Recently, numerous posts published on the Internet including an online media of Bangladesh, have claimed that the Nobel laureate Bangladeshi economist Dr. Muhammad Yunus has given 100 crores of Tk to Israel through his own organization ‘Grameen America’ for the ongoing conflict between Hamas and Israel.
On the claim, see the media report of Bangla Insider.
The Rumor Scanner team’s investigation reveals that Dr. Muhammad Yunus did not give any aid of 100 crore taka to Israel in the ongoing conflict between Hamas and Israel, but the whole issue is being spread on the Internet using fabricated sources. Moreover, Israel’s Foreign Ministry also denied the matter.
Our team thoroughly reviewed the report on Bangla Insider. The article, dated October 13, claimed that Dr. Muhammad Yunus offered humanitarian aid of 100 crore Bangladeshi Taka to Israel through Grameen America, where he serves as Co-Chair.
Bangla Insider cites a recent acknowledgment from Israel’s Foreign Office, thanking all benefactors post the Hamas assaults on Israel, listing Grameen America among them.
The Rumor Scanner team has also seen a news clipping from a newspaper published on the claim going viral in multiple posts on Facebook.
By observing the said picture, it is seen that a name titled ‘Manch Desk’ (Stage Desk) is seen as the reporter of the report. After reading the report, it was noticed that it is completely similar to the report of Bangla Insider.
As the name of the newspaper is not mentioned in the report, we found a newspaper published from Chattogram, Bangladesh called ‘Dainik Bir Chattogram Manch’ in the list of newspapers of the country published on May 14 by the Directorate of Films and Publications of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
Based on this name, no website or Facebook page of the newspaper can be found, but from some Facebook posts (1, 2), it is known that the paper cutting belongs to this newspaper and this news was published on the front page of the newspaper on October 14.
The editor of the newspaper is a man named Syed Omar Farook. A picture of the newspaper’s front page graces the cover photo (archive) on his Facebook profile (archive). It is also seen that the name of the report writers is replaced by ‘Manch Desk’.
Consequently, it’s evident that the discussed article was indeed published in the ‘Dainik Bir Chattogram Manch’ newspaper in Chattogram and aligns with Bangla Insider’s narrative.
While Bangla Insider didn’t specify their sources, they claimed that The Israeli Foreign Ministry recently issued a statement in which the Israeli government expressed its gratitude to all individuals and institutions that have provided assistance to Israel following Hamas’s attacks on Israel. These aid donors include Grameen America. Also said, the co-chair of Grameen America is Dr. Muhammad Yunus.
We initially checked the website of Grameen America and found Yunus’ name as Co-Chair in the list of the Board of Directors of the organization.
This New York-based non-profit microfinance institution started its journey in 2008 with the hands of Dr. Yunus. American singer Jennifer Lopez is the national ambassador of the organization.
According to the Grameen America’s website, they mainly work with women. The organization provides various services including microcredit to make self-reliant women living below the poverty line. Residents can access this service at 22 Grameen America’s branches across the United States. However, information on the organization’s recent aid to Israel or previously to any organization or country was not found on the website..
Subsequently, we decided to verify the sources from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The ongoing conflict began on October 7, and the discussed claim emerged in public on October 13. Therefore, we have reviewed the statements from the Ministry related to the aforementioned seven days. During these days, 30 news articles on various topics were published on their website.
From a press release published on October 7, it’s revealed that various world leaders and heads of state called Israeli President Isaac Herzog to express their support for Israel after the outbreak of the conflict. The list of individuals who expressed support in the press release does not include Dr. Yunus or anyone from Bangladesh.
Although no specific information was found upon monitoring the Ministry’s X (formerly Twitter) account, there were tweets and retweets (1, 2, 3) thanking various countries for their support during that period.
But an X account of the State of Israel, run by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, tweeted on October 10 that it thanked Israeli companies, volunteers and individuals who had come forward to help.
The Rumor Scanner team contacted Uria Ber-Meir, an Israeli fact-checker associated with fact-checking organization The Whistle, regarding this matter. He confirmed that he wasn’t aware of any recent statement from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs mentioning Grameen America. Upon the Rumor Scanner team’s request, he personally investigated the matter and found no evidence that such information had been released. He later informed us that the previously mentioned tweet was the most relevant statement.
The Rumor Scanner team also spoke with Tal Schneider, a journalist from Times of Israel. She also said that she never heard anything from the Israel ministry of foreign affairs on that issue.
Before contacting Schneider, we examined several Israeli news outlets’ recent news and found no information supporting the claim. If Dr. Yunus or Grameen America was mentioned in any statement, it would likely have been covered in Bangladeshi media as well. However, no such news was published there. We discussed this with several mainstream media journalists in Bangladesh, all of whom were unaware of such information.
Later, the Rumor Scanner team directly communicated with the spokesperson of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lior Haiat. Lior had a detailed discussion with the Rumor Scanner team and Said, “The first time I see that (about Yunus’s aid to Israel). We never published anything regarding contributors.”
The Rumor Scanner team also spoke with the Yunus Center. The institution, which represents Dr. Yunus, confirmed that the discussed news was false. They said to the RS team, “This article (Bangla Insider’s) is deeply troubling as it appears to deliberately tarnish Professor Muhammad Yunus’s reputation regarding the Palestine-Israel issue. We want to stress that this article is entirely false.”
Meanwhile, the Rumor Scanner team found proof that the screenshot of the news published in The New York Times about Dr. Yunus’s support to Israel is a different news that has been distorted with the help of digital technology.
A report titled On the Front Lines, an Israeli University Grieves and Readies for War was published in the New York Times on October 14. By changing the feature and headline of the news, Yunus’ picture in the feature and the words ‘Nobel laureate Yunus stands by the affected Israelis‘ in the headline promoted the claim in question. But the sentence “At Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, dorms turned into barracks and medical students manned emergency rooms. Dozens from the university community were killed in the Hamas attacks” in the sub-headline of the original news also appears in the vaguely edited screenshot.
Furthermore, no relevant news was found when the Rumor Scanner team searched for related keywords in The New York Times.
Claims have circulated online suggesting that Dr. Muhammad Yunus donated 100 crore Bangladeshi Taka to Israel via Grameen America amidst the Hamas-Israel conflict. However, an investigation by Rumor Scanner reveals that the claim is not true. The claim in question was spread from a report of the online media Bangla Insider on October 13. The report cited a statement from Israel’s Foreign Ministry in support of the claim, but no such information was found in any recent statement released by the ministry. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the country has also confirmed to Rumor Scanner that no statement containing the said claim has been published. Moreover, Israeli media and fact-checkers also said they were not aware of any such assistance. At the same time, Yunus Center also confirmed the matter as false.
Incidentally, recently in the wake of several misinformation being circulated on the Internet about Dr. Muhammad Yunus, Rumor Scanner has published several fact checks on those matters. See here.
In conclusion, a claim has been circulating online that Nobel laureate and Bangladeshi economist Dr. Muhammad Yunus donated 100 crore takas to Israel amidst the recent conflict between Palestine’s Hamas and Israel. However, after extensive research, the Rumor Scanner team found the claim to be entirely false.
- Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs: X Tweet
- Statement from Lior Haiat, Spokesperson of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Statement from Tal Schneider, TOI
- Statement from Yunus Centre
- Statement from Uria Ber-Meir, Fact Checker, Israel
- Rumor Scanner’s own investigation