Click here to read original article [Hebrew]

[Translated by NGO Monitor]

The New Israel Fund may be donating less money per year, but anti-Israel organizations are actually getting more support than they used to. This cannot continue.

The campaign against the New Israel Fund (NIF) and the money it channels to organizations rejecting Israel’s existence as a Jewish state, or encouraging boycotts against Israel or filing lawsuits against its soldiers and officers (or all of the above) – started in this newspaper, in these pages. I was responsible for the first article on this subject, based on data collected by the “Im Tirzu” movement, headed by Ronen Shoval. A long time has passed since then. During this time I had a chance to do a lot of thinking.

The New Israel Fund is involved in a wide range of social activities in Israel. A major part of this is praiseworthy, also and especially when it is about encouraging the fragile co-existence between Jewish and Arabs in this country. There were moments when I feared that the campaign against the NIF exceeded the limits of good taste (and indeed it exceeded), there were situations when I thought that red lines were crossed (like the establishment of the ridiculous inquiry committee that was supposed to investigate the NIF and other organizations).

A year ago, after heavy public pressure and a praiseworthy journalistic work (mainly by my colleague Ben-Dror Yemini), it appeared that it finally dawned on them, and the NIF understood that they had crossed a red line. The NIF announced that from now on their transparency will increase, and it published guidelines for future grants. According to these guidelines, organizations that “deny the right of the Jewish people to sovereign self-determination within Israel” will not be supported. It noted explicitly its opposition to encouraging boycotts against Israel and aiding foreign organizations in pursuing and indicting Israeli soldiers and officers.

Apparently, there was a happy ending. An example of media exposure and public pressure that had good results. In reality, not so much. NGO Monitor, an organization tracking the activity of organizations like the NIF, published a new report based on NIF data and financials. Ronen Shovel from ‘Im Tirzu” drew my attention to the numbers, which passed beneath the media radar. Pay attention: NIF authorized grants worth $16.4 million in 2010. A decrease of 17% relative to 2009, (when approximately $20 million was authorized). In conjunction with the grants decrease, there was a noticeable increase of more than 40% of funding to highly politicized groups involved in the Israeli-Arab conflict (almost all from the left wing). Its means that the NIF donates less the before, but more, much more, of its total grants is being given to controversial organizations.

When taking a closer look at the data, the picture becomes much more problematic. Here are a few examples: Adalah received $55,400 in 2009, whereas in 2010 the grants jumped to $476,000, a 759% increase: For who don’t know, Adalah is an organization whose constitution calls for replacing the Jewish state with a democratic, bilingual and multicultural framework and for a redefinition of the symbols of the state, and restricting Jewish immigration solely for “humanitarian reasons.” One can fill the newspaper with Adalah’s iniquities, including aiding persecution of Israeli officers abroad, lobbying for pressure on Israel, calling for boycotting it, and more. The organization Mada al-Carmel, which did not receive any grants in 2009, received $100,000 in 2010 from the NIF, and this organization makes Adalah look pro-Israel in comparison.

Coalition of Women for Peace, another organization that invests an endless amount of energy in encouraging the persecution and boycotting of Israel, the implementation of the “Apartheid State” rhetoric in as many places as possible around the world, received from the NIF less than $9,000 in 2009, whereas in 2010 it received more than $20,000. And there are a lot of other examples.

In short, the New Israel Fund speaks high but acts low, maybe even very low. This proves, at least to me, that the campaign against the NIF was justified and proper, and that NIF officials are far from internalizing what the Israeli public tried to tell them. You’re allowed to think whatever you want, it is possible and important to encourage co-existence, it’s permitted and desirable to support negotiations, peace, a Palestinian state and the increasing of understanding and talks between the two sides, but when you run a campaign that denies Israel’s right to exist as the Jewish state, and when you cooperate with the different boycott initiatives around the world, and when you sic international tribunals on IDF soldiers and officers, the line is crossed, and it’s a shame.