NIF Adopts Guidelines Recommended by NGO Monitor

Jerusalem – As part of the continuing revisions of their funding practices, the New Israel Fund (NIF) has released new guidelines stating that the foundation “will not fund global BDS activities against Israel nor support organizations that have global BDS programs,” notes NGO Monitor, a Jerusalem-based research institution.  On December 13, NIF’s website was changed to also state that the foundation “opposes the global BDS movement, views the use of these tactics as ineffective and counterproductive and is concerned that segments of this movement seek to undermine the existence of the state of Israel.”

NGO Monitor notes that NIF now recognizes that the goal of the BDS movement is to de-legitimize Israel’s right to exist. This moral stance was absent from previous NIF policy on this critical issue.

“NIF leadership is continuing to move in the right direction by reevaluating funding for groups that promote and contribute to boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaigns against Israel,” says Professor Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor. “This change is a major component of NGO Monitor’s ethical guidelines for funding political NGOs, and these new guidelines should end funding for groups such as the Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP), a key player in the BDS movement, and four additional groups – Israel Social TV, Mossawa, Machsom Watch, Women against Violence – that successfully pressed the Norwegian Pension Fund to divest from Israeli firms in 2009.”

In research reports and a November 30 op-ed, NGO Monitor noted that CWP has received significant grants from NIF since 2006. CWP runs the “Who Profits?” divestment website. The project was “initiated in response to the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) on Israel” and is used by BDS activists around the world to identify corporations to target with anti-Israel divestment. Who Profits continues to receive tax-deductible donations through NIF’s offices in the US, UK, and Switzerland.

“NIF now needs to implement these important new guidelines,” Steinberg adds. “Despite NIF’s new policy, CWP’s and Who Profits’ websites still provide links for donations via NIF.  These links should be removed immediately. We also expect NIF to clarify how and when the new grant guidelines will be enforced, and we are prepared to work with NIF and its donors in their implementation. As NIF severs ties with groups that promote BDS, it is on the same page as NGO Monitor.”