1. NIF Canada reply to NGO Monitor report on Adalah

2. NGO Monitor response to NIF Canada


To read NGO Monitor’s report "Adalah: Abusing "Civil Rights" to Delegitimize Israel", click here.

1. NIF Canada reply to NGO Monitor report on Adalah 

July 18 2008

Attached is a single-page document summarizing NIF’s support of Adalah. We have consulted our NIF colleagues to make sure that this is a fair representation. We have also made a decision to stay positive and avoid ‘getting in the mud’ with both the style and questionable assertions of our detractors.
I hope that these kinds of questions engender sophisticated discussion about the status of Israel’s Arab citizens and the complex challenge of Israel’s development as a democracy and the homeland of the Jewish people. As you well know, these are not easy questions but we ignore them at our peril.
In addition, we also want the focus on the future. For example, our concern is in helping assure that future Durbans deal with the real issue so of human rights abuses (including anti-Semitism) are addressed in realistic and proportionate terms. To that end, for example, we are signees of the Magenta Statement of Principles regarding the proposed 2009 Third World Conference against Racism, Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance (WCAR). You can read about this more at http://www.ajc.org/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=ijITI2PHKoG&b=849241&ct=5296433
I hope that the attached explains NIF’s rationale to your satisfaction. Of course, should you have any more questions and concerns, please do not hesitate to call.
Shabbat Shalom,
Jay Yair Brodbar, Ph.D.
Executive Director
New Israel Fund of Canada
801 Eglinton Ave. West, Suite 401
Toronto, ON M5N 1E3
T: 416 781 4322  F: 416 781 7443
NIFC works with its partner NIF to strengthen Israel’s democracy, promoting freedom, justice and equality for all Israel’s citizens. NIF operates programmes and supports charities that safeguard civil and human rights, bridge social and economic gaps, and foster tolerance and religious pluralism.  NIF’s operative arm, SHATIL (seedling in Hebrew) provides capacity-building to a wide range of social organizations, reaching out to communities on the economic and geographic periphery, developing their leadership, facilitating coalitions and empowering the underprivileged with the tools to improve their lives and communities. 

Charitable Tax# 13007 0626 RR0001(The New Israel Fund Canadian Charitable Trust)

2. NGO Monitor response to NIF Canada

Thank you for your inquiry regarding the relationship between NIF and Adalah. While New Israel Fund of Canada does not fund Adalah, we are part of the New Israel Fund family which does fund Adalah.

It is important to recognize that any and all grantees of NIF adhere to Israel’s democratic and judicial rulings, which are consonant with its democracy. NIF has not, does not, and will not support any grantees whose activities render them illegal under Israeli law. Indeed, there are parties in the Knesset (not only Arab) that share many of the values that are attributed to Adalah.

NIF funds Adalah because they are the most successful Israeli NGO dealing with the issues of civil rights for Israel’s Arab minority. Adalah successfully partners with ACRI, Bimkom, and other NIF grantees on some of Israel’s most important issues; their approach on the ground is mainstream, important and wholly consistent with human rights objectives in a democracy. They are viewed as having a high degree of professionalism and have the participation of some of the leading Israeli-Arab jurists. Their activities mirror those of organizations in other democratic states, including Canada. The existence of such parties and their right to express dissident views is inherent to a true democracy. We are mindful of Israel’s grave security issues, but we are confident in Israel’s institutions, such as the Supreme Court, to balance the needs of democracy and security.

While NIF does not agree with many of Adalah’s proposals, it is important to realize that the proposals themselves are legitimate topics of debate among scholars, legal experts and political scientists worldwide. Many of the issues at the core of Adalah’s concerns such as collective minority rights and discrimination based on ethnicity are hallmarks in the development of viable democracies.

As an organization fundamentally committed to the creation and strengthening of Israel’s civil society flourishing young democracy, it is incumbent upon NIF not to dictate the philosophies of its grantees as long as they are within the parameters of Israeli law.

Free and fair debate over Israel’s toughest question has been a core NIF value since its inception. As part of the NIF family, we believe that anything less will not only erode justice in Israel but that honest and open debate, particularly among parties that disagree, is essential for the very survival of Israel as a democracy and homeland of the Jewish people. Working with the emerging Israeli-Arab leadership that is committed to dialogue and democratic principles is also a pragmatic strategy as a bulwark against extreme non-democratic and fundamentalist views gaining power throughout the world.


July 23, 2008

Unfortunately, NIF’s NGO Monitor’s detailed report on Adalah is strong on general language, and short on details. In fact, NIF’s defense has no quotes, no examples, and no evidence — it is all opinion and ideology.

In contrast to NGO Monitor’s carefully researched and fully referenced analysis, including numerous examples from Adalah’s publications which use demonization rhetoric such as "apartheid" and "war crimes, and which promote a one-state solution, meaning the elimination of Israel as a Jewish state, NIF offers vague formulae. They claim that Adalah is one of "most successful Israeli NGOs dealing with the issues of civil rights for Israel’s Arab minority"  — by what criteria is this success measured?  Who decides, and on which grounds? Certainly this is not the view of most of the Israeli public, whose views are expressed at the ballot box and in democratic institutions and who have not found adopted the radical agendas of these political groups.

Similarly, the NIF response claims that "Adalah successfully partners with ACRI, Bimkom, and other NIF grantees on some of Israels most important issues; their approach on the ground is mainstream, important and wholly consistent with human rights objectives in a democracy." In addition to the word "successful" again, the claim that their approach "on the ground" is "mainstream", promotes democracy, etc. also lack a solid foundation. In fact, these are fringe groups who have little to show for all the money that they have received, other than to increase internal division and conflict within Israel. I could continue to analyze the rest of these claims, but would simply repeat the same observations.

The bottom line is that NIF funded NGOs such as Adalah, that abuse the rhetoric of "human rights" to wage political war against Israel, reflect the attempt to impose a North American experience on the very different situation in Israel.

Unfortunately, these negative aspects overshadow many of the NIF-funded organizations that are not involved in politics, and which have positive impacts on Israelis who need assistance. Many of the educational institutions, social welfare frameworks, handicapped assistance programs, and other frameworks supported by NIF are doing good work.

I would hope that NIF contributors such as yourself would press the leaders of this powerful organization to undertake a long-overdue independent analysis of their agendas and the impact of funding for groups such as Adalah, and make the necessary changes. In this process, NGO Monitor would be prepared to assist in the research and evaluation.

Prof. Gerald M. Steinberg                      
Executive Director, www.ngo-monitor.org