Commentary: The New Israel Fund Does NOT Support Israel
Israel has many enemies: Iran, with its nuclear program and geographic expansion plans designed to wipe Israel off the map; Palestinian terrorism; the United Nations with its incessant anti-Israel bias; and the anti-Semitic BDS movement that wages war on Israel’s economy.
These are some of the more obvious enemies of the State of Israel, but there are many others who remain disguised. Take the New Israel Fund as an example. The New Israel Fund (NIF) is a Jewish-led organization that strategically promotes the boycotting of Israel, provides legal assistance to Palestinian terrorists and publicly accuses the Israel Defense Forces of war crimes on college campuses and around the world.
Of course, the NIF doesn’t do this alone. The NIF invests millions of dollars in anti-Israel organizations, each working in its own way to harm and weaken the Jewish state. Between 2005 and 2016, NIF granted more than $12 million to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and Hamoked, two organizations that in recent years provided free legal representation to 48 Palestinian terrorists who murdered 51 Israelis.
Another organization that received $3 million from NIF is the infamous NGO B’Tselem, an organization whose specialty is slandering Israel, taking great joy in portraying the state as one that violates human rights. B’Tselem provides cameras to Palestinians who often attack Israeli soldiers and citizens, hoping to record a physical response and show a one-sided story portraying Israelis as the aggressors. The head of B’Tselem, Hagai El-Ad, often speaks at the UN and European parliaments, blaming Israel for war crimes and calling on the international community to take harsh actions against the Jewish state. He also refuses to call Hamas a terrorist organization. B’Tselem receives most of its funding from European countries, including France, Germany and Sweden, all of whom realized that the most effective enemy of the Jewish state are the Jews themselves.
The New Israel Fund also funds the Human Rights Defenders Fund (HRDF), an organization whose executive director, Alma Biblash, openly supports BDS and has described Israel as a “temporary Jewish apartheid state” which she also calls “murderous” and “racist.”
Breaking the Silence is another organization supported by NIF. Breaking the Silence travels around U.S. college campuses, publicly accusing the IDF of war crimes. Ezra Nawi, a known anti-Israel activist who also works closely with Breaking the Silence, was recorded bragging about taking part in a scheme to kill Palestinians who dared to sell land to Jews.
These are all real examples, but former President Bill Clinton adviser Hank Sheinkopf rightfully said, “Those who stand with New Israel Fund are standing against Israel.”
So how is it that the New Israel Fund receives $30 million annually from American Jews? NIF falsely markets itself as a social justice organization that stands up for human rights and democracy. This resonates well with American donors, particularly as the divide between left and right grows wider.
Although the New Israel Fund did lose some donors in recent years due to its activities, it is not nearly enough. Our goal must be to spread the truth about the New Israel Fund so Israel supporters don’t unknowingly give to an organization that does everything in its power to harm the Jewish state and its people.
Kobi Erez is ZOA Michigan director.