Attempt to Silence Debate Ignores Substance

In its advertisement in the Jerusalem Post (May 24, 2010, A2), the New Israel Fund (NIF) fails to refute any of NGO Monitor’s detailed research, implicitly acknowledging that NIF funds groups engaged in delegitimization, NGO Monitor noted today.

“The smears, distorted allegations, and personal attacks are the opposite of the democratic values that NIF claims to champion,” said NGO Monitor President Gerald Steinberg. “The eagerness to dismiss legitimate criticism is more a reflection of the NIF’s agenda and fear of debate than on the substance of our well-sourced claims. While wrapping themselves in the façade of democracy’s defenders, NIF officials are exploiting these principles.”

NIF’s central allegation, “NGO Monitor is a mouthpiece for the extreme right,” is baseless. And there is no evidence to support NIF’s coarse accusations that NGO Monitor “distorts the facts,” equates criticism (legitimate or otherwise) with “sedition,” or denies “Israel’s obligations to comply with international law.”

“These ‘strawman arguments’ have nothing to do with NGO Monitor’s work. They are an attempt to distract from the important questions regarding NIF’s impact, and to silence debate on the ‘red lines’ separating legitimate criticism from false claims and demonization,” Steinberg said.

“Instead of attacks on NGO Monitor, NIF needs to reconsider its support for groups that campaign to erase Israel’s Jewish framework, promote anti-Israel boycotts, aid Goldstone and UN demonization, help prosecute Israeli officials abroad, and equate Israel with ‘Russia, China, Sudan, and other authoritarian regimes.’ These are the real ‘attacks on Israel’s democratic foundations.’”