11 March 2015

New Israel Fund Australia: just a few questions...

IIW Editorial, 12 March 2015:

In a statement issued yesterday, President of the New Israel Fund (NIF) Australia suggests that "our [the NIF's] support for liberal democracy, freedom of expression, and human and civil rights have made us a target..." which amounts to the absurd implication that critics of the NIF must be enemies of liberal democracy, freedom of expression, and human and civil rights.

He further alleged that the NIF has been subjected to "tarring... baseless attacks... baseless allegations..." and "pressured by people whose aim is to quash discussion...", lamenting that "these baseless attacks have spread to Australia as well, where right-wing blogs and radio shows have posted articles that twist NIF’s record and urged the community to 'ostracise' NIF."

The NIF statement yesterday refers to a personal attack on some of its recent critics in the US, but otherwise does little to refute the hundreds of published examples of the NIF continuing to fund NGOs that are active in international campaigns that contribute to the demonization and delegitimization of Israel.

The New Israel Fund has, since its founding in 1979, provided over US$250 million to more than 850 organizations. The organisation, its leaders and some recipients of its financial support have reportedly 

  • accused Israel of war crimes
  • attempted to prosecute IDF officers in jurisdictions outside of Israel
  • called for and promoted boycotts and sanctions against Israel
  • engaged in legal actions against Israel in jurisdictions outside of Israel ("lawfare")
  • promoted the exertion of international diplomatic pressure on Israel
  • undermined the Zionist notion of Israel as a Jewish state

Well, far from stifling debate, we invite NIF leaders to give us clear answers to some simple questions, and let Australian friends of Israel judge for themselves whether the NIF should be ostracised.

Does the NIF financially support any of these NGOs? Yes, or no?

  • Adalah
  • Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI)
  • Bimkom
  • Breaking the Silence
  • B'Tselem
  • Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement
  • Gisha
  • Hamoked
  • Human Rights Defenders Fund
  • I'lam
  • Ir Amim
  • Molad
  • Mossawa
  • Negev Coexistence Forum
  • Nine Seven Two (+972 Magazine)
  • Parents Circle Families Forum (PCFF)
  • Physicians for Human Rights- Israel (PHR-I)
  • Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI)
  • Rabbis for Human Rights
  • Social TV(formerly Syncopa Community)
  • Yesh Din

Did the NIF, in 2010 to 2013, authorise grants of over US$14 million to the above-mentioned organisations? Yes, or no?

Did some of the above-mentioned NGOs, on 21 July 2014,  send a public letter to Israel's Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein alleging “serious concern of severe violations of international humanitarian law, and specifically the laws of war…at the level of offensive policy and the rules of engagement”? Yes, or no?

Did several of the above-mentioned NGOs collaborate to publish the GazHeb website, which accused the IDF of war crimes during Operation Cast Lead (Gaza, 2008)? Yes, or no?

Did NIF Director and former President Naomi Chazan, just one day after the beginning of Operation Cast Lead in Gaza (December 2008) sign a petition demanding "an immediate cessation of the aggression of the Israeli military forces in Gaza ...The slaughter can only fuel further conflict..."? Yes, or no?

Did NIF-funded Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I), on 21 January 2015, publish “Gaza, 2014: Findings of an independent medical fact-finding mission,” alleging Israeli violations of human rights and international legal norms during the 2014 Gaza War, stating that PHR-I “Believes that the prima facie evidence collected and presented in this Report should be used for the purposes of legal determination of violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, whether through local or international justice mechanism[my own emphasis added]? Yes, or no?

Did NIF-funded B’Tselem, on 28 January 2015, publish Black Flag: The legal and moral implication of the policy of attacking residential buildings in the Gaza Strip, summer 2014,” alleging that there was a “black flag of illegality flying over” Israeli military tactics during the 2014 Gaza War? Yes, or no?

Did NIF-funded B’Tselem, during the 2014 Gaza war, demonize Israel with a series of publications that repeated false or distorted factual and legal allegations? Yes, or no?

Did  NIF-funded Adalah submit a report to the UN Commission of Inquiry claiming that “Israel’s investigations into its 2014 Operation Protective Edge fall far short of the international standards of independence, impartiality, effectiveness, promptness and transparency”? Yes, or no?

Did NIF-funded Yesh Din, in an October 2014 submission to the UN Human Rights Committee,  allege that the “Israeli military investigation system is marred by structural failures that render it incapable of conducting serious investigations into offenses committed by soldiers against Palestinians” Yes or no?

Has NIF-funded +972 Magazine, ever featured writers that accuse Israel ofapartheid,” “ethnic cleansing,” “racism,” “land confiscation,” “discrimination,” “displacement,” “fail[ing] to prosecute violence against Palestinians,” or“perpetrating another Nakba,” or deriding American Jewish hypocrisy.”Yes, or no?

Did NIF-funded +972, on May 14, 2012,  publish a cartoon, “The hater in the sky,” depicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu raping President Barack Obama and eating his limbs? Yes, or no?

Did the discredited Goldstone report, which focused on alleged Israeli “war crimes” in the 2009 Gaza war, reference the following NIF-funded NGOs? Yes, or no?
  • B’Tselem more than 56 times; 
  • Adalah, 38 times; and 
  • Breaking the Silence, 27 times.

Did NIF-funded Adalah, in 2007, draft a “Democratic Constitution” that called for replacing the Jewish foundation of Israel with a “democratic, bilingual, and multicultural” framework? Yes, or no?

Did former NIF Associate Director in Israel Hedva Radovanitz, in 2010, tell the US Embassy Policy Officer in Tel Aviv that "she believed that in 100 years Israel would be majority Arab and that the disappearance of a Jewish state would not be the tragedy that Israelis fear since it would become more democratic"? [my emphasis added] Yes, or no?