Coca-Cola Israel Donated to Left-bashing Group Im Tirtzu

Im Tirtzu, which led campaigns against marking the Nakba and accused human-rights activists of being 'moles,' wanted to cover up the $14,000 donation

Members of the group Im Tirtzu
Members of the group Im Tirtzu Tess Scheflan / Jini

Israel’s Coca-Cola franchisee contributed 50,000 shekels ($13,850) to right-wing group Im Tirtzu in 2015, a document from the Israel Corporations Authority shows.

The authority refused a request from Im Tirtzu director Matan Peleg to keep confidential the donation by the franchisee, the Central Bottling Company, also known as Coca-Cola Israel. The document was sent two months ago by an accountant for the corporations authority, Regina Halperin.

The existence of the document was first reported by the daily Yedioth Ahronoth.

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According to Halperin, since the Central Bottling Company did not send a letter stating why the contribution should be kept confidential, the authority found no reason to make an exception to the policy of the Registrar of Non-Profit Organizations on the matter. The statement by Halperin became public after it was obtained by Uri Zaki, a senior official of the left-wing Meretz party.

Im Tirtzu has led several campaigns that raised an uproar, including one against Israeli Arabs marking the Nakba (Catastrophe), when more than 700,000 Arabs fled or were expelled during Israel’s War of Independence.

Im Tirtzu also accused certain human rights activists of being “moles” or “plants” working against Israel, and lashed out at artists − including writers Amos Oz and David Grossman − for supporting them. In 2013, a judge ruled against Im Tirtzu in a libel case, writing that although Im Tirtzu’s principles did not mirror those of fascism, there were “similarities” between the two.

“A contribution to Im Tirtzu is support for promoting Zionism in Israeli society, protecting Zionist interests and protecting the soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces from persecution and defamation,” Im Tirtzu said.

Calling such a donation an investment in the fight against domestic efforts  to delegitimize Israel, Im Tirtzu said it would continue to work against anyone acting against Israeli soldiers or acting “to erase the country’s Jewish and democratic character.”

The Central Bottling Company has not yet answered Haaretz's request for a response.