The American-based New Israel Fund (NIF) has never hidden its mission to save Israel from itself, and its bedrock conviction that the chauvinist particularism of a Jewish State should be replaced with a more “democratic” state of its citizens.
Implicit in this posture is a belief that the enlightened folks at the NIF know better than we Israelis what is in our best interest, and even what is the moral high ground in any given situation irrespective of the real world considerations that would apply.
While we have seen time and time again the NIF supporting organizations that bolster BDS, accuse Israel of war crimes and slander Israel as an apartheid state, in its current hissy fit over the planned deportation of tens of thousands of illegal African migrants back to third party African nations, the NIF has thrown all decency to the wind.
The NIF has chosen to liken the illegal migrants to Holocaust survivors, with the clear and deliberate implication that Israel must be likened to the Nazis.
By doing so, and by standing by as its supported organizations use Holocaust-themed analogies such as demeaning the memory of Anne Frank, the NIF has clearly telegraphed that there are no red lines, there are no off-limits depictions, arguments or tactics.
Perhaps this complete lack of restraint and over the top contempt is a function of having lost the usual reliable support of the Supreme Court. In a landmark ruling in August 2017, the Israeli Supreme Court, sitting with a five court panel (instead of the usual three) upheld voluntary deportations and specifically stated that there was no proof that the illegal migrants faced danger in being sent to third party African countries such as Rwanda and Uganda.
Without popular support, government support, and now the support of the Supreme Court, the NIF has decided to engage in a smoke and mirrors pseudo-populist uprising, in which its supported organizations have gone to the barricades to accuse Israel of not only heartless, cruel and inhumane behavior, but of being complicit in murder.
The NIF can therefore add blood libels to its head-on collision through the red lines of decency. Implying that Israel is knowingly sending the illegal migrants to their deaths deserves a place of infamy right alongside the blood of Christian children being used to make matzah.
What should we taking away from this well financed, heavy handed and hysterical campaign? For one thing, very likely by design, there is no sense that the incursion by migrants seeking a better economic situation for themselves is a human rights crisis demanding extraordinary resilience by Israel. Faced with a true humanitarian nightmare, Menachem Begin welcomed hundreds of Cambodian refugees into Israel, and no one made a peep.
By contrast, it has been shown that 70% of the entering illegal migrants have not asked for asylum, and that 80% of them are prime working age males. No one begrudges anyone’s desire to better themselves economically, but the effort is not a human rights crisis.
At the same time there is probably a deliberate disregard by the NIF for the particulars of what the migration means for Israel. Demographically, 38,000 people represents almost one half of a percent of the total population of Israel, and six tenths of a percent of the Jewish population. The equivalent in the US would be about 1.5 million people.
But unlike the US, Israel’s mission from day one has been to be the one place on earth that can be called the Jewish Homeland and that will be the Jewish State. Even with the most benign disposition, Israel’s government has a duty to its current citizens and its yet to be born citizens to maintain the Jewish character of the State.
For Israel, this is not a racial matter, as the Ethiopian and Bnei Menasseh aliyot make clear. But there is a racial implication here, and it is the soft racism of the NIF and its acolytes in assuming that a return to Africa by Africans is definitionally dangerous. While the UNHCR is extolling the return of refugees to Rwanda and is encouraging many more to return there, the NIF and groups such as Rabbis for Human Rights, view Africa as a ticket to cruelty, or even death.
How contemptuous is this, how demeaning!
Fortunately, when it comes to the New Israel Fund, the people of Israel know better. They have seen the NIF in action before, defending and encouraging the de-legitimizers of Israel, and they know that the NIF has anything but the good of Israel at heart.
Perhaps with this latest unhinged and scorched earth attempt to dictate Israeli policy, the citizens and government will sensibly conclude that maybe it is the New Israel Fund that should be deported.