BDS IN THE PEWS
New Israel Fund
February 10, 2015
- Website: www.nif.org
- Founded in 1979; current president, Brian Lurie.
- According to its mission statement, “The New Israel Fund (NIF) helps Israel live up to its founders’ vision of a state that ensures complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants. Our aim is to advance liberal democracy, including freedom of speech and minority rights, and to fight inequality, injustice, and extremism that diminish Israel.”
- Main “Issue Areas” include: “Civil & Human Rights”; “Religious Freedom”; “Social & Economic Justice”.
- Funding: Since its founding in 1979, the NIF has provided over $250 million to more than 850 organizations.
- In 2013, the NIF authorized approximately $16.4 million to a wide variety of Israeli NGOs.
- According to its Funding Guidelines, NIF will not fund organizations that “[p]articipate in partisan political activity”; “advocate human rights selectively for one group over another”; “[e]mploy racist or derogatory language or designations about any group based on their religion, race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation”; or “[w]ork to deny the right of the Jewish people to sovereign self-determination within Israel.”
- Despite these guidelines, past failures (see below), and policies against BDS and lawfare, NIF continues to fund political advocacy NGOs that are active in international and divisive campaigns that contribute to BDS and the demonization and delegitimization of Israel:
- As with the Goldstone process, a number of NIF-funded NGOs have been active in repeating unsupported allegations of “deliberate, systematic, and widespread targeting of Palestinian civilians”; “war crimes and crimes against humanity”; “grave violations of international humanitarian law,” and similar claims regarding the 2014 Gaza war, as well as claiming that internal Israeli investigations fail to meet international standards. Such allegations are central in efforts to justify international intervention, including ICC prosecutions and unprofessional UN reports.
- On July 21, 2014, 10 NIF-funded NGOs, including Adalah, Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), B’Tselem, Gisha, Hamoked, Machsom Watch, Physicians for Human Rights- Israel (PHR-I), Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI), Rabbis for Human Rights, and Yesh Din, sent a public letter to 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.”
- On January 21, 2015, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I) published “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. As stated in the report, 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.” (See here for NGO Monitor’s report, “Physicians for Human Rights Israel Gaza Mission: No Independence, No Facts, No Evidence”)
- On January 28, 2015, B’Tselem published “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. B’Tselem also demonized Israel with a series of publications during the war that repeated false or distorted factual and legal allegations. (See here for NGO Monitor’s report, “Emotion, Not Law: A Critical Reading of B’Tselem’s ‘Black Flag’ Report”)
- Adalah submitted 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.”
- In an October 2014 submission to the UN Human Rights Committee, Israeli NGO Yesh Din alleged 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.”
- For more examples see Israeli NGOs Behind “Goldstone 2”.
- In March 2013, Adalah launched a “Discriminatory Laws in Israel” database on its website (or “Racist Laws,” per Adalah’s English Facebook page). NGO Monitor’s analysis demonstrates that many of the claims are false or misleading.
- Adalah’s rejection of the legitimacy of the Jewish State and its attempt to portray Israel as racist are integral components of the Durban Strategy that it helped formulate. Consistent with its political goal of eliminating Israel’s Jewish character, in 2007 Adalah drafted a “Democratic Constitution” that called for replacing the Jewish foundation of Israel with a “democratic, bilingual, and multicultural” framework.
- NIF grantee Breaking the Silence makes repeated allegations of “war crimes” and “violations of international law.” Despite claiming to address Israeli society, BtS’ lobbying and media advocacy focus on international audiences, including appearances in Europe and the United States.
- NIF funds Molad, a highly partisan and openly political NGO that promotes a narrow, intolerant agenda, without providing diverse views or showing respect for other political opinions.
- NIF grantee +972 Magazine, regularly features writers that accuse Israel of “apartheid,” “ethnic cleansing,” “racism,” “land confiscation,” “discrimination,” “displacement,” “fail[ing] to prosecute violence against Palestinians,” and “perpetrating another Nakba,” as well as deriding “American Jewish hypocrisy.” On May 14, 2012, +972 published a cartoon, “The hater in the sky,” depicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu raping President Barack Obama and eating his limbs.
- NIF funded NGOs were featured centrally in the discredited Goldstone report, which focused on alleged Israeli “war crimes” in the 2009 Gaza war. The report referenced B’Tselem more than 56 times; Adalah, 38; and Breaking the Silence, 27.
