JERUSALEM – Following the “Wikileaks” publication of a U.S. government cable quoting a senior New Israel Fund (NIF) official who declared “the disappearance of a Jewish state would not be [a] tragedy,” NIF’s response sought to divert attention from its massive credibility gap, noted the Jerusalem-based human rights watchdog NGO Monitor. As in their responses to previous embarrassing revelations, NIF included a highly distorted paraphrase and crude personal attack against NGO Monitor founder, Professor Gerald Steinberg.
“NIF claims that the statements made by Radanovitz were not consistent with the organization’s principles, but, in fact, anyone familiar with NIF’s agenda and funding for groups such as Adalah, Mossawa, Mada al-Carmel, Coalition of Women for Peace, and others recognizes the anti-Zionist rhetoric and campaigns,” said Prof. Steinberg.
“As the now discredited Goldstone Report demonstrates, the NIF and its numerous subsidiaries, which also receive huge secret funding from European governments, have completely dismembered and hijacked the moral foundations of universal human rights and international law,” said Prof. Steinberg. “The cynical politicization and distortion of human rights is also inconsistent with democratic principles. The Knesset legislation that requires transparency for foreign government funding of NGOs is a necessary correction to this undemocratic manipulation.”
“This case illustrates the impact of NIF’s extreme secrecy,” continued Steinberg, “Radanovitz has now left NIF, but her views were well known when she was hired. Why are people with such views repeatedly hired by NIF? Who is now in charge of funding decisions that impact directly on the lives of millions of Israelis? Why are board meetings and important decision making processes conducted in total secrecy, in direct violation of the democratic principles that NIF claims to support?”
NGO Monitor notes that with an annual budget of over $31 million, the absence of accountability, checks and balances, and transparency in NIF funding continues to cause damage. While NIF belatedly accepted the language, if not the substance of NGO Monitor’s guidelines that would end funding for groups that seek to delegitimize Israel as the sovereign state of the Jewish nation, they have yet to create the proposed implementation and transparency structures.