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Friday, September 09, 2011

New Israel Fund says no need for Jewish state

A couple of people have asked me about the mention of the New Israel Fund in a cable that was exposed this week by Wikileaks. While I discussed the cable here, I focused mainly on 'Peace Now' being 95% foreign funded, and on the steep drop in membership of the ACRI (Israel's ACLU) reported by the New Israel Fund, both of which speak to the disappearance of the political Left in Israel. What I did not focus on, which has raised a lot of eyebrows, was this statement in the paragraph discussing the New Israel Fund.
New Israel Fund (NIF) Associate Director in Israel Hedva Radovanitz, who manages grants to 350 NGOs totaling about 18 million dollars per year, told PolOff on February 23 that the campaign against the NGOs was due to the "disappearance of the political left wing" in Israel and the lack of domestic constituency for the NGOs.... She commented 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.
As you might imagine, that statement has set a few people off. This is Noah Pollack writing in Commentary:
The reasoning behind NIF’s multi-million dollar donations to Arab groups such as Adalah and Mada al-Carmel that seek the destruction of Israel as a Jewish State suddenly becomes clear: In the words of a high-ranking NIF official, the group believes Zionism itself — that is, Jewish national self-determination — is anti-democratic and should eventually yield to an Arab state where Jews will once again live as a minority. It seems the “New Israel” envisioned by NIF will not be a Jewish state. Has NIF made this clear to its American Jewish donors?

During the past decade, as the New Israel Fund and European governments have funded and fueled the delegitimization war on Israel, critics have argued the NGOs they support have no real constituency in Israel; that they represent foreign interests; that they are funded — all told, the sum is around $100 million per year — almost entirely by foreign foundations and European governments seeking to impose their agendas; that they seek to overturn the democratic choices of the Israeli people; that they foment external pressure and “lawfare” to prevent Israel from protecting herself from threats; and that the groups’ activism is motivated not by the claimed values of human rights and international law, but by varying degrees of anti-Zionism and solidarity with Arab interests and leftist anti-Israel activism.

At every turn, the NGOs have angrily denied these charges and smeared those who made them as being (take your pick) anti-peace, anti-human rights, anti-democracy, or extremist right-wingers attempting to silence dissent.

It is a remarkable moment in this battle to see the NGOs admit in private the same things they slander their critics for saying about them in public.
Even Jeffrey Goldberg, who generally supports the NIF, was uncomfortable with this one.

The NIF has responded by claiming that Radovanitz's views do not reflect theirs, and that in any event she is no longer with NIF and that she departed over 'ideological differences.' They even got Radovanitz to issue a statement making the same claim. Sorry, but that's lame. It is not credible for an organization that is so ideologically based to claim that they had not vetted the ideological views of someone who (in the words of the Wikileaks cable) "manages grants to 350 NGOs totaling about 18 million dollars per year." They may have had ideological disagreements with Radovanitz, but if that was the case, how was she ever placed in charge of all those grants and all that money? And for how long?

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At 1:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would anyone ever say there's 'no need' for an Egyptian state? Or an Iranian state? Or a Japaneses state?

At 2:29 PM, Blogger Sunlight said...

I'm going to pick around and try to figure out where the $18 mil came from. And that's per year, right? Not an endowment type thing?

At 2:50 PM, Blogger teddy said...

From now on, let's call it The "No Israel Fund".

At 2:51 PM, Blogger teddy said...

From now on, let's call it the "No Israel Fund".


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