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Wednesday, March 02, 2011

'New Israel Fund' opposes Jewish immigration to Israel?

The New Israel Fund is backing an Israeli organization, the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity movement, which has called for the dissolution or fundamental change of the Jewish Agency for Israel, the Jewish National Fund and the Israel Lands Administration.
“The Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity movement, to the best of our knowledge, is opposed to kibbutz galuyot: the right of Jews to make their home in Israel,” said Haviv Rettig-Gur, the spokesman for JAFI. “If you are opposed to this idea, then in fact you are opposed to the Jewish Agency. We believe the organization that supports this movement, for whatever reason, should be asking itself tough questions.”

Avner Inbar, the spokesman for Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity, said its criticism of the organization tasked with Jewish immigration and absorption in Israel was related to the “privileged status” it was given, not to its mission.

“If JAFI were to become an NGO like any other, we’d have no problem with them, but our criticism of them is because they are treated like a branch of government,” he said.

At the same time, he said Israeli policy allowing Jews to immigrate freely while denying similar rights to Arabs and Palestinians clashed with his organization’s commitment to equality.

“One can infer from our manifesto that changes need to be made to the Law of Return and that those changes need to be done democratically and in the spirit of democratic values,” Inbar said, referring to the law that gives people of Jewish ancestry the right to immigrate to Israel. “We have to think whether Jews in Israel should enjoy a right that Arabs don’t, and that’s an open question.”
Actually, that's not - and ought not to be - an 'open question.' There is no ethnic distinction between the 'Palestinians' and other Arabs, including Egyptians, Jordanians, Syrians, Lebanese, Saudis, Iraqis and a whole host of others. There are 22 Arab countries to accommodate them.

But there is one and only one Jewish state and that Jewish state is meant to be a refuge and a home for Jews. If the 'Palestinian Arabs' don't like that, they can go live among their brethren elsewhere.

The Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity movement, whose founder received an award at the J Street conference earlier this week, is funded by the New Israel Fund. In other words, Jews are funding an organization that seeks to place Arab immigration to the Jewish state on the same plane as Jewish immigration.
Meanwhile, watchdog group NGO Monitor criticized the New Israel Fund for funding Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity, and J Street for honoring one of the movement’s key activists, Sara Benninga, at its conference in Washington.

“The New Israeli Fund claims to love Israel and to oppose boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS),” said Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor. “But at the same time, NIF also provides funding to a group that campaigns for the ‘liquidation’ of organizations such as the Jewish Agency and Jewish National Fund.”

He added that “one of the NIF’s new funding guidelines states that funding will not go to groups that ‘promote anti-democratic values.’ NIF must end the secret funding processes and publicly disclose how they see funding of the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity movement as contributing to coexistence and mutual understanding.”

However, Jeremy Ben-Ami, the founder of J-Street, rejected NGO Monitor’s criticism and went on the offensive.

“Efforts by NGO Monitor and others on the far Right of Jewish life to deny those whose views they don’t like the right to express themselves are pursuing a dangerous and highly un-Jewish course of action,” he said. “J Street disagrees with some of the words chosen by some who spoke at our conference – just as we share concerns of Israeli leaders like [Defense Minister] Ehud Barak, who have used the word ‘apartheid’ to describe the future Israel faces without a two-state solution.”

The NIF also rejected NGO Monitor’s claims, defending its support for the activities of Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity.

“NIF, alongside many intellectuals and public figures in Israel, recognizes the importance of the work of the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity movement, which bravely acts against the injustice caused by the occupation and the undermining of basic human rights of Arabs in east Jerusalem and other places in Israel,” the NIF told The Jerusalem Post.
Read the whole thing. And if you still donate money to the New Israel Fund, please ask yourself why.

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At 9:56 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

The New Israel Fund should be renamed the No Israel Fund.

That's a better description of its mission and the grantees it funds. So much for its promise to reform.

What could go wrong indeed


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