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April 19, 2015 / 30 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘NIF’

The Celebrate Parade and the ‘Boycott Israel Fund’

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

On June 1, the 50th annual Zionist parade, the “Celebrate Israel Parade” will take place in Manhattan. It is one of the most important, visible and widely attended  pro-Israel events for the American Jewish community, a community which impacts Israel’s future almost as much as the people in Israel.

The hallmark of the parade has always been an unabashed pride and love of Israel, both from its  hundreds  of participating organizations and its hundreds of thousands of viewers.

Strange then that this year, there will also be a participating organization which is perceived by millions of Jews around the world as not only a complete stranger to the essence of Zionism, but also as one of its most significant opponents – the New Israel Fund (NIF).

In truth the NIF is like the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing.  Despite exhausting public relations contortions to convince Jews that they are Zionistic supporters of Israel, their actions consistently demonstrate the exact opposite posture.

Whether it has been their past relationship with the notoriously anti-Semitic Ford Foundation, or their close involvement of the organizations which filled the infamous Goldstone Report with accusations of IDF war crimes, or the statement by their former Vice-CEO, Hedva Radovanitz, that “If Israel were to disappear, it wouldn’t be a tragedy” it is inescapable that the NIF is out to undermine Israel as a strong Jewish State.

Of course, this is not how they present themselves in their frequent well-funded marketing campaigns.

In the toxic arena of Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), the New Israel Fund is particularly disingenuous. It declares on the one hand that it will not support organizations calling for a boycott of Israel, or activities encouraging a boycott. However, as recently as April 11 the Fund’s spokesperson, Naomi Paiss, told the Ma’ariv newspaper that “since it [the NIF] objects to the occupation and the settlement project… it will not avoid supporting organizations that encourage not consuming or buying products manufactured in the settlements…”

Huh?

The difference between organizations encouraging a “boycott” against Israel and organizations encouraging “not consuming” Israeli products, is similar to the distinction made between a terror organization and an organization that kills innocent people for political gains.

It is a distinction without a difference.

And so, the NIF openly supports organizations such as the “Social Television”, which promotes the use of the “Buycott” [a combination of the words “buy” and “boycott”] app to identify and boycott Israeli products, and Adalah, whose Negev branch head, Dr. Thabet Abu Rass, admitted following an assignment to Brussels that he wanted “To encourage policy designers to increase diplomatic pressure on Israel.” And there are more of the same

Increasingly, people in Israel are waking up to the insidious nature of the New Israel Fund. They are not fooled by semantics where not consuming products made in Israel is somehow not a boycott. It is time for American Jews to see the NIF clearly for what it is, and to shun it.

Having the NIF march in the Israel Day Parade is to turn support for Israel on its head. Having a big tent of various organizations is one thing; willingly welcoming those who seek your destruction is another thing.

The NIF is way too smart to forthrightly express their true destructive anti-Zionist beliefs and intentions. But the consequences of their many activities would lead to the same disastrous results.

The sooner American Jews reject the New Israel Fund, the better. The Celebrate Israel Parade is a great place to start.

This article was reprinted with permission of the author.

Mass Shofar Blast Against Anti-Israel Enabling on April 29

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

If a small group of grass-roots Jewish organizations have their way, more than one hundred protestors will assemble in New York City on April 29, 2014, each carrying a shofar. On cue, at 5:30 in the afternoon, rain or shine, all will raise their curved rams’ horns, long and short, and wail to the heavens in visceral unison producing a piercing spectacle of protest. The cacophonous alarums will continue their outcry until the shofar blowers feel they have made their point.

What are they protesting? It is their communal leadership.

The dissident shofar blowers will assemble in front of the 59th Street headquarters of the UJA-Federation of New York. The Federation’s beneficiary, the Jewish Community Relations Council, is the chief organizer of the Celebrate Israel Parade scheduled for June 1. The upbeat procession of floats, runners, and marchers is normally a public show of Jewish unity in support of Israel. But this year, the parade has become a maelstrom of disunity over the participation of the controversial New Israel Fund and other groups which recent revelations now link to the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment (BDS) movement and the campaign to delegitimize Israel internationally.

