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April 16, 2014 / 16 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘NIF’

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.

Why The Left Hates Im Tirtzu

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

           Israel’s Im Tirtzu student organization bills itself as the “Second Zionist Revolution.” Until a few weeks ago, that sounded like youthful bravado. But the group has raised eyebrows – and hackles – with its unprecedented grand slam in the Israeli media against the New Israel Fund.
 
           Led by Hebrew University graduate student Ronen Shoval, Im Tirtzu has emerged as the leading campus organization among Israeli students. It is solidly Zionist and nationalist, and has both secular and religious members.
 
Im Tirtzu had been making headlines even before the controversy surrounding NIF. It earlier collected complaints from students at several schools, especially Tel Aviv University, concerning harassments of Zionist students by anti-Israel faculty radicals. Many students claim they are penalized by leftist faculty members if they dare challenge the classroom biases imposed on them.
 
In response to Im Tirtzu’s complaints, the administration of Tel Aviv University launched an investigation into those abuses and the matter was also raised for debate in the Knesset.
 
The New Israel Fund is a left-of-center outfit funded in part by American Jews but mainly by the Ford Foundation and some groups in the EU. Critics of NIF sometimes claim the “New Israel” it seeks to fund is really Palestine.
 
Some of what NIF funds is harmless, or even beneficial, like shelters for battered women. But the bulk of its funding goes to leftist political activism inside Israel.
 
The current media frenzy began when Im Tirtzu released a 120-page report on the activities supported by the New Israel Fund. As Im Tirtzu’s Shoval told me: “Supposedly in the name of freedom of speech, the New Israel Fund has financed a massive campaign of defamation against Israel and its soldiers, but then has demanded that Im Tirtzu be silenced. Inventing imaginary war crimes by Israel is NIF’s idea of progressive democracy, but criticism of NIF by students is incitement and must be suppressed.”
 
The new controversy was triggered by the UN’s Goldstone report, which denounced Israel for war crimes and human rights abuses supposedly committed by Israeli soldiers during Operation Cast Lead while glossing over the thousands of rocket attacks that had made military action necessary in the first place.
 
The fairy tales of Israeli “human rights abuses” and “war crimes” by Goldstone were taken not from the usual anti-Israel propaganda websites and media outlets but were provided to the Goldstone “investigators” by numerous radical Israeli propaganda groups.
 
The funding of these extremist groups has long been the focus of the NGO-Monitor watchdog group, headed by Bar-Ilan University professor Gerald Steinberg. His website exposes non-governmental organizations that pretend to be human-rights or peace organizations but are in fact nothing more than Bash-Israel hate groups. They invariably get the bulk of their funding from outside Israel, often from sources hostile to Israel.
 
            The Im Tirtzu students gathered data from NGO-Monitor and other sources and issued their devastating report (which includes 60 pages of tables). According to it, 92 percent of the anti-Israel smears in the Goldstone report came directly from organizations financed by the New Israel Fund.
 
Within days, the Israeli daily Maariv carried the story of the Im Tirtzu report on its front page, with several news and opinion pieces congratulating the students for their work and denouncing the New Israel Fund.
 
             The Maariv story was followed up by the rest of the Israeli mainstream media. Only Haaretz, the daily described by some wags as the Palestinian newspaper published in Hebrew, denounced the students as “inciters” and “right-wing extremists” and launched a shameless campaign of vilification and defamation against them.
 
The Knesset announced it would hold hearings into Im Tirtzu’s findings. Within days, public statements endorsing the student report and denouncing the New Israel Fund were being published, notably one by a group of Israeli army generals.
 
            Meanwhile, Im Tirtzu students escalated their criticism of the current president of the New Israel Fund, former Meretz MK Naomi Chazan. They mischievously issued a poster/advertisement with a cartoon showing Chazan with a rhino horn coming out of her forehead.
 
            It was all a play on words: “new fund” in Hebrew is exactly the same expression as “new horn.” So the poster shows Chazan wearing her “new fund” as a rhino horn on her forehead. The cartoon also played on the Israeli slang expression l’hitkarnef, literally “to become a rhinoceros,” a popular term referring to “selling out.”
 
          Chazan and her leftist legions were not amused. She and NIF decided to bully the students by threatening to sue. They also instituted a lawsuit against the Jerusalem Post for running the Im Tirtzu ad. The Jerusalem Post responded by sacking Chazan, who had been a Post columnist. A “progressive” group of Jews in Australia, hearing about Chazan’s behavior, decided to withdraw an offer to host her for a speaking tour.
 
           Leftist groups, led by the anti-Israel Human Rights Watch, repeated their familiar take on democracy: Israelis denouncing and demonizing Israel build peace and progress, but people denouncing leftists threaten democracy itself.
 
           A few dozen far-left academics, joined by some others, placed large ads in newspapers denouncing Im Tirtzu and endorsing the agenda of the New Israel Fund. Leftist professors filled the chat lists with messages insisting Im Tirtzu was a clear and present danger to democracy and freedom of speech in Israel.
 
           Several tenured leftists insisted that Im Tirtzu’s exercise of freedom of speech would lead directly to political murder, repeating the old calumny about how right-wingers exercising their freedom of speech caused the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. Others, led by Haaretz writers, argued that the rhino horn in the Chazan cartoon was anti-Semitic.
 

          That so many of Israel’s leftists have stooped to such nonsense shows only one thing: They are in a high state of panic over the appearance of possibly the most important authentically Zionist grassroots movement in Israel in decades.

 

 

Steven Plaut is a professor at Haifa University. His book “The Scout” is available at Amazon.com. He can be contacted at steveneplaut@yahoo.com.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/why-the-left-hates-im-tirtzu/2010/02/17/

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