Fake Charities

An organisation based in New York calling itself the Anne Frank Center is apparently not quite as it’s name suggests:

The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, known until about a year ago as the Anne Frank Center USA, is a small organization of about nine staffers. It is independent from the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, which memorializes Anne’s hiding place, and is not connected at all to the Anne Frank Fonds, the Swiss organization that owns the rights to Anne’s diary.

The Anne Frank Center has reliably been willing to criticize the Trump administration in more aggressive and hyperbolic terms than any of these well-established groups, and media outlets have credulously rewarded it with extensive coverage.

With just its famous name and a savvy social-media strategy, the Anne Frank Center has transformed into a putative authority on anti-Semitism and American politics. But it’s not at all clear the organization speaks for anybody other than its own leaders—not Holocaust scholars, Anne Frank’s family, or the Jewish community.

In other words, it’s a political lobby group masquerading as a benevolent organisation under a highly misleading name.

This is more common than you think, and the only surprise (or not, given the state of our media) is that these fraudsters are not called out more often. In Britain we have the wonderfully named Oxford Committee for Famine Relief (OXFAM) which appears to exist primarily to agitate for redistributive policies at home rather than alleviate hunger abroad. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) seems only concerned that western, liberal democracies have nuclear weapons; communist and other oppressive regimes get a free pass. I could go on.

The sooner these organisations are stripped of their charitable status and treated the same as every other special interest political lobby group, the better.

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17 thoughts on “Fake Charities

  1. I guess that imitating Anne Frank’s memory will always be subject to some level of controversy.

  2. There’s another tier of faux-charities: businesses masquerading as social groups.

    Average annual margins at housing associations is in the region of 35%. No tax paid as all are charities. No issue with that, per se, as profits tend to get ploughed back into development of homes (eventually). What does get my goat is that these housing associations lobby government- the larger Ines directly, the less large ones via the Nat Fed, and frequently they do so in groups ( the G15, for instance)

    They are institutionally soft-left: and exist through subsidy.

  3. Anecdote time, sorry. When I was a worker I was invited on to the board of a charity (fully registered as such) which was set up to help old people in need. A lot of its efforts went towards raising money to buy old people — and this was set up when the welfare system was unable to help so many — things like new mattresses and items of furniture. There were also drives to get people to donate tinned foods. In both respects it was local, modest and reasonably successful. Distressing though it could be to hear of the mess some old people got themselves into, there was a sort of feel good sense to being part of it all. Other established local charities would contact us to help elderly people — this remember was in an industrial (or becoming post-industrial) city and there was little in prospect for a lot of the old people whose working life had come to an end.

    Anyway, this feel good sense was pulled up sharp at one meeting when the chairman reminded us all that being in the ‘driving seat’ of this charity was a legal obligation for us all. If we acted improprerly, were deemed dishonest and our accounts not signed off properly, we could be accused of crimes which if proved, were worthy of jail time. For us all as board members, not just him.

    Happily it never came to that but I do wonder when I hear of these faux-charities and what they get up to (national laws allowing) whether there is any attempt to examine their funding, outgoings and aims. But then perhaps the people charged with examining such matters have an agenda too, so not much will happen there.

  4. “Build it and they will come”

    If you build a shelter for hedge hogs in your garden, don’t be surprised if a fox takes residence.

  5. “But then perhaps the people charged with examining such matters have an agenda too, so not much will happen there”

    Unless it is a conservative charity, in which case expect a visit from the tax man and the health and safety inspector real soon.

  6. I learnt only recently that who wrote the Anne Frank diaries is a matter of contention. The options seem to be that either the poor girl’s jottings were edited, probably heavily, by her father, or that he wrote it all himself.

    Finding this out took me to some pretty repulsive websites. But if decent people refuse to think critically, and speak freely, on such issues, they leave the issues in the hands of indecent people. The costs of censorship, including self-censorship, are heavy.

    As for Oxfam, I’ve told my tale about them too often on the internet. What a shower!

  7. Amuses me when I tell people that Anne Frank was infact a German, a Hessian to be precise and that her dad was a decorated German war hero. You wouldn’t believe , or perhaps you would, the number of people who think ‘Jewish’ is a nationality. Think she acquired Dutch Citizenship via her parents but as the Reich didn’t allow it’s citizens to change their nationality it is moot I suspect.

    On the subject of ‘fake’ charities here at home , one need look no further than ASH and it’s hangers ons such as ‘Smoke free Kiddies…Let the little buggers buy their own’ or whatever they are called. Although they are a registered charity, they are merely a government funded lobby group paid to lobby the government ( I kid you not). Public Health Tobacco Control Industry troughers getting rich off the taxes paid by those they despise and the industry they demonize.
    https://headrambles.com/2017/04/25/ash-advises-investment-in-big-tobacco/

  8. Faux-charities always makes me think of Chuggers. You know, those dreadful people who either ambush you on the street or call at your door in the hope of making you feel guilty about life so you’ll eagerly cough up cash to help pay the wages of the luxury-loving executives and hangers-on at the top. We always say, “Thanks, but we already gave.” It usually works.

  9. There’s another tier of faux-charities: businesses masquerading as social groups.

    That is something of which I am wholly unaware! Thanks!

  10. But then perhaps the people charged with examining such matters have an agenda too, so not much will happen there.

    Exactly: the people tasked with enforcing the law are on the side of the fake charities, and vice versa.

  11. I learnt only recently that who wrote the Anne Frank diaries is a matter of contention. The options seem to be that either the poor girl’s jottings were edited, probably heavily, by her father, or that he wrote it all himself.

    Probably. I’ve never read them, but the poor girl was still murdered and often something symbolic like this has a history a little more murky than is made out. Provided you read these stories which a slightly skeptical eye, I don’t see the problem.

  12. Yep, they’re not being frank with us. I’ll get my coat …

    Fuck me. Does WordPress have a shadow-banning plugin?!

  13. On the subject of ‘fake’ charities here at home , one need look no further than ASH and it’s hangers ons such as ‘Smoke free Kiddies

    Oh, I’m well aware of them. The sugar lot aren’t any better.

  14. On the subject of Anne Frank, it is interesting that so many foreign tpourists in Amsterdam make a beeline for the Anne Frank House, whereas it is mostly shunned by the local population. There is a murky history here in that they feel the income it makes is squirrelled away to Switzerland to a stiftung which, I believe, was set up by Anne’s father. If the stories about the family being ratted out by the neighbours is true then perhaps you can understand Mr Frank’s reluctance to do anything to benefit them. However, there is a resentment that something shameful is being benefited from by outsiders.

  15. “Finding this out took me to some pretty repulsive websites”

    I learned of the controversy from a Dutchman in Amsterdam. He added this in after many a strong coffee and explaining to me that the Dutch Tulip Bulb Bubble was a complete myth, now that did surprise me and I stopped looking any further into it after that.

    I was watching the BBC History of the World last night and it had an entire segment on the Dutch Tulip Bulb Myth, although they omitted to mention that it was a myth.

  16. On the subject of Anne Frank, it is interesting that so many foreign tpourists in Amsterdam make a beeline for the Anne Frank House, whereas it is mostly shunned by the local population.

    That’s not the only thing of note in Amsterdam to which this applies!

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