The outrage in some American, Jewish, and Israeli circles over the NIF’s inclusion in the highly visible parade, formerly known as the Israel Day Parade, may be more than just a passing horn blast. The discontent may be energizing a historic decision among American Jews. Just what constitutes the Jewish mainstream? Is American Jewry about to set limits on its open tent of inclusion, a precept the community wears as a badge of honor?

More than a few American Jews feel their community has been hijacked from within by such groups as the J Street lobby, the New Israel Fund, and other organizations that constitute a powerful, well-funded minority able to wage war against Israel seemingly in the name of the Jewish people. “These groups are anti-Jewish,” says Judith Freedman Kadish, special project director of Americans for a Safe Israel, “and they are funding groups that are anti-Semitic. They just veil their actions by saying they are trying to influence public policy and an occupation.” The accused organizations and their defenders in the Jewish media and within the Jewish activist community vigorously insist their activities are simply democratic dissent aimed at solving Israel’s problems.

The New Israel Fund, enabled by taxpayer subsidies of its 501(c)(3) status, has been a pivotal funder of the BDS movement that wages economic war against Israel. Until 2011, the NIF was a lead supporter of the Coalition of Women for Peace, which established a global BDS infrastructure. According to NIF financial records, in 2008 alone, the NIF bestowed $93,457 upon the Coalition of Women for Peace. Over a period of years, NIF financing of this organization reached a strong six-figure sum, which included both direct grants and those where the NIF acted as a go-between for other donors–a technique they called “donor advised funding.”

The NIF no longer provides money to the Coalition of Women for Peace. Now, the CWP is strong enough to gather its monies from other sources. But detractors say — the irreparable damage was done. Moreover, the BDS movement today is fortified by a conveyor belt of brutality and oppression accounts–some legitimate, some exaggerated, some invented — force fed to the world by agitation NGOs, including many financed by the New Israel Fund.

NIF’s financial records for 2012 indicate that it granted $109,615 to Breaking the Silence, $255,477 to B’Tselem, and $209,161 to Adalah. These three groups are among dozens of NIF grantees that critics accuse as operating on the front lines of anti-Israel information and distorting the facts about international law as it affects Israel. Numerous Knesset members and Israeli military men have gone on record to decry the NIF as a well-financed, foreign, multinational NGO, hell-bent on “destabilizing the Israel Defense Forces” and erasing the Jewish identity from the State of Israel.

Arab Rapist and Pedophile Accused Israel of Sex Crimes

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

Nawaf Athamneh, the 52 year old resident of Kafr Qara, NIF-funded public relations hack, and editor of the far left anti-Israel former Machsom (Checkpoint) website and other outlets was recently convicted of raping a 15 year old Israeli girl.

There are so many bad guys in this story you have to keep score; all deserve your ire.

THE CRIMES

Before Athamneh committed the actual crimes, he stalked his young victim through the personals section of a newspaper. He called himself “Amir,” pretending to be an Israeli, gained her confidence, claimed to obtain an incriminating photograph of her. With that, he had virtually complete control over the terrified girl as he threatened to show her family and community the photos.  He then hounded her, blackmailing her into meeting him and then forcing her to commit various sexual acts. Then he claimed he videotaped those humiliations and promised her still more sexual and other degradations.

The girl finally confided in her sister, the sister told her mother, the mother went to the police, a trap was set and Athamneh was apprehended, tried and convicted.

But there’s more to the story.

Athamneh’s past has not yet been connected to his current crime.  Yes, it is known he was an anti-Israel Arab Israeli, but the particular hypocrisy which has heretofore escaped the media’s notice is that Athamneh himself self-righteously charged others with violent sexual offenses:  Israelis.

Athamneh was the media coordinator of an event entitled, “My Land, Space, Body and Sexuality: Palestinians in the Shadow of the Wall.”

In the language describing the event, Athamneh and his colleagues discuss the brutal sexual control and violence of Israelis towards Arab Palestinians.

