- Since its founding in 1979, as a political framework following the 1977 Israeli elections that brought Likud to power, the New Israel Fund (NIF) has provided over $300 million to more than 900 Israeli organizations. NIF is headquartered in New York, and maintains offices throughout the U.S. as well as in Canada, the UK, Switzerland, Australia, and Germany.
- 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.”
- 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.
- 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.
- In 2019, total income was $33.4 million; total expenses were $34.9 million. (See table below for further information regarding NIF’s funding.)
- According to its 2019 Annual Report, donors include Foundation for Middle East Peace, Moriah Fund, and Kathleen Peratis (co-chair of the Advisory Committee of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa Division.)
- Total authorized grants to all NGOs were approximately 17 million in 2019. (See Appendix 1)
- Although NIF grants are for organizations based in Israel, the organization is not registered with the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits.
- Approximately 10% of grants go to 32 advocacy NGOs active in political campaigns that involve, to different degrees, demonization of Israel, including BDS and lawfare, under the headings of “Human Rights and Democracy;” “Religious Freedom;” “Social & Economic Justice;” “Palestinian Citizens of Israel;” “New Initiatives for Democracy;” and “Shared Society and Combating Racism.”
- 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.”
NIF-Funded organizations are involved in:
- In December 2019, Adalah applauded the decision of ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to launch an investigation against Israel stating that “the ICC prosecutor has made the right decision given the facts. No other decision could have been possible. We welcome her position, and we believe that the ICC has full jurisdiction to decide on the concerned criminal cases.”
- In March 2020, B’Tselem stated that “The ICC can – and must – investigate the situation in Palestine.” According to an email, “Israel may finally have to start considering the price for its crimes against the Palestinians. We hope the court will make the right decision to back the Prosecutor’s position and rule: there is jurisdiction, and there will be an investigation.” B’Tselem also published a press release and position paper that accused Israel of using the Holocaust to justify its policies vis-a-via the Palestinians, “the very values that the ICC is meant to safeguard – the values that the world has been trying to promote since the end of World War II, in response to the unspeakable atrocities committed during that dark chapter in history. With shameless cynicism, Israel is trying to use these very horrors to justify continued oppression, land grab and killings at its own hands.”
- In a January 30, 2020 statement, Yesh Din alleged, “the State of Israel is unable or unwilling to take resolute action in keeping with its legal duties to eradicate violence and harm to Palestinians and their property…For this reason, we believe that the international community, which shares in the responsibility for protecting the rights of Palestinians living under occupation, has an obligation to intervene and take action.” (emphases added)
- In July 2019, Adalah, Breaking the Silence, B’Tselem, Gisha, Physicians for Human Rights – Israel (PHR-I), HaMoked, and Yesh Din were signatories on a statement calling on the German Bundestag to revoke its joint resolution defining BDS campaigns against Israel as antisemitic.
- In December 2018, Kerem Navot, in cooperation with Human Rights Watch, published a report titled “Bed and Breakfast on Stolen Land: Tourist Rental Listings in West Bank Settlements” that was the culmination of a two-year long coordinated and well-financed BDS campaign targeting Airbnb (and Booking.com). The report contained numerous false claims regarding the legal and human rights responsibility of Airbnb in allowing Israelis from the West Bank to list their properties, as well as questionable methodology.
- On May 15, 2018, Adalah and other Palestinian and American NGOs sent a letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to “Investigate Israel’s Use of Lethal Force in Gaza.” The letter accused Israel of using American weapons against Palestinian demonstrators and called to “halt any further assistance to all Israeli military units involved in these shootings.”
- In June 2017, NIF grantees Adalah, B’Tselem, and Gisha participated in the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP) forum to “mark fifty years of Israeli occupation” which featured calls for BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions), antisemitic rhetoric, and demonization campaigns against Israel’s existence.
- In February 2015, Ehud Shem Tov, the founder and editor-in-chief of Social TV, signed a petition calling on the European Union to increase pressure on Israel by “label[ing] settlement products” and imposing additional sanctions.
- 972 Magazine contributors regularly endorse BDS, including justifying it, interviewing radical BDS figure Omar Barghouti, and supporting a number of BDS campaigns.
Demonization of Israel
- In March 2013, Adalah launched a “Discriminatory Laws in Israel” database 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Gaza War 2014
- As with the Goldstone process, a number of NIF-funded NGOs were active in repeating unsupported allegations of “deliberate, systematic, and widespread targeting of Palestinian civilians”; “war crimes and crimes against humanity”; “grave violations of international humanitarian law,” and similar claims regarding the 2014 Gaza war, as well as claiming that internal Israeli investigations fail to meet international standards. Such allegations are central in efforts to justify international intervention, including ICC prosecutions and unprofessional UN reports.
