Monday, August 6, 2012

Flashback: The Homeland Security Program Made for Jewish Non-Profits

Noel Brinkerhoff
Chabad Rabbi Levi Shemtov
with Barack Obama
While nothing in its policy guidelines say it’s supposed to be this way, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has distributed the vast majority of its nonprofit security grants to Jewish organizations.
During one three-year period (2007-2010), Jewish groups received 73% of DHS’ Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) awards. This share grew larger in 2011 (80%) and still larger in 2012 (97%).

In total dollars, Jewish institutions will take in $9.7 million in NSGP grants this year out of $10 million available.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano explained the results of the program’s grant awards this way: “Unfortunately there are risks attendant on the Jewish community that are not attendant on all other communities.”

The point of the NSGP funding is to help nonprofits at risk of terrorist attacks to better protect themselves. Orthodox Jewish groups in particular have done better than non-Orthodox Jewish groups in receiving assistance, presumably because they are more likely to be targeted by anti-Semitic movements. Of the 109 NSGP grants in 2012, 35 went to groups linked to Chabad, an orthodox Hasidic organization. A majority of the funding went to groups in the areas of New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Only a few the NSGP recipients this year were not Jewish. These included a San Diego church, a Planned Parenthood center in Washington and a New York City Catholic church.
DHS policy defines preferred recipients as those having “the highest risk of terrorism-related activity due to their ideology, beliefs and mission.”
-Noel Brinkerhoff

To Learn More:
Jewish Groups Grab Huge Share of Grants (by Josh Nathan-Kazis, Jewish Daily Forward)
How an Anti-Terror Program Became a Jewish Earmark (by Nathan Guttman, Eileen Reynolds and Maia Efrem, Jewish Daily Forward)
FY 2012 Nonprofit Security Grant Program (Department of Homeland Security) (pdf)

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