As in previous years, NGO Monitor has analyzed the 2014 financial reports of the New Israel Fund (NIF), detailing grants to a wide variety of Israeli non-governmental organizations (NGOs). This year, our analysis focuses on the 18% of NIF funding authorized to 28 political advocacy NGOs that are active, to varying degrees, in political campaigns that involve demonization of Israel, including BDS and lawfare. Despite strong criticism of NIF funding, the pattern of funding for these NGO did not change.
Key Findings – Finances
- NIF expenses in 2014 were $31,057,804, a 3.6% decrease from 2013 ($32,228,849). Total authorized grants were approximately $14.7 million in 2014, a 10% decrease from 2013 ($16.4 million). (See Appendix 1.) (Financial reports are usually only published 6-7 months after the end of the fiscal year. Details on grants in 2015 are expected in July 2016.)
- The amounts listed in NIF financial statements comprise both “Core Grants” and “Donor Advised” grants. According to NIF’s website, “NIF also invites our supporters to supplement [Core] grants with funds they advise we use to support specific organizations. This allows NIF to make larger grants to core-funded groups and to support a wider circle of organizations that meet our criteria and fall within our areas of focus.” (See Appendix 2.)
- In the past, NIF has used the “donor advised” designation to distance itself from funding to groups that were involved in demonization, lawfare, and BDS. Under U.S. tax law, however, all grants, including “donor advised,” are within the sole discretion and require approval of the NIF Board of Directors. No “donor advised” funds may be distributed to any grantee without NIF board review, and donors are notified in advance that ultimate discretion to disburse such funding rests with NIF. Therefore, NIF has full responsibility – morally, legally, and financially – for all grants, even those it calls “donor advised.”
Key Findings – Grantees
- A number of NGOs involved in political activities related to demonization of Israel, in sharp contrast to NIF’s stated principles and funding guidelines, continue to be funded by NIF:
- Authorized grants to 28 political advocacy NGOs amounted to $2,709,500, an 8.6% increase from 2013. However, it is not clear if this represents a change in policy or reflects a pattern of multiyear grants.
- A number of the more problematic NGOs receive significant NIF funding as “donor advised” grants. This suggests that NIF is more permissive regarding oversight for “donor advised” funds or is continuing to use this category to distance itself from the most controversial grants related to BDS and demonization.
- NIF funding for Adalah, B’Tselem, Breaking the Silence, and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel increased significantly. These NGOs were featured repeatedly and prominently in the report of the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza War (the Schabas-Davis report), which promoted “war crimes” and other allegations against Israel. (See here for more details on the involvement of NIF-funded NGOs in the UN commisssion.)
- Funding also continued to a number of radical fringe NGOs such as Social TV, +972 Magazine, and Human Rights Defenders Fund.
- In 2013, NIF ended funding for Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement (SJSM), while Combatants for Peace and Terrestrial Jerusalem received grants for the first time (albeit relatively small donor-advised amounts).
- NIF provided extensive funding for “Molad – The Center for the renewal of Israeli democracy” ($1,787,000 between 2012-2014). Molad is a political think-tank that seeks to “revive the Israeli left,” including through a project entitled “61,” consisting of prejudicial posters denigrating Israeli politicians with whom they disagree.
Examples of Grantees’ Activities
Several NGOs are engaged in activities – such as promotion of global BDS; partnerships with groups engaged in global BDS, lawfare, and antisemitism; and participation in partisan political activity – that stand in sharp contrast to NIF guidelines and principles.
- On June 29-30, 2015, Adalah co-sponsored and participated in two side events at the UN Human Rights Council along with 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.
- On May 27, 2015, Social TV posted a video supporting Palestinian efforts to suspend Israel from FIFA (the international soccer association). In the article, Social TV attacked NIF: “Attempts by human rights organizations and the New Israel Fund, to raise awareness of the plight of the Palestinians haven’t succeeded in recent years. On the other hand, Palestinian efforts to gain Israeli attention – abandoning terrorist attacks and applying international pressure are deserving of esteem. Surprising is the New Israel Fund efforts to sabotage the Palestinian move just moments before their non-violent action reaches nearly every home in Israel. Perhaps the Fund’s executive director’s letter, first published in Hebrew, but not appearing on the Fund’s Facebook page or on its English website, is intended to close ranks with the Israeli public.”