- On July 21, 2014, 10 NIF-funded NGOs, including Adalah, Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), B’Tselem, Gisha, Hamoked, Machsom Watch, Physicians for Human Rights- Israel (PHR-I), Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI), Rabbis for Human Rights, and Yesh Din, sent a public letter to Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein alleging “serious concern of severe violations of international humanitarian law, and specifically the laws of war…at the level of offensive policy and the rules of engagement.”
- On January 21, 2015, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I) published “Gaza, 2014: Findings of an independent medical fact-finding mission,” alleging Israeli violations of human rights and international legal norms during the 2014 Gaza War. As stated in the report, PHR-I “Believes that the prima facie evidence collected and presented in this Report should be used for the purposes of legal determination of violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, whether through local or international justice mechanism.” (See here for NGO Monitor’s report, “Physicians for Human Rights Israel Gaza Mission: No Independence, No Facts, No Evidence”)
- On January 28, 2015, B’Tselem published “Black Flag: The legal and moral implication of the policy of attacking residential buildings in the Gaza Strip, summer 2014,” alleging that there was a “black flag of illegality flying over” Israeli military tactics during the 2014 Gaza War. B’Tselem also demonized Israel with a series of publications during the war that repeated false or distorted factual and legal allegations. (See here for NGO Monitor’s report, “Emotion, Not Law: A Critical Reading of B’Tselem’s ‘Black Flag’ Report”)
- Adalah submitted a report to the UN Commission of Inquiry claiming that “Israel’s investigations into its 2014 Operation Protective Edge fall far short of the international standards of independence, impartiality, effectiveness, promptness and transparency.”
- In an October 2014 submission to the UN Human Rights Committee, Israeli NGO Yesh Din alleged that the “Israeli military investigation system is marred by structural failures that render it incapable of conducting serious investigations into offenses committed by soldiers against Palestinians.”
Partial List of NIF Authorized Grants 2012-2019 (Amounts in US Dollars)
|Breaking the Silence||629,926||510,942||359,219||438,766||104,304||138,882||83,993
|Combatants for Peace||37,636||25,449||21,180||22,862||20,243||5,000||-
|Gisha: Legal Center for the Protection of Freedom of Movement||97,790||82,516||37,803||6,687||29,150||44,491||22,771
|HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual||78,189||104,119||83,375||1,300||37,450||31,400||14,800
|Haqel: Jews and Arabs in Defense of Human Rights||305||60,590||140,972||78,375||-||-||-
|Human Rights Defenders Fund (HRDF)||200,550||116,892||175,984||21,7695||199,000||91,300||75,920
|Molad: The Center for the Renewal of Democracy||25,000||47,206||68,857||101,196||417,694||61,6000||736,000
|Kerem Navot (Naboth's Vineyard)||5,000||5,000||12,610||40,902||-||-||-
|Negev Coexistence Forum||59,766||82,000||73,406||61,672||49,888||69,861||49,339
|Nine Seven Two: Advancement of Citizen Journalism||313,219||151,540||127,531||17,332||38,117||54,120||31,378
|Parents' Circle: Bereaved Parents||2,666||13,456||73,406||4,972||16,902||2,807||14,225
|Physicians for Human Rights - Israel||274,997||317,174||86,894||102,906||91,679||185,262||71,380
|Rabbis for Human Rights||43,985||37,120||42,775||107,648||296,420||243,464||295,493
|Reut Sadaka Jewish-Arab Youth Movement||4,050||4,049||11,050||6,844||38,430||27,564||13,691
|SISO - Save Israel. Stop the Occupation.||-||-||101,242||120,100||-||-||-
|The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel||45,800||35,550||38,450||36,000||41,643||5,015||1,670
|Women's Fund for Human Rights (Machsom Watch)||117,171||112,234||129,397||87,077||243,535||69,968||118,788
|Zazim - Community Action||327,793||190,948||314,022||182,013||-||-||-
Table 1: Overview of NIF Finances 2015-2019 (Amounts in US Dollars)
All Articles about New Israel Fund
- Opinion: Who are B'Tselem and Breaking the Silence Serving? Gadi Taub, Ha'aretz, May 13, 2017
- New Israel Fund Supports Organization that Calls Israeli Heroes Murderes Ronn Torossian, The Algemeiner, July 18, 2016
- New Israel Fund Awards Breaking the Silence an Alternative Prize Or Kashti, Haaretz, June 29, 2016
- The United Nations & The New Israel Fund Has Israel´s Blood on its Hands´ Jewish Business News, June 24, 2015
- Analysis: For the New Israel Fund, Change Must Come From Within Aaron Kalman, The Tower, November 30, 2015