- Previous NIF funding for radical anti-Israel groups (ICAHD, Coalition of Women for Peace, Mada al-Carmel, Al-Qaws, etc.), which continued for years and caused significant damage, highlights the need to carefully monitor grantees for compliance with NIF’s guidelines and values.
- In 2008-2011, the NIF authorized grants worth $48,957 to Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP). On May 15, 2011, NIF issued a statement declaring that “CWP is no longer on the list of approved donor-advised organizations” and that “We have asked CWP to remove our name and funding direction from their website.” CWP is a key player in BDS campaigns worldwide and initiated the “Who Profits” campaign, which identifies targets for anti-Israel BDS campaigns.
Partial List of NIF Authorized Grants 2010-2013 (Amounts in US Dollars)
|Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI)
|Breaking the Silence
|Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement
|Human Rights Defenders Fund
|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)
- NIF Funding for Molad: Violation of Guidelines Against Partisan Support?, NGO Monitor Correspondence, February 5, 2014
- NIF Connections to Letter in Favor of UK Recognition of Palestinian State, NGO Monitor Report, October 13, 2014
- Changes in NIF Grants- 2013, NGO Monitor Analysis, June 23, 2014
- Questions on NIF's Social Justice Fellowship Program, NGO Monitor Correspondence, June 22, 2014
- Statement on New Israel Fund and "Salute to Israel Parade" Controversy, NGO Monitor Press Release, April 14, 2014
- Analysis of New Israel Fund (NIF) Funding for Divisive Campaigns, NGO Monitor Report, January 15, 2014
- To Repair the Damage (Hebrew), Gerald Steinberg, Makor Rishon, January 10, 2014
- Who’s Minding the Store: NIF-Affiliated Activists’ 1.5 State Proposal, NGO Monitor Analysis, October 28, 2013
- Presumed Guilty: NIF's NGO Network Promotes War Crimes Myths Again, NGO Monitor Reports, November 19, 2012
- Questions Remain for the New Israel Fund on the Signing Anew/Haaretz “apartheid” poll, NGO Monitor Reports, October 25, 2012
- The New Israel Fund, Jewish Values and Atonement, Gerald M. Steinberg, JNS.org, September 24, 2012
- NIF 2011 Funding: One Step Forward, One Step Back, NGO Monitor Reports, August 31, 2012
- Wikileaks Bombshell: New Israel Fund Official Endorses End of Jewish State, Noah Pollak, Contentions (Commentary Magazine), September 6, 2011
- NIF Announces End of Support for CWP, Confirming NGO Monitor Research, NGO Monitor Reports, May 16, 2011 (Timeline of the controversy)
- NIF's Old-New-No Funding Guidelines: Substance or Spin?, NGO Monitor Reports, September 22, 2010
- NIF Whistleblower Exposes NIF´s Role in Demonization, NGOs in the News, July 21, 2010
- Ethical Guidelines for the New Israel Fund, June 22, 2010
- NIF Has Crossed the Line, NGO Monitor Reports, May 14, 2010
- The Tiff Over NIF: New Israel Fund's Friends Are a Danger to Jewish State, Ben-Dror Yemini, Jweekly, February 11, 2010
- NIF-Funded NGOs: Goldstone’s Building Blocks, NGO Monitor, February 9, 2010
NIF Funding For Molad: Violation of Guidelines Against Partisan Support, NGO Monitor Correspondence, February 5, 2015
Changes in NIF Grants - 2013, NGO Monitor Report, June 23, 2014
Analysis of New Israel Fund (NIF) Funding for Divisive Campaigns, NGO Monitor Report, January 14, 2014
Who's Minding the Store: NIF-Affiliated Activists' 1.5 State Proposal, NGO Monitor Analysis, October 28, 2014
Presumed Guilty: NIF's NGO Network Promotes War Crimes Myths Again, NGO Monitor Report, November 19, 2014, 2015
The New Israel Fund, Jewish Values and Atonement, Gerald Steinberg, JNS.org, September 24, 2014
NIF-Funded NGOs: Goldstone's Building Blocks, NGO Monitor Report, February 9, 2010
Wikileaks Bombshell: New Israel Fund Official Endorses End of Jewish State, Noah Pollak, Commentary Magazine, September 6, 2011