B’Tselem Slams Coke Bottler for Donation to Right-Wing Group

YERUSHALAYIM -
Boxes of Coca-Cola bottles on the assembly line at the Coca-Cola plant in Bnei Brak. (Yaakov Naumi/Flash90)

Right-wing group Im Tirzu, which has in the past made it a priority to reveal the funding connection between leftist groups and European governments, got a taste of its own medicine this week. According to Yediot Acharonot, the organization tried to hide the fact that it received a donation of NIS 50,000 from the Central Bottling Company, the distributor of Coca-Cola in Israel.

Last year, Im Tirzu ran a campaign in which it “fingered” leftist groups which it claims are working on behalf of European nonprofit organizations and against Israeli interests. In the campaign, which consisted of printed material and social media messages, Im Tirzu “named names,” including senior members of groups like B’Tselem, as “foreign agents” who were funded by European groups. Those Israeli groups, with foreign backing, besmirch the name of Israel and act against it, weakening it in the international arena, Im Tirzu charged. The campaign is seen as having been a key factor in the promotion of “sunshine” legislation that requires organizations to reveal the sources of their funding, proposed by several MKs.

The “secret” In Tirzu funding was unveiled by a Meretz activist, who last month filed a request with the nonprofit authority of the Finance Ministry to demand funding information about Im Tirzu. The request revealed the source of the donation, as well as a request by Im Tirzu to keep the information about the donation confidential. The request was denied. “The attempt to hide the donation opens up to us a map of interests among donors to Im Tirzu, although it is unclear what stands behind their motives,” Meretz said.

In response, Im Tirzu head Matan Peleg told the newspaper that “a donation to Im Tirzu is a donation to support Zionism, to protect the interests of the IDF, and to protect IDF soldiers from accusations and persecutions abroad. We would prefer that the leftist groups spend their time trying to ‘unveil’ facts about us, instead of using their time to defame IDF soldiers, as they often do.” The Central Bottling Company told the newspaper that it had no comment.