In a particularly chilling foreshadowing of the Athamneh’s own deviant behavior, he and his colleagues describe their event as one addressing how “sexuality and bodily rights are an integral part of human rights.”

An example Athamneh and his like-minded “gender studies” activists cited as undermining reproductive and sexual rights, “is the ‘nationality’ law in Israel, affecting people’s right to choose their partners.”

They describe Israel itself, as a whole, as causing “young girls and women” to suffer “serious violations of their bodily, sexuality and reproductive rights.”

2009 NIF SPONSORED CONFERENCE ACCUSING ISRAEL OF SEXUAL CRIMES AGAINST ARABS

The conference itself raised hackles at the time, in particular because of the provocative posters. There were a series of them, one which revealed the body and arm of a male Israeli soldier reaching towards the chest area of an Arab women, the other revealed the body and arm of a female Israeli soldier reaching towards the area of the sensitive body part of a male Arab.

The headline of the poster read: “Her husband needs a permit to touch her.  The occupation penetrates her life everyday.”

The irony continues.  Athmaneh and colleagues completed the description of their conference’s campaign by claiming it “highlights the need to intensify efforts aiming at protecting Palestinian men and women and to struggle against all forms of physical, sexual, psychological, political and social prejudice, oppression, discrimination and violence.”

So when they write they want to struggle against “all forms of physical, sexual, psychological, political and social prejudice, discrimination and violence,” did they also mean against Israeli Jewish girls?

The Jewish Press attempted to speak with Nawaf Athamneh before this story went to print, but his number has been disconnected.

The Jewish Press also attempted to speak with leadership at the New Israel Fund, which funded Athmaneh’s 2009 “My Land, Space, Body and Sexuality” conference as well as his organization, and which defended the organizations’ posters for the conference. There was no immediate response.

HAIFA DISTRICT CT JUDGE RON SHAPIRA SENTENCES ARAB RAPIST PEDOPHILE TO PERFORM MITZVOT

But there is a further ugly piece of this puzzle.

The 15 year old victim who finally was induced to overcome her mortification, who participated in the pursuit, trial and conviction of her torturer, and who implored, in a letter to sentencing judge Ron Shapira that a harsh sentence be imposed so as to deter others from engaging in similar brutalizing behavior.

But instead Haifa District Court Judge Ron Shapira decided to insult the young victim again.

Although Shapira said he agreed with the prosecution that the normal three to six year sentence for such crimes was appropriate, in this case he decided to depart from the appropriate sentence, in favor of attempting to rehabilitate the criminal.

The New Israel Fund, Jewish Values And Atonement

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

In its September newsletter, the New Israel Fund (NIF) urged Israelis to examine their behavior (“cheshbon nefesh”), declaring “We have been telling you for some time about the upsurge in hatred and incitement in Israel…”

But in Jewish tradition, the processes of introspection and atonement for sins of commission and omission begin at home, including for the NIF.

As the most powerful political and social framework in Israel outside of the government, NIF exerts major influence through its funding, providing millions of dollars every year to dozens of organizations.

The founding donors and officials sought to promote important social objectives in a Zionist framework. But over the years, the Zionist commitment became blurred, and money from pro-Israel donors was channeled to extreme anti-Israel organizations, including key supporters of the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) campaigns.

NIF’s network also played a central role in the discredited Goldstone report, which falsely accused the Israeli military of systematic war crimes. In addition, while claiming to promote liberal, progressive Jewish values, a number of NIF-funded groups push highly intolerant and polarizing agendas, amplifying the impact of radical fringes in Israeli society, at the expense of the democratic consensus.

As a result, NIF is viewed with increasing suspicion by many Israelis and in a number of diaspora communities. In response, in September 2010, the NIF leadership belatedly adopted guidelines to prevent funding for groups that work “to deny the right of the Jewish people to sovereign self-determination within Israel.”

In some important cases, these guidelines have been implemented, and in 2011 the NIF ended funding for three NGOs – Mada al-Carmel, Al-Qaws, and Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP) – that promote demonization of Israel.

