Over the past few months, people and organizations who have been public in supporting a permanent ceasefire and an end to Israel’s US-funded genocide of Palestinians have been experiencing consequences. I know colleagues who have faced harassment and intimidation at work for wearing a keffiyeh. Others whose organizations have been losing funding from existing funders because they put out a statement calling for a ceasefire. A colleague told me a donor who had committed to hosting a fundraising event pulled out last minute because one of the org’s founders and board members have been vocal in condemning Israel’s genocidal actions. I’ve lost a few thousand followers, had keynote invitations rescinded, and have had to deal with online harassment since my post on October 17th.

None of this, of course, is going to stop us. The things we face are nowhere near the horrors Palestinians are experiencing right now, and we all need to be even more forceful in speaking up. Israel is now carpet-bombing Rafah, where Palestinians civilians had been ordered to evacuate to. All of us in the US are funding it, as our elected officials get ready to approve sending more than $17B dollars to Israel to continue its genocide of Palestinians. It should horrify all of us in this sector that we could solve homelessness and have universal healthcare and education, but instead, our tax dollars are being used to massacre children and civilians in Palestine every day.

All of this backlash has been highlighting a serious weakness in our sector, and that is the lack of support and protection from funders for progressive leaders and organizations who speak up against injustice. Not just on this genocide and during this time, but across a range of issues and for decades. This has been the default pattern: The right-wing will rally around their leaders, knowing their figureheads are their most important assets. Just look at all the support generated for Kyle Rittenhouse, who murdered two people who were protesting racial injustice. He received a ton of money for his legal defense, got invited to Mar-a-Lago, and gets booked for speaking engagements. He’ll likely get a book deal, possibly be invited to be a contributor on various new channels.

Meanwhile liberal-and-progressive-leaning funders will back away, leaving defenseless those who take risks in standing up for justice and equity. A few years ago, for instance, some colleagues told me one of their board members said something that offended a right-wing pundit with a large national platform. This pundit went on their air and blasted the board member and the organization. For weeks, the board and staff were getting violent messages, including death threats. When they approached their funders asking for help, the funders did nothing, terrified that they would be in the crosshairs too. The lack of support makes it harder for people and orgs to speak up, which makes us all less effective in effecting change.

Read the full article about supporting organizers by Vu Le at Nonprofit AF.