- Social TV also acts as a platform for accusations of Israeli “apartheid,” “racism,” “discrimination,” and perpetrating a “Nakba” against the Palestinian population, and to advocate the “one-state” solution, a Palestinian “right of return” and BDS (boycotts, divestments and sanctions) against Israel.
- 972 Magazine contributors regularly endorse BDS, including justifying it, interviewing radical BDS figure Omar Barghouti, and supporting a number of BDS campaigns.
- Writers and contributors of “972 Magazine” regularly invoke the Durban vocabulary, accusing Israel of “apartheid”, “ethnic cleansing,” “racism,” “land confiscation,” “discrimination,” “displacement,” “fail[ing] to prosecute violence against Palestinians,” “perpetrating another “Nakba,” and deride “American Jewish hypocrisy.”
- NIF funds an openly political and highly partisan organization known as “Molad.” Molad’s “Project 61” initiative consists of political posters and campaigns aimed at denigrating politicians and parties with whom Molad disagrees. According to news reports, Project 61 was also contracted by the Labor Party in 2014 to oppose the government budget.
- In an email to NGO Monitor, NIF justified its support for Molad because “Project 61 is not affiliated nor coordinated with any partisan political party’s or candidate’s election activities” and “NIF does not fund Project 61.”
Multi Year Review for Authorized Grants to Political NGOs
|Breaking the Silence||120,947||85,115||83,993||138,882||65%|
|Combatants for Peace||----||----||---||5,000||100%|
|Human Rights Defenders Fund||224,340||32,365||75,920||91,300||20%|
|Machsom Watch(Women's Fund for Human Rights)||28,781||32,270||118,788||69,968||-41%|
|Negev Coexistence Forum||39,466||45,532||49,339||69,861||42%|
|Nine Seven Two (+972) Magazine||10,000||84,389||31,378||54,120||72%|
|Public Committee Against Torture in Israel||28,000||66,582||1,670||5,015||200%|
|Physicians for Human Rights - Israel (PHR-I)||161,864||166,464||71,380||185,262||160%|
|Rabbis for Human Rights||328,927||27,114||295,493||243,464||-18%|
|Parent's Circle Families Forum (PCFF)||---||0||14,225||2,807||-80%|
|Solidarity Sheikh Jarrah||---||7,910||13,961||-15,000||-207%|
Changes in NIF overall grants 2012-2014
|Grants Authorized to all NGOs||$17,640,096||$16,420,646||$14,714,216|
|Grants Paid to all NGOs||$17,347,108||$17,985,336||$14,334,677|
Core and Donor Advised Grants
Under U.S. tax law, all grants, even those designated “donor advised,” are within the sole discretion and require approval of the NIF Board of Directors. No “donor advised” funds may be distributed to any grantee without NIF board review. Therefore, NIF has full responsibility – morally, legally, and financially – for all grants, even those it calls “donor advised.”
According to NIF: “For Core Grants, the data below represents the amount authorized for the reporting year. For reasons connected to the schedule of our grant payments, this figure may differ from the amount paid to a grantee in the reporting year…For Donor Advised Grants, the data below represents the amount paid in the reporting year.”
|NGO||Core Grant||Donor Advised|
|Breaking the Silence||$14,000||$71,282|
|Combatants for Peace||-----||$5,000|
|Human Rights Defenders Fund||$5,000||$101,300|
|Machsom Watch (Women's Fund for Human Rights)||$20,000||$45,945|
|Negev Coexistence Forum||$43,500||$20,869|
|Nine Seven Two (+972) Magazine||-----||$39,364|
|Public Committee Against Torture in Israel||----||$5,015|
|Physicians for Human Rights||$18,100||$202,887|
|Rabbis for Human Rights||$63,500||$134,603|
|Parents Circle Families Forum||-----||$3,307|
|Solidarity Sheikh Jarrah||-----||----|