Unfortunately, NIF failed to publicly acknowledge the reasons for ending support, or to explain how these extreme groups were funded in the first place. Indeed, NIF remains a highly non-transparent organization, without the checks and balances or democratic processes that are necessary to prevent abuses and highly damaging mistakes in judgment.

While belatedly cutting off those three grantees, NIF continued to fund groups involved in global demonization campaigns such as Adalah, Breaking the Silence, Machsom Watch and Yesh Din.

In 2011, NIF also began funding for three additional divisive NGOs, including +972 Magazine, a blog pushing a radical fringe agenda. A number of +972’s bloggers have invoked the immoral and false “apartheid” analogy, and in a February 2012 interview in The Nation, Noam Sheizaf, +972’s editor-in-chief, referred to Jerusalem as an “apartheid city.”

In May of this year, +972 published a cartoon depicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu raping President Barack Obama and eating his limbs. And in September, Sheizaf used his twitter account to refer to critics as “the Jewish KKK” and “fascist” – reinforcing the image of the NIF network as exploiting a “progressive” and “liberal” façade for extreme polarization and hate speech.

In contrast to the actual behavior of the grantees, NIF has justified its funding for +972 as support for a “progressive view of domestic issues and Israel’s foreign relations” and of “broad public discussion and constituencies.” However, this English-only site is unknown to the “broad” Hebrew-speaking Israeli public. Rather, its targeting of an international audience with a message that demonizes Israel and attacks opponents (real and imagined) is entirely inconsistent with NIF’s stated aims and principles.

Another new grantee, Human Rights Defenders Fund (HRDF), also raises many concerns regarding NIF’s decision making. HRDF is administered by Lizi Sagie, who was forced to resign from B’Tselem in April 2010 after she referred to Israel’s Memorial Day as “a pornographic circus” on her personal blog. She then had a short stint as a co-director of ICAHD, a fringe Israeli NGO that supports a “one state” political formula – meaning the end of Jewish national sovereignty.

Michael Sfard is a key part of the HRDF operation, advising the board on “application of Aid Criteria when reviewing aid requests” and monitoring the “performance of attorneys receiving aid.” According to reports, Sfard is the lawyer for a group of defendants involved in a private libel suit and receiving funds through HRDF. These activities appear to contradict the NGO’s mandate, and create at least the appearance of a conflict of interest.

In addition, NIF authorized $162,430 for Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement (SJSM) in 2011. This organization’s main activities revolve around confrontational protests in the Negev, East Jerusalem, and the West Bank. In March 2012, a very crude and offensive poster was posted on the official Facebook page of SJSM, and then removed after harsh criticism from some of its members and women’s rights activists.

Alternative Reality – Destabilizing Morality on Memorial Day

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

This Wednesday marks Israel’s Memorial day for those who fell founding and defending the State of Israel, as well as civilians murdered by Arab terrorism. It is one of the most solemn days in Israel, even known as the “secular Yom Kippur” — and most of Israel’s population observes the day and respects it. Israel collectively embraces the families of the fallen, and air raid sirens commemorate the day with a gut piercing sound as Israel grinds to a halt and we recall those who gave their lives fighting against the Arab enemies of Israel.

And yet, there exists a new type of Israeli, who sees a moral equivalence between Israel’s fallen, and those of the enemy. The IDF soldiers who died defending Israel and Israel’s civilians who were brutally slaughtered by Arab terrorists are now commemorated in a morally-agnostic “Memorial Day Alternative Ceremony” — sponsored by “Combatants for Peace”

“For the last 6 years “Combatants for Peace” has been holding a joint memorial event, to commemorate the Israeli and Palestinians victims of the conflict. This memorial service is attended by bereaved Israeli and Palestinian families and accompanied by artists.” (CFPeace)

This “alternative ceremony” intertwines the truth with lies, fact with fiction, and morality with evil, by jointly memorializing the “Israeli and Palestinians victims of the conflict,” and disgraces the memory of those who fought for the Jewish State.

Contorting history to “morally understand” the “Palestinian Narrative” for the sake of a possible peaceful dialogue is bad enough. Jointly memorializing IDF soldiers and victims of Arab terror, with “Palestinian victims of the conflict” is simply too offensive to comprehend.

