Rachel Liel
Executive Director
NIF – Israel

Dear Ms. Liel,

The version of our conversation on Wednesday reported in NIF’s press release entirely distorts and misrepresents the facts. In addition, the continued uncivil attacks on me and on NGO Monitor’s fully documented research, and the attempts to silence documented analyses of NIF’s political funding and activities, are the antithesis of the progressive and liberal values you claim to support.

Our conversation followed my presentation on BDS, including CWP’s central role in the immoral delegitimization campaign against Israel. You then claimed that that the NIF no longer directly funds the CWP. I asked you why this information on CWP and on NIF’s grants to other such groups since 2009 have not been made public, and you did not respond. As we all know, many people say things in private and in public, and they often believe these claims to be true, but this does not constitute reliable information, particularly in the political realm. I asked you to confirm that NIF had told CWP to remove all references to providing indirect funding via NIF’s tax-exempt status, and again you did not answer. Perhaps you do not know, but you can easily determine this and include this information in verifiable public documents.

As a professional research organization, NGO Monitor reports are strictly based on verifiable data, and NIF grant information, which is incomplete and inconsistent, listed CWP as having received almost $300,000 in recent years. (NIF belatedly acknowledges that this decision to fund a major BDS group caused irreversible damage, to understate the case.) In addition to this grant, CWP’s website continues to state that NIF accepts tax-exempt donations in the U.S., UK, and Switzerland on their behalf and on behalf of the “Who profits?” project.

Assuming that you and other NIF officials now realize that your support for CWP and other BDS groups was a major error, and have indeed ended such funding, why has your organization not published its grant information for 2010 and 2011, and demonstrated publicly and clearly that all NIF funding — direct and indirect — for CWP and other groups actively promoting BDS has ended? Certainly, if this policy change has now taken place, and NIF denounces CWP’s activities, you and others at NIF should make this public. I can assure you that NGO Monitor will update our reports and inform our readers once the current grant information is available. 

I would also urge you and NIF to practice the civility that you preach, and end the mudslinging and vicious attacks against critics on your “enemies list”. (The attack in the NIF press statement misquotes from a conversation that we had in an off the record meeting – another ethical breach.)

Finally, I reiterate my suggestion that we meet to discuss our different views of these very important issues. Perhaps we will be able to overcome these differences, and to cooperate constructively on the basis of shared Jewish and Zionist values. I look forward to this discussion, when you are ready to participate.

Shabbat shalom

Prof. Gerald M. Steinberg
President, www.ngo-monitor.org
Jerusalem, Israel