What is the Problem with the New Israel Fund and its NGOs?

  • 1 minute read
  • • by Sharon Koifman
  • • September 19, 2022

When you go to the NIF website, you see a claim that it is focused on making Israel better. Based on my research and clear backing, it seems that their focus is to promote hatred of Israel.  While they say many nice progressive things, They are fund and can only be judged on what they funded. Unfortunately, they have a pretty bad track record of funding Anti Zionists NGOs.

B’tselem, Breaking the Silence, Adalah, and Molad are all organizations that are clearly dedicated to delegitimizing Israel. If you go through their website, you simply can’t find anything remotely constructive. It is just uncompromising, unconditional criticism of any Israeli institution. There is nothing there that tells me that this makes a better Israel.

So I spent time reading NGO watch detailing all that is wrong with things NIF. The challenge with NGO watch is that it is an organization that is known to take on a right-wing stand. Considering that most people who support NIF come more from a left-leaning Ideology and the people we often try to influence are left-leaning, Quoting the website or the founder would be an immediate turn-off for many of them. So as a Progressive Zionist, I decided to do a little bit of research myself.

NIF is essentially a fund. This is their main job, to fund organizations. And in reality, this is the only way to judge the organization and kind of ignore anything else they have to say.

The First and clear shock was the fact that NIF not only funds Breaking the Silence, but it is their biggest fund.  These guys have been doing the circuits since I was in university with one clear mission to shit on the Israeli Army. If you go on their website, there is a clear unconditional criticism of the Army. There is no clear solution, not a clear strategy about what they want or how to make the army better. They act like we suppose to suddenly drop everything and not protect the country anymore. The only mentioned goal, similar to any other Anti-Zionists group, is the old “end the occupation.”

Again I repeat, NIF’s biggest fund goes to a world-class Anti-Zionist group.

And then there is  B’Tselem. If you go to the B’Tselem website, you will see that this organization is dedicated to dismantling Israel as it is. The first phrase on the site is “Israel’s regime of apartheid and occupation is inextricably bound up in human rights violations.” This is how they start. The organization is known as the initial instigator of the word apartheid when it comes to Israel. The term gained popularity in the 2010s, but B’Tselem has been using it since 2004, which, BTW, completely cheapens South African history. Just like every Shmuck who doesn’t like someone calls their opponent Hitler or compares them to Nazis, this crucial term is being used unethically.  B’Tselem is known to even employ Holocaust deniers, yet somehow NIF, an organization claiming to care about Israel, proudly supports it.

I discovered an organization called Adalah, which provides legal services to Arabs. Now, these are not legal services to deal with domestic or internal community issues. These are clearly politically motivated Arabs against Jews’ legal concerns. Guess what? If you want to sue a Jew, NIF will help you. Again if you go to Adalah’s website, their blog is bombarded with demonizing Israel, showing that nothing Israel can do is right. You can see that they are not pushing for coexistence or integrating the Arab minority into society. They are simply there to promote fights.

So you might think these are simply organizations that are taking a hard stance on human rights issues in Israel. This sounds nice, but it’s pretty much what every Anti-Zionists organization claims to do. While there is no perfect science to define who crosses the line from Human Rights to Anti-Zionism, you must draw a line when they unconditionally demonize Israel.

To be honest, I did not go through the 900 organizations they claim to fund, and I did notice that women of the wall, an organization/movement that I very much sympathize with, is at least partially funded by NIF. But the choice to fund clearly Anti-Zionist organizations completely disqualifies them from any kind ofof legitimacy, no different than we would not support a fantastic philanthropist with a Nazi background. With such low credibility, even when it comes to women of the wall, one must question if NIF funds them because they support the cause or because it is another organization that adds controversy to Israel.

NIF seems to fund many organizations that simply spew unconditional hate about the country. There is nothing constructive about an organization that just goes around criticizing unconditionally. And unlike other human rights organizations in other countries, they spend more time telling the world what’s wrong with Israel than actually trying to be part of the solution.

To be an organization that is truly trying to create progressive solutions in Israel, you must be part of the discourse.

This means you need to be an organization that shows that they care about Israel. It means you need to be an organization that earns credibility within the Israeli population to actually influence them.

Otherwise, if you are perceived as an Anti-ZIonist/Anti-Israel, the results are reversed.  Israelis will associate your so-called progressive actions with the ones of the enemy. It breaks my heart to say, but I feel this will hurt Women of the wall. While writing this article, even I’m slightly turned off by their cause because an Anti-Zionist organization supports them.

Suppose you are an organization that is dedicated to demonizing Israel on an international level, which the New Israel Fund, funds a lot. In that case, you might think that you are getting the world to pressure Israel to end the conflict or end their “wrong ways.” Unfortunately, what you are really doing is getting Israelis to feel more defensive and more disappointed that no one appreciates when they do something progressive. This means they simply end up voting for more right-wing parties.

You also empower the heavily oppressive and dangerous regimes, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, which have the Palestinian population under their thumb. Whoever funds the demonization of Israel simply helps these regimes to win the PR war and continue oppress and brainwash their own people. BTW there is no regime in the world that is evil enough to use their own people’s suffering and lives as tools for marketing, and as far as I’m concerned, NIF helps promote that.

I know it is hard to believe, but these disfranchising organizations that NIF funds actually get us further from peace and progressive solutions.

I would say that NIF promotes democracy and Human rights as much as the Jewish Voices for Peace (an Anti-Israel organization) promotes “peace.” It doesn’t.

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