Those who wish to create such an alternative reality have no moral compass whatsoever.

Letter to New Israel Fund Board on Adalah participation in Apartheid Week

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Letter to Daniel Sokatch, Rachel Liel, and board members New Israel Fund

February 8, 2012

Dear Daniel, Rachel and other members of the NIF Board,

As the NIF board meets in Israel, I am writing to you regarding NIF grantee Adalah’s participation in an Israeli Apartheid Week event next Tuesday, February 14, in Switzerland (http://www.urgencepalestine.ch/doc/BDS_conference_14fevrier2012.pdf ).

Suhad Bishara, Director of Adalah’s Land and Planning Rights Unit, is scheduled to speak on “The policy of Apartheid in Israel: The new racist laws.” The event is being hosted by a Swiss group named “BDS Geneva.”

Simultaneously, Adalah’s submission to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), which is meeting in Geneva next week to discuss Israel, demonizes Israel for laws and policies that allegedly “permit and even actively promote racial discrimination.”

I bring the event and submission to your attention because they constitute a direct violation of NIF funding guidelines and other principles. They are also central components of Adalah’s ongoing campaign, rooted in its 2007 “Democratic Constitution,” to eliminate the Jewish character of Israel and undermine Jewish sovereignty.

I call upon you and the board to immediately and publicly condemn and disassociate NIF from Adalah’s campaign. I reiterate the longstanding call that the NIF act responsibly and end all support for anti-Israel and anti-Zionist projects and organizations.

I look forward to your response and to discussing these issues with you in a constructive, in-depth manner.

Sincerely,

Gerald Steinberg

President

NGO Monitor

‘We Need To Have New Ideological Blood In The System': An Interview with Im Tirtzu Founder Ronen Shoval

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Im Tirtzu, an Israeli student organization, recently made waves when it accused the New Israel Fund (NIF) of granting millions of dollars to 16 NGOs, whose condemnations of the IDF helped build the case against Israel in the UN’s Goldstone Report. According to a controversial Im Tirtzu ad in Israeli newspapers, “Without the New Israel Fund, there could be no Goldstone Report, and Israel would not be facing international accusations of war crimes.”

In response to Im Tirtzu’s campaign, the Knesset promised to investigate the matter and the Jerusalem Post fired NIF president Naomi Chazan as a columnist for the paper. Meanwhile, prominent left-wing personalities slammed Im Tirtzu for McCarthyism and right-wing extremism.

Last week, The Jewish Press spoke with Ronen Shoval, the 29-year-old chairman and co-founder of Im Tirtzu.

The Jewish Press: Are there any new developments in your organization’s campaign against the NIF?

Shoval: We’re learning that the connection between the NIF and the Goldstone Report was only the tip of the iceberg. A lot of information is coming to us showing that the NIF is working so that Israel ultimately won’t be a Jewish state.

What do you mean by that?

For example, the words of Hatikvah speak of the “soul of a Jew yearning.” In the flag we have the Star of David. In 1947 the UN called for the establishment of a Jewish state. The NIF is trying to flip it over. They want Israel to be a country for all its residents. And that’s a big difference.

Your critics argue that Im Tirtzu’s claims regarding the NIF’s connection to the Goldstone Report are exaggerated. What is your response?

Well, it’s really hard to argue with footnotes. There are more than 199 footnotes [in our 120-page report] related to NIF organizations. The power of the Goldstone Report comes from the fact that Israeli organizations are blaming Israel of committing war crimes. It’s not interesting if Hamas says it. It’s interesting when Israelis say it. So I was looking: Who are the Israeli organizations blaming me and my friends of committing war crimes? And I found 16 organizations – all of them getting money from the NIF.

You know, just yesterday I went to the Friends of the IDF dinner and in front of the building there was a demonstration of several organizations calling to put [IDF Chief of Staff] Gabi Ashkenazi in jail. A couple of them were organizations sponsored by the NIF. If the NIF doesn’t think they are right, I will be more than happy if they stop sponsoring them.

