entail, this legislation signals New Yorkers’ values, and directs enforcement priorities. This would be a first under New York law and in the nation.

In New York State, the Attorney General, through the New York Charities Bureau, is tasked with regulating charitable organizations, including by ensuring that those organizations – which claim to be holding assets or accepting funds for charitable purposes – are actually using funds for charitable purposes. 

The Attorney General has the power to strip any organization that improperly claims a charitable purpose of their non-profit status. 

This pioneering legislation makes explicit what is implicit – that a certain class of activities are fundamentally inconsistent with a charitable purpose, and should therefore subject an organization to dissolution.

  • The legislation is specific as to which activities are fundamentally inconsistent with a charitable purpose – violations of the Geneva Conventions and Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. 
  • The legislation names specific internationally recognized war and atrocity crimes which are currently being funded by NYS charitable organizations – an issue that has been the subject of deep reporting and thorough journalistic investigation.

This legislation creates an explicit cause of action, allowing individuals who have been harmed by settlement activity to sue the NY-based groups who aided and abetted them.

Many organizations have already called on the Attorney General’s office to use the ample authority she has under existing law to investigate New York-registered charities, and we stand ready to support any of her efforts to do so.

The most urgent solution is a ceasefire – an end to the genocide in Gaza, and U.S. complicity in it. In New York, we know that funds from organizations registered as charities are actively facilitating war crimes and human rights violations, and we must fight to end this practice. This bill offers a specific way to target our state’s complicity in this practice and hold our state accountable.