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New Israel Fund

Profile

Country/TerritoryUnited States

Activity

  • The New Israel Fund (NIF) is headquartered in New York, and maintains offices throughout the U.S. as well as in Canada, the UK, Switzerland, and Germany. Since its founding in 1979, as a political framework following the 1977 Israeli elections which brought Likud to power, NIF has provided over $300 million to more than 900 Israeli organizations.
  • Shatil is the Israel-based “operating arm” of the NIF,” that creates and nurtures coalitions of NGOs, attempts to influence laws and bills in Israel, and holds workshops for staffers of NIF-funded NGOs.
  • Declared objectives: “to strengthen and expand the pro-democracy, progressive forces in Israel” and help “Israel to live up to its founders’ vision.” According to the NIF, the Israeli government and public have strayed from the vision of Israel as a “Jewish homeland and a democracy.
  • A common theme of NIF fundraising and campaigning is the supposed “erosion of Israeli democracy.” In September 2016, the Israeli Ambassador to Switzerland refused an invitation to participate in an NIF event, titled “Is Israeli democracy in danger?” The Israeli Foreign Ministry explained that the “provocative” title and NIF involvement were the reasons for the refusal.
  • To achieve these goals, the NIF “brings the broad range of civil rights, social justice and religious tolerance issues to the attention” of individuals and institutions, including the media and the Knesset. It presents itself as the “only” group working on such issues, attempting to restore Israeli democracy to its founders’ vision.
  • In New York, NIF participation in the Celebrate Israel Parade is the subject of controversy and criticism.
  • Engages in intense confrontation with “rights wing” opponents, including Israeli government officials, MKs, and NGOs such as Im Tirtzu,

Finances

  • Expenses in 2015 were $31 million, approximately the same as in 2014.
  • Total authorized grants to Israeli NGOs were approximately $13.8 million in 2015 (including donor-advised grants), a 5.8% decrease from 2014 ($14.7 million). (See Appendix 1)
  • Although NIF grants are for organizations based in Israel, the organization is not registered with the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits.
  • NIF publishes a list of donors in its annual reports; some appear as “anonymous.”

Grantmaking

  • Approximately 20% of grants go to 25 advocacy NGOs active in political campaigns that involve, to different degrees, demonization of Israel, including BDS and lawfare, under the headings of “Civil & Human Rights;” “Religious Freedom;” “Social & Economic Justice.”
  • Many advocacy NGOs receive more “donor advised” funds than NIF core grants, suggesting that these donors have a major role in setting the NIF agenda. This also suggests the need for a discussion of the relationship of these donors and their preferred grantees within the NIF network.
  • 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.”
  • In practice, NIF continues to fund NGOs such as Adalah, Breaking the Silence, +972 Magazine, and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel that are primarily active in campaigns that contribute to BDS and delegitimization.
  • In press releases, conferences, UN sessions, and submissions to the International Criminal Court, NIF-funded NGOs emphasize unsupported allegations of “deliberate, systematic, and widespread targeting of Palestinian civilians;” “war crimes and crimes against humanity;” and “grave violations of international humanitarian law.”

Grantees

  • Adalah (2015 Funding of $101,170)
    • In 2016, Adalah was involved in the Movement for Black Lives (MBL) platform that supported BDS and called Israel “an apartheid state committing genocide.” The document originally listed Nadia Ben-Youssef of Adalah as a co-author, but, MBL subsequently removed Youssef’s name, instead listing Adalah as an “organization currently working on policy.” The role of Adalah has not been clarified by the organization or the NIF. ‬‬‬‬‬‬
    • Adalah publishes an online “Discriminatory Laws Database,” that claims to collect “text, analyses, and legal action for present and proposed discriminatory laws in Israel and the OPT [Occupied Palestinian Territories].” This list is based on false or misleading claims, as demonstrated in NGO Monitor’s detailed analysis, and is widely promoted in the UN, international media, and other venues. The text refers to Zionism pejoratively, and laws regarding the historic Jewish connection to Israel are labeled as discriminatory, including the use of symbols and the Hebrew calendar.
  • Physicians for Human Rights- Israel (2015 funding of $91,679)
  • B’Tselem (2015 funding of $252,208)
    • Frequent allegations of human rights violations, which promote the international delegitimization and demonization of Israel through political campaigns, characterized by a lack of systematic methodology and verification, distorted factual and legal allegations, inaccurate research, and skewed statistics. The group accuses Israel of “apartheid,” perpetrating “war crimes,” “beating and abus[ing]” Palestinians, “demolition of [Palestinian] houses as punishment,” and forced “deportations.”
  • Yesh Din (2015 funding of $74, 740)
    • A leader in attempting to portray Israel and its security forces as unaccountable to the rule of law and “incapable of conducting serious investigations.” This is part of a wider strategy of prosecuting Israeli officials in foreign courts and in the International Criminal Court (ICC) for “war crimes.”
  • Breaking the Silence (2015 funding of $104,304)
    • 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.
  • +972 Magazine (2015 funding of $38,117)
  • Previous NIF funding for radical anti-Israel groups (ICAHD, Coalition of Women for Peace, Mada al-Carmel, Al-Qaws, Social TV, Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement), which continued for years and caused significant damage, highlights the need to carefully monitor grantees for compliance with NIF’s guidelines and values.
    • Coalition of Women for Peace is a leader in BDS campaigns, publishing lists of companies and products to boycott, both in Israel and internationally.

Partial List of NIF Authorized Grants 2011-2015 (Amounts in US Dollars)

NGO20112012201320142015
Total2,221,7522,603,6162,372,0892,674,0552,496,415
Adalah204,275356,91170,948201,022101,170
Baladna25,00025,00025,00025,000-
B'Tselem103,419333,828107,048276,271252,208
Bimkom338,340168,500248,000177,000295,000
Breaking the Silence120,94785,11583,993138,882104,304
Combatants for Peace---5,00020,243
Emek Shave---40040,350
Gisha56,16530,80822,77144,49129,150
HaMoked101,481175,25014,80031,40037,450
Human Rights Defenders Fund224,34032,36575,92091,300199,000
Social TV37,40025,00039,0004,000-
Ir Amim89,058279,23595,131146,978105,587
Machsom Watch (Womens Fund for Human Rights)28,78132,270118,78869,968243,535
Molad-435,000736,000616,000417,694
Mossawa248,525180,050191,477200,00094,075
Negev Coexistence Forum39,46645,53249,33969,86149,888
Nine Seven Two10,00084,38931,37854,12038,117
Public Committee against Torture in Israel28,00066,5821,6705,01541,643
Physicians for Human Rights161,864166,46471,380185,26291,679
Rabbis for Human Rights328,92727,114295,493243,464296,420
Parents Circle: Bereaved Parents0014,2252,80716,902
Re'ut Sadaka24,2037,91013,69127,56438,430
Solidarity Sheikh Jarah-7,91013,961-15000-
Terrestrial Jerusalem---20,00010,000
Yesh Din49,55036,37150,06351,23674,740

Appendix 1

Table 1: Overview of NIF Finances 2013-2015

Year201320142015
Total Expenses*32,228,84931,057,80430,976,640
Total Revenue*28,400,18929,773,90333,062,783
Grants Authorized*16,420,64614,714,21613,851,614
Grants Paid*17,985,33614,334,67714,519,759
Donor Advised Grants**14,276,64210,370,98210,763,898

*Data from NIF 2015 Financial Report
**Donor advised grants are a subset listed in the NIF website under “Grants of 2015,” in which individual donors designate the grantees, with the approval of the NIF.

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