What is Im Tirtzu’s goal? Why did you found it in 2006?

People in my generation try to kill sacred cows. We are trying to protect them. That’s our mission. So if some people don’t see the IDF as a sacred cow anymore, we are trying to protect it. If some people don’t see Jerusalem as a sacred cow anymore, we are trying to protect it. If people think the Holocaust can be denied, we are trying to protect it.

You bill your organization as “the second Zionist revolution.” What does that mean?

Every big revolution in the last century – socialism, communism, fascism, etc. – had energy for the first generation and then started going down. So we are trying to give spirit to the Zionist revolution and make a second one. Let’s give hope again to the people, to let them feel that they’re part of a great idea and can make a change.

Look at Israeli society today. It’s just inertia. My generation doesn’t have any clear answer for why they should risk their lives in order to ensure the existence of the Jewish state. We are trying to give answers.

How do you do that?

We are working inside campuses, advocating for Israel and Zionism on three levels: Zionism through the legs – tour the land; through the heart – celebrate Independence Day, Chanukah, etc.; and through the mind – explaining, lecturing, showing movies, etc.

We have branches right now in ten different universities with more than 25,000 members in the movement.

What do you tell Israelis who ask: Why should I live a precarious life in Israel when I can move to America and enjoy a comfortable existence?

Well, it depends on who’s asking. But generally I would say that we have the ability to be connected to a story of 3,500 years. We’re part of a nation living in a land where, every place you touch, you feel that you are part of a big, big chain. We have the opportunity to be part of a nation, and to see the chain all the way back and all the way to the future.

[Most] people in this world don’t have an opportunity of meaning. Lots of people don’t have meaning in life because they are not part of a community. This is what’s happening here in Western civilization; we are losing the inspiration of life. So when you’re part of a nation with such a beautiful history and such a beautiful future, this is an opportunity that we should [grasp].

We have the responsibility to make Israel and the world a better place. This is what our goal is, to be an ohr lagoyim. We’re lucky that we were born to a people with a great heritage and, potentially, a great future. But it’s all in our hands. This is the reason why Im Tirtzu is called Im Tirtzu [which means “If you will it”]. If we want, we can have it all, but if we don’t want

Some people argue that Zionism cannot exist without Judaism and to the extent that Judaism’s hold on the Jewish masses is weak, Zionism’s hold will also be weak. What’s your opinion?

I agree 100 percent. And I think one of the issues that we are dealing with in Israel is how to bring young secular kids closer to their heritage.

But you yourself are not ritually observant.

No, I grew up in Ramat HaSharon, which is a suburb of Tel Aviv, in a secular family.

But the Torah sees Judaism as the nation first, and then religion. How do we know? We are called the Jewish people before we got the Torah. Pharaoh called us a nation – “hinei am ratzu mi’menu.” When God asked the different nations to accept the Torah, we were one of them. In the book of Shoftim the people were not keeping the law, but they didn’t stop being a people.

This is how the Torah, God – not me – defines Judaism: first national, then religion. I have very strong feelings about, and an understanding of, the religion, but the question about what I do when I wake up in the morning is a whole different aspect.

Im Tirtzu claims to be neither left wing nor right wing. Which Zionist personalities, then, inspire Im Tirtzu’s ideology?

We have a couple of them. I would say Moshe Rabbeinu, Herzl, Jabotinsky, Berl Katznelson .

Don’t the writings of these leaders contradict one another?

No. They may have had their differences, but they were all committed Zionists.

You also have to understand that we’re not copying. We’re creating something new. I’m coming out soon with a book called Herzl’s Vision 2.0. I think it’s unique because most books about Zionism are not about Zionism; they’re about the archeology of Zionism – what Berl Katznelson or Jabotinsky thought 100 years ago. It’s too old; we need to have new ideological blood in the system.

My book tries to answer all the hard questions – Why stay in Israel? What does it mean to be a Zionist? etc. – for our generation.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/interviews-and-profiles/we-need-to-have-new-ideological-blood-in-the-system-an-interview-with-im-tirtzu-founder-ronen-shoval/2010/03/17/

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