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NIF Funds Groups Promoting Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions

The BDS movement is an international campaign that
- promotes boycotts of Israeli academics, cultural institutions, and products;
- seeks to end investments in Israeli corporations and in companies that conduct business in Israel;
- pressures governments and the UN to implement international sanctions against Israel.
One of the campaign's goals is the "rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties."

The Palestinian Call for Boycotts and other BDS documents make it clear that "occupation and colonialization of all Arab lands" began in 1948 and earlier, not in 1967. BDS, then, challenges the very idea of Israel's existence. But, NIF mistakenly claims that BDS "tactics...are designed to pressure Israel to end the occupation."

NIF's problematic and inconsistent approach to BDS extends to its funding policy. On the one hand, NIF recognizes that BDS is "inflammatory," and officials claim that NIF has never funded BDS. On the other, NIF states that it "does not support BDS as a strategy or tactic, [but] we will not reduce or eliminate our funding for grantees that differ with us on a tactical matter." In other words, NIF considers BDS merely a "strategy or tactic," and not an inherently immoral attempt to single out Israel as a pariah state.


"NIF opposes the BDS movement." - CEO Daniel Sokatch, Executive Director's Message: Say No to Smears. And No to "Apartheid Week"

"NIF has never funded groups that call for divestment."- Communications Director Naomi Paiss, August 2006

"No amount of our money is permitted for use of projects that promote BDS." - NIF Twitter account, April 15, 2010

"NIF believes these tactics ('boycott, divestment and sanctions') to be unproductive, inflammatory and ineffective... NIF will not fund BDS activities nor support organizations for which BDS is a substantial element of their activities, but will support organizations that conform to our grant requirements if their support for BDS is incidental or subsidiary to their significant programs..." - NIF website, "Frequently Asked Questions"

"Although we will continue to communicate publicly and privately to our allies and grantees that NIF does not support BDS as a strategy or tactic, we will not reduce or eliminate our funding for grantees that differ with us on a tactical matter." NIF website, "Frequently Asked Questions"


Five NIF grantees (combined $437,224 in 2008) successfully petitioned the Norwegian Pension Fund to divest from Israeli firms.


On May 14, 2009, Israel Social TV, Mossawa, Machsom Watch, Women against Violence, and Coalition of Women for Peace sent a letter to the Council on Ethics of the Norwegian Government Pension Fund, petitioning the Fund to divest from Israeli corporations that allegedly "provide specifically designed equipment for the surveillance and repression of Palestinian population through restrictions of movement and collective punishments; or take part in the illegal exploitation of Palestinian nonrenewable natural resources for the needs of the Israeli market."

The NGO petition was successful. In September 2009, the Norwegian Ministry of Finance announced its decision "to exclude the Israeli company Elbit Systems Ltd. from the Government Pension Fund - Global."

NIF grantee Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP; $285,509 in 2006-2008) supports BDS and the UC Berkeley divestment campaign

BDS is an integral and major part of CWP's work. In November 2009, CWP endorsed the Palestinian call for BDS and sees itself "as part of this international movement." In a newsletter, CWP marked "the second Global BDS Day of Action on March 30 2010, in solidarity with the Palestinian people," recommended that activists target corporations such as Carmel Agrexco and Ahava, and encouraged support for the UC Berkeley and UC San Diego divestment campaigns. In direct contradiction, NIF signed a joint letter opposing the Berkeley divestment efforts as "unfairly target[ing] the State of Israel."

NIF grantee CWP ($285,509 in 2006-2008) runs the divestment website WhoProfits.org

This anti-Israel divestment website tracks Israeli and international corporations that allegedly "are directly involved in the occupation." Who Profits? influenced the anti-Israel divestment campaign in Norway and a similar project in the UK. Donors for WhoProfits? are instructed to "Make out a check to 'New Israel Fund', write in the memo line 'for the Coalition of Women for Peace - Who Profits Project'" in order to contribute a tax deductable donation in the United States, the UK, or Switzerland, This expressly contradicts NIF's assertions that "NIF has never funded groups that call for divestment" and that "no amount of our money is permitted for use of projects that promote BDS."

There's a line between legitimate criticism of Israel, and support for groups that delegitimize it.   NIF has Crossed the Line.
  For detailed information on NIF-funded delegitimization of Israel,
visit: www.ngo-monitor.org/nif