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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.”
  • See chart below for complete funding details

NIF-Funded organizations are involved in:

BDS

  • 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.
  • On June 29-30, 2015, Adalah co-sponsored and participated in two side events at the UN Human Rights Council along with pro-BDS and -lawfare NGOs (see here for more details). Two of Adalah’s co-sponsors, Badil and Medical Aid for Palestinians, in addition to extreme demonization of Israel, have also engaged in overt antisemitism.
  • 972 Magazine contributors regularly endorse BDS, including justifying it, interviewing radical BDS figure Omar Barghouti, and supporting a number of BDS campaigns.

Incitement

  • During the wave of terrorism that began in October 2015, NIF grantees Adalah and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I) released statements criticizing Israeli policy and actions without even noting the attacks against Israeli civilians. Yesh Din condemned the terrorist attacks but was quick to condemn the response by the Israeli authorities, calling for more efforts to be taken to protect Palestinian civilians.
  • According to Father Gabriel Naddaf, a Greek Orthodox priest from Nazareth, “Under the guise of human rights protection, organizations such as Mossawa…have joined the incitement campaign and have accused the leaders of the Christian-Arab community in Israel who support integration of collaboration with the IDF, often dubbing the IDF ‘the Zionist Occupation.’”

Demonization of Israel

  • In March 2013, Adalah launched a “Discriminatory Laws in Israeldatabase 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 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.”
  • 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 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.
  • Both Mossawa and Baladna refer to the founding of the state of Israel as a “Nakba” [“catastrophe”], promote a 1948 agenda, and a Palestinian “right of return,” which, if implemented would effectually mean the elimination of Israel as a Jewish state.

Gaza War 2014

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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