- 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 2016, total income was $27.1 million; total expenses were $30.8 million. (See table below for further information regarding NIF’s funding.)
- According to its 2016 Annual Report, donors include the United States (State Department’s Middle East Partnership Initiative), Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Foundation for Middle East Peace, Open Society Foundations, Moriah Fund, Firedoll Foundation, and the A.J. Muste Memorial Institute.
- Total authorized grants to all NGOs were approximately $13.5 million in 2016. (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 20% of grants go to 29 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 Israelis;” 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 2008-2011, the NIF authorized grants worth $48,957 to Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP). On May 15, 2011, NIF issued a statement declaring that “CWP is no longer on the list of approved donor-advised organizations” and that “We have asked CWP to remove our name and funding direction from their website.” CWP is a key player in BDS campaigns worldwide and initiated the “Who Profits” campaign, which identifies targets for anti-Israel BDS campaigns.
- 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.
Campaigns for 50 Years
- The NIF launched a campaign titled “50 Years of Occupation: Time to Take a Stand.” The campaign’s website provides resources, videos, promotes events, and collects donations.
- In June 2017, to mark 50 years of occupation, Gisha launched “50 shades of control” showing an “exhaustive list of aspects of the lives of residents of Gaza still controlled by Israel” including “employ[ing] collective punishment” and “harm[ing] the economy.”
- Breaking the Silence published a book titled Kingdom of Olives and Ash with Harper-Collins “to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, this anthology explores the human cost of the conflict as witnessed by…notable writers…in collaboration with Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence.”
- To mark 50 years since 1967, Physicians for Human Rights –Israel (PHR-I) published “Chronicles of Occupation | 50 to 67,” which provided a “historiography of the Israeli occupation” and described “the occupation’s destructive force on the lives of so many.”
- On February 15, 2017, NIF grantees B’Tselem, Gisha, and PHR-I participated in a Knesset conference on 50 Years of Occupation with the message that “Israel must choose between peace with the Palestinians, and the road to apartheid or war.”
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 2011-2016 (Amounts in US Dollars)
|Breaking the Silence||120,947||85,115||83,993||138,882||104,304||438,766
|Combatants for Peace||-||-||-||5,000||20,243||22,862
|Haqel: Jews and Arabs in Defense of Human Rights||-||-||-||-||-||78,375
|Human Rights Defenders Fund||224,340||32,365||75,920||91,300||199,000||217,695
|Machsom Watch (Womens Fund for Human Rights)||28,781||32,270||118,788||69,968||243,535||87,077
|Negev Coexistence Forum||39,466||45,532||49,339||69,861||49,888||61,672
|Nine Seven Two||10,000||84,389||31,378||54,120||38,117||17,332
|Public Committee against Torture in Israel||28,000||66,582||1,670||5,015||41,643||36,000
|Physicians for Human Rights||161,864||166,464||71,380||185,262||91,679||102,906
|Rabbis for Human Rights||328,927||27,114||295,493||243,464||296,420||107,648
|Parents Circle: Bereaved Parents||0||0||14,225||2,807||16,902||4,927
|SISO- Stop the Israeli Occupation||-||-||-||-||-||120,100
|Solidarity Sheikh Jarah||-||7,910||13,961||-15000||-||-
Table 1: Overview of NIF Finances 2013-2016
|Donor Advised Grants**||14,276,642||10,370,982||10,763,898||
*Data from NIF 2016 Financial Report
**Donor advised grants are a subset listed in the NIF website under “Grants of 2016,” in which individual donors designate the grantees, with the approval of the NIF.
Archive of 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