A look at the mystery man at the top of J Street.
Who is Davidi Gilo? That's the question the San Jose Mercury News asked ten years ago. The question wasn't an unreasonable one. Davidi Gilo had seemingly appeared out of nowhere to flutter to the top of the contributors list for the Democratic Party. At 1.2 million dollars, not only was he the single biggest Silicon Valley donor, but he was also the third largest donor to the Democratic Party in the country.
There was no reason for Gilo to be throwing that much money around. That same year Forbes had placed him at the very bottom of its list of tech industry high rollers. But though Gilo was 99th on the Forbes list, he managed to be at the top of the liberal donors list, tossing something like 1 percent of his net worth to the party.
Davidi Gilo was a member of Soros' Democracy Alliance, which was set up to direct large amounts of money into the causes of the Left. A number of other board members of the Democracy Alliance also ended up closely involved in J Street, including Patricia Bauman, Gail Furman, Deborah Sagner, as well as Herb and Marion Sandler.
Glance today at the J Street bio page and you’ll see that Gilo's name is one of the rare few that doesn't come with any supplementary information. No titles or background. No "Former President of X" or "Board Member of Y" or anything at all despite the fact that Davidi Gilo is not just another name at J Street. He’s the chairman of the board of J Street.
Besides being the chairman of the board of J Street; he's also a major donor. And before J Street, he was on the executive committee of the Israel Policy Forum. The IPF was a J Street predecessor with enough overlap that J Street could be considered a rebranding of it.
J Street is the front group for the agenda of powerful liberal billionaires, one of many groups that serve this purpose. Like the old Communist Party front groups, different groups are targeted at different demographics. J Street was created to provide a left-wing Jewish lobby that would demand concessions from Israel on behalf of the terrorists.
But the Gilo story goes back long before all that. The son of an Israeli government bureaucrat at a time when the bureaucracy was a network of left-wing associates, Gilo cut his teeth on left-wing activism in student union leadership and then in protests against the Lebanon War.
For Israeli leftists, the Lebanon War was the equivalent of the Vietnam War, allowing them to build a strong anti-national movement. As a Peace Now member, Gilo participated in an organization whose co-founders had a vision of bringing down Israel and gunning down those who didn't comply. Or as Peace Now co-founder Yigal Tumarkin put it: "My true contribution would be if I grabbed a sub-machine-gun, instead of a pen and pencil and killed them."
Still Peace Now wasn't radical enough for Gilo. One of his comrades said that they viewed the organization as too anemic and together tried to see how they could become even more militant.
Moving through the United States and Europe, Gilo made his fortune selling tech companies to multinationals with deep pockets. But when the multinationals didn't show up to make an offer, then problems arose.
Take the Cycle Group, which tried to combine environmentalism and pet waste, by selling environmentally friendly kitty litter made from recycled wood waste. But saving the earth through kitty litter wasn't for everyone, and the company couldn't repay its loan, resulting in legal difficulties.
Over in California, however, Gilo was using his portfolio to fund the Gilo Family Foundation, which donates to the Gilo Center for Citizenship, Democracy and Civic Education at Hebrew University. Hebrew U is notoriously left-wing and the Gilo Center made no bones about being a vehicle for the promotion of the ethnic cleansing of Jews in Judea and Samaria as part of the Left's agenda of territorial concessions to terrorists.
As Davidi Gilo said in his remarks:
The future plans - to disentangle from the West Bank will I'm sure test the same issues, and focusing on them, bringing them into students' awareness and teaching them is essential... One of our primary objectives at the Center is to give the teachers tools to confront those issues.
In 2005, the Gilo Center held an international conference in honor of the retirement of Professor Ze'ev Sternhell. Sternhell lived up to the last half of his last name by repeatedly calling for the murder of his political opponents.
Sternhell had called for attacking Israeli towns and cities in areas that the Left wished to concede to terrorists. He had suggested that the terrorists should concentrate their attacks on those cities and towns and called for a civil war within Israel.
Whether through the Democracy Alliance, J Street or the Gilo Center, Davidi Gilo was funding an ugly brand of left-wing radicalism without calling too much attention to himself or to his motives. And the money kept moving through networks of foundations and organizations.
The executive director of the Gilo Family Foundation, Avinoam Armoni, was the former executive director of the New Israel Fund-- which is partly Soros funded. On its website the Gilo Center also thanks the NIF for its support.
Gilo's childhood friend and chairman of Gilo Ventures, Avi Fischer, is on the board of directors of the Israel Democracy Institute. The IDI is Israel's leading left-wing think tank and the Gilo Center writ large with an even broader range of influence.
Davidi Gilo's wife, Shamaya Gilo, is also a left-wing radical, a donor to J Street, the Democratic Party and left-wing causes in her own right. And she also has her own foundation, Wings of Change. Together with Jane Fonda and Eve Ensler, she visited Israel on a mission for Ensler's V-Day organization. Ensler and Fonda have both joined boycotts of Israel.
In April, Shamaya Gilo announced that she was fasting against deficit reduction. "While the minor rumblings of hunger nag at my attention — it strengthens my sense of solidarity," she wrote.
But the terrorist attacks which kill Israelis and Americans month after month through policies funded and promoted by the Gilo family never quite seem to nag at their attention. Instead, like S. Daniel Abraham and other former Israeli leftists turned American liberal donors, they are doing everything they can to destroy the Jewish state.