The New Israel Fund most recently told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that it would never cross “four red lines”:
• Engaging in racist behavior.
• Demonizing any particular group.
• Using or advocating violence as a means of effecting social change.
• Engaging in activities not supportive of NIF goals of promoting civil rights and social justice for all Israelis.
NIF also informed the the JTA that “our red lines now include those established by Israeli law governing amutot [Israeli nonprofits]. You have to be an amuta [Israeli nonprofit] to get a grant from us. Generally it’s the amuta law, which of course requires that organizations don’t work against the State of Israel. The Israeli government keeps a fairly close eye on amutot.” According to the JTA story, “The NIF agreement with grantees cites the Amutot Law of 1980: ‘An Amuta shall not be registered if any of its objectives negates the existence of the democratic character of the state of Israel.’” JTA also reported that “NIF grantees, including NIF-Ford grantees, must devote the funds to ‘charitable and educational purposes’ and not ‘carry on propaganda or otherwise attempt to influence specific legislation, either by direct or grass-roots lobbying.’”
This is not the first time that the NIF has laid out ground
rules for the activities of its grantees. In a recent letter to he the Philadelphia Jewish Voice, an NIF spokesperson stated that “NIF has never funded
groups that call for divestment”.
Yet while the New Israel Fund claims that it does not support groups that call for divestment from Israel, NIF funds the Coalition of Women for Peace, which recently hosted a meeting in Jaffa, where Naomi Klein spoke with local activists about the struggle against the occupation and the Palestinian call for BDS [boycott, divestment, sanctions].
The following is from the CWP’s description of the event.
“Klein’s public meetings, in Ramallah, East Jerusalem, Haiifa, and Jaffa drew hundreds of people to hear her clear-eyed analysis of why it is time for a full boycott of Israeluntil the occupation ends, Arab
Palestinian citizens of Israelhave full and equal rights, and the right of return for Palestinian refugees is fully realized under international
law… Her presentation of why BDS is right, now, was remarkable in that she consciously presented it as a positive, movement-building tool to build
a joint future with Palestinians, rather than as simply a method to punish Israelis. She spoke clearly about BDS as a tool of non-violent solidarity, comparing not complying with the BDS call with crossing an invisible
CWP has also called upon Norway to divest from Israel as did grantees Mossawa and Machsom Watch, as well as NIF affiliated organization The Israeli Committee against House Demolitions.
In addition, CWP hosts “Who Profits” which lists businesses that make money of the “occupation” as a means of facilitating boycotts.
At the same time, NIF grantees I’lam, Mossawa and Adalah have called for the end of Israelas a Jewish state. Hanin Zoabi, currently an MK with the Balad party, and formerly the co-founder and director of I’lam has openly stated that she is not loyal to Israel and as director of I’lam, enthusiastically signed and embraced the Haifa Declaration which calls for Israel to cease a Jewish identity and to abandon “its destructive role towards the peoples
of the Region.” Meanwhile, I’lam’s International Relations Coordinator Nasser Victor Rego describes the Hamas terror group as a “genuinely emancipatory liberation and resistance movement…”
I’lam’s efforts to demonize Israeland the Jewish people can be seen in an article that I’lam posted on its old website entitled “Report from Jenin Refugee Camp: Even Flies Reveal What the Israeli Army Wants to Hide.” I’lam continues to contributed to the questionable claims of a “massacre” in Jenin in 2002 with the following I’lam report, laden with anti-semitic and anti-Zionist undertone
“The soldiers are the grandchildren of the Nazis’ victims, the Nazis’ survivors. They have come here to consume food quickly and consume life quickly. This is the true image of Israel. The real Israelis not in the clean, lofty suburbs of Northern Tel-Aviv…It is not in the literary
cafes and journalists’ clubs…It is not its High Court. I saw the real Israel, its ugliness in the Jenin Refugee Camp on Monday, April 15, 2002. The rest remains decor for murder.“
I’lam also produces and distributes a video for Israeli Arabs entitled “Lama Zafouk”, which portrays Israeli Jewish security personnel executing Israeli Arab citizens cowering beneath a tree at a point blank range.
I’lam’s claims of Jenin massacre are hosted on the NIF web site, which states that “…the ethical guideline in ‘peace journalism’ reporting is to accurately and justifiably use the term ‘massacre’…” It seems that this NIF grantee has chosen to redefine the use of the term “massacre”.
I’lam and NIF have introduced a new norm of journalistic ethics, fostering “peace journalism” in which the standard guidelines for press ethics are turned on their heels.
Adalah, a key New Israel Fund flagship grantee in the Israeli Arab sector, expresses consistent support
for Sheikh Raed Salah, the fiery leader of the northern branch of Israel’s Islamic movement, whose rabid incitement against Israel, Zionism and Jews is legendary.
Salah claims that there was never a Jewish presence on the Temple Mountand called for an intifada to protect Al-Aqsa from a Jewish plot
Salah remains a member of the board of trustees of the ‘Union of Good, an umbrella group which openly funnels seemingly charitable funds to Hamas-affiliated organizations.
When Salah’s offices were shut down by the Israeli government in 2008, Adalah protested on behalf of Salah..
What does NIF say when their own red lines are crossed? In the words of an NIF spokesperson, “The New Israel Fund does not require ideological conformity from its grantees…What we look for in grantees is..a general commonality of values.”
While NIF accuses its opponents of stifling debate, NIF demonize its critics. In defending the NIF’s support of Mossawa, after it called for the end of the Jewish nature of Israel NIF CEO Larry Garber characterized NIF’s detractors “those whose notion of Israel
contemplates ethnic cleansing.”
The question remains: Does the NIF’s advocacy of tolerance extend only to those who support their activities?