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New Israel Fund

Profile

Country/TerritoryUnited States

Activity

  • 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.

Finances

  • 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.

Grantmaking

  • 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 AdalahBreaking 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:

BDS

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

Gaza War 2014

Partial List of NIF Authorized Grants 2011-2016 (Amounts in US Dollars)

NGO201120122013201420152016
Total2,219,7412,601,6042,370,0762,672,0412,597,5852,768,046
Adalah204,275356,91170,948201,022101,17067,871
Baladna25,00025,00025,00025,000--
B'Tselem103,419333,828107,048276,271252,208360,659
Bimkom338,340168,500248,000177,000295,000340,500
Breaking the Silence120,94785,11583,993138,882104,304438,766
Combatants for Peace---5,00020,24322,862
Emek Shave---40040,35020,350
Gisha56,16530,80822,77144,49129,1506,687
HaMoked101,481175,25014,80031,40037,4501,300
Haqel: Jews and Arabs in Defense of Human Rights-----78,375
Human Rights Defenders Fund224,34032,36575,92091,300199,000217,695
Social TV37,40025,00039,0004,000-2,000
Ir Amim89,058279,23595,131146,978105,587180,498
Kerem Navot-----40,902
Machsom Watch (Womens Fund for Human Rights)28,78132,270118,78869,968243,53587,077
Molad-435,000736,000616,000417,694101,196
Mossawa248,525180,050191,477200,00094,07540,250
Negev Coexistence Forum39,46645,53249,33969,86149,88861,672
Nine Seven Two10,00084,38931,37854,12038,11717,332
Public Committee against Torture in Israel28,00066,5821,6705,01541,64336,000
Physicians for Human Rights161,864166,46471,380185,26291,679102,906
Rabbis for Human Rights328,92727,114295,493243,464296,420107,648
Parents Circle: Bereaved Parents0014,2252,80716,9024,927
Re'ut Sadaka24,2037,91013,69127,56438,4306,844
SISO- Stop the Israeli Occupation-----120,100
Solidarity Sheikh Jarah-7,91013,961-15000--
Terrestrial Jerusalem---20,00010,000-
Yesh Din49,55036,37150,06351,23674,750121,871
Zazim-----182,013

Appendix 1

Table 1: Overview of NIF Finances 2013-2016

Year2013201420152016
Total Expenses*32,228,84931,057,80430,976,64030,785,908
Total Revenue*28,400,18929,773,90333,062,78328,139,397
Grants Authorized*16,420,64614,714,21613,851,61413,541,427
Grants Paid*17,985,33614,334,67714,519,75913,582,492
Donor Advised Grants**14,276,64210,370,98210,763,898

*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.

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