Re “U.S.-based charity assailed in Israel,” Feb. 8

The Times’ presentation of the debate in Israel over the New Israel Fund’s support of NGOs that contributed to the Goldstone report repeats the narrative offered by the fund and its supporters.

The fund and its partner NGOs are powerful and wealthy organizations. Its grantees appear frequently in the Israeli media and in Knesset hearings, and wield major influence in the Israeli Supreme Court. These groups function more like an unelected radical opposition than representatives of "civil society." Some join with Palestinians in making false accusations of racism, and promote divestment and sanction campaigns against Israel.

The fund’s donors and the Israeli public have a right to know how their money is being used. It should engage its critics. There is room in Israeli democracy for a nuanced conversation about the role of funding for "civil society" organizations. Those who wave the banner of human rights should be leading, not avoiding, the discussion.