Tuesday, December 13, 2011

DON'T BE MISLED: The New Israel Fund is anti-Zionist


The fact that NIF purports to be a Zionist organisation is effectively misleading and deceptive, despite the possibility that misinformed and/or misguided proponents of it sincerely believe that they are supporting the NIF’s stated principles.

NIF claims to be 
  • “dedicated to a vision of Israel as … the Jewish homeland…” (We Are NIF)
  •  “dedicated to the vision of the State of Israel as the sovereign expression of the right of self-determination of the Jewish people…” (New Israel Fund Principles)
NIF also claims that organizations that work “…to deny the right of the Jewish people to sovereign self-determination within Israel....” “… will not be eligible for NIF grants or support” (NIF Funding Guidelines).

Each of these principles is being violated as follows. (These are just a few examples.)

The NIF current List of Grantees includes the following organisations:
·         Adalah (see NGO Monitor’s page)

  • Drafted a 2007 “Democratic Constitution,” which calls for replacing the Jewish foundation of the state with a “democratic, bilingual and multicultural” framework. Jewish immigration would be permitted for “humanitarian reasons.”
  • Adalah officials, in conjunction with radical Palestinian NGO Al-Haq, wrote and edited large portions of a May 2009 pseudo-academic study that refers to “a colonial enterprise which implements a system of apartheid.” The report delegitimizes Israeli self-defense measures as “inhumane act[s] of apartheid...perpetrated in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over another.”
  • Participated in a May 2009 NGO “town hall meeting” in Geneva that helped shape the course of the UN’s Goldstone Mission. Adalah was subsequently cited 38 times in the Goldstone report. 
  • In its lobbying in support of the Goldstone report and its recommendations, Adalah issued a press release urging governments to “re-evaluate their relationship with Israel.”
  • Submitted a legal opinion to a Spanish court in support of PCHR’s lawfare case against Israeli officials.

·         Breaking the Silence (BtS) (see NGO Monitor’s page)

  • collects testimonies of soldiers who served in the Occupied Territories during the Second Intifadah,” claiming that the “testimonies portray a…grim picture of questionable orders in many areas regarding Palestinian civilians [which] demonstrate the depth of corruption which is spreading in the Israeli military…Israeli society continues to turn a blind eye, and to deny that which happens in its name.”
  • was active in promoting “war crimes” charges against Israel after the Gaza fighting in January 2009. These charges were based on anonymous and unverifiable hearsay “testimonies.”
  • According to an analysis by Amos Harel in Ha’aretz: “Breaking the Silence...has a clear political agenda, and can no longer be classed as a ‘human rights organization.’ Any organization whose website includes the claim by members to expose the ‘corruption which permeates the military system’ is not a neutral observer. The organization has a clear agenda: to expose the consequences of IDF troops serving in the West Bank and Gaza. This seems more of interest to its members than seeking justice for specific injustices.” (July 17, 2009) 
  • Although claiming to address Israeli society, the NGO’s lobbying and media advocacy focus on international audiences, including presentations in Europe and the United States. Yehuda Shaul, BtS co-founder, defended this practice: “Sometimes, when you want to deliver messages to the inside, you must go outside.”
  • BtS members and anti-Israel activists Yonatan and Itamar Shapira were on the “Jews for Justice for Palestinians” boat “Irene,” which sought to violate Israel’s security-based policies regarding naval traffic into Gaza (September 2010).
  • Conducts tours to Hebron and the South Hebron Hills to “witness first hand the dire situation.” Criticized by Israeli police officials for “antagoniz[ing]...settlers in the hope that the settlers will attack them.”

·         Mossawa (see NGO Monitor’s page)

  • …main focus is political, and aims to delegitimize Israel on the basis of blanket charges of racism and other pejoratives. It often removes or minimizes the context of terrorism to demonize Israeli security measures.
  • Publishes an annual racism report (Hebrew) that alleges “incitement against Arab citizens” and “violat[ions of] the political freedom of Arab public leadership.”  Examples include news articles claiming that “Hezbollah terrorists were supported by Israeli Arabs” (incitement), the indictment again MK Muhammad Barake for assaulting a police officer (violation of political freedom), and activities designed to “strengthen the Jewish character of Nazareth Ilit” (racist events by Jews towards Arab citizens).
  • Joined a coalition of NGOs in a letter to the Norwegian Government Pension Fund, calling “upon the Norwegian people to join us in our efforts and to stop investing in the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory.” The letter accused a number of Israeli and international corporations of “provid[ing] specifically designed equipment for the surveillance and repression of Palestinian population through restrictions of movement and collective punishments.”
  • Mossawa’s proposed constitution is based on the premise that “[t]he State of Israel was established on the ruins of the Palestinian people, for whom the event was a national tragedy – the Nakba.” The paper rejects Israel as a Jewish state and the “state symbols: for Jews only” (the flag and national anthem).
  • Mossawa publicized a protest vigil against “the occupation army which perpetrates cruel ongoing war crimes against the Palestinian people in Gaza.” Mossawa also referred to Israel’s “harsh violations of international humanitarian law,” including “collective punishment,” and “consciously injuring innocent civilians.”

·         Machsom Watch (see NGO Monitor’s page)

  • Founded in January 2001 as “a movement of Israeli women… who oppose the Israeli occupation and the denial of Palestinians’ rights to move freely in their land”; member of the radical Coalition of Women for Peace
  • Conduct[s] daily observations of IDF checkpoints in the West Bank, along the separation fence and in the seamline zone.” Reports, photos, and videos are published in Hebrew and English, employing emotive and politically charged language that contributes to the demonization of Israel. 
  • Frequently interferes with and provokes IDF soldiers. A YouTube video shows activists harassing a soldier at a checkpoint, haranguing him for engaging in “apartheid.”
  • An exhibition of photos taken at Israeli checkpoints refers to the “policy of suppression and dehumanization that pervades the nature of control over another nation,” “collective punishment,” and “apartheid roads.” Machsom Watch also claims that the delay in checking documents at checkpoints is aimed at imposing “an illegal means of ‘educational punishment’.”
  • Together with Coalition of Women for Peace, Mossawa, Israel Social TV, Women Against Violence, Israel Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), Zochrot, and Alternative Information Center (AIC), Machsom Watch wrote to the Norwegian Government Pension Fund, calling “upon the Norwegian people to join us in our efforts and to stop investing in the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory.” The letter accused a number of Israeli and international corporations of “provid[ing] specifically designed equipment for the surveillance and repression of Palestinian population through restrictions of movement and collective punishments.” The campaign resulted in the Pension Fund’s divestment from the Israeli company, Elbit Ltd. Mossawa, Women Against Violence, and Israel Social TV are also NIF grantees.
  • Following the March 2011 Palestinian terror attack in Itamar in which five members of a family were murdered in their sleep, including three small children, Machsom Watch activists, including spokesperson Raya Yaron, visited the Palestinian town of Awarta to comfort the relatives of those who were arrested for the murders. Yaron was photographed hugging the mother of one of the alleged murderers.
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