The New Israel Fund’s Agenda: Defame Israel, Drag Its Officials before the ICC, and Encourage Support for Hamas among Its Arab Citizens

A self-styled “Zionist” organization committed to “progressive values,” the New Israel Fund (NIF) gives millions of dollars every year to far-left organizations inside the country. In response to the recent disturbances in Gaza, its beneficiaries sprang into action, with B’tselem and Breaking the Silence sending their representatives to slander the IDF on television while another recipient of its largesse, Adalah, participated in promoting a UN resolution condemning Israel for defending itself. Gilad Zwick elaborates:

At the end of the session at the UN where it was decided to investigate Israel, the Adalah lawyer Suhir Asad did not hide her disappointment at Australia for being one of the two countries voting against the resolution—the other being the U.S. Asad also fiercely condemned the representatives of states who dared condemn Hamas and had the temerity to agree that Israel has the right to defend itself. In other words, the Adalah representative does not consider Hamas to be a terrorist organization and thinks Israel does not have the right to exist. . . .

The involvement of the NIF in Israeli affairs does not end with activity abroad. It also supports protests in favor of Hamas by Israeli Arabs. During one such protest in Haifa on Friday, some nineteen people were arrested, including Jafer Farah, the director of the Mousawwa Center. . . . Mousawwa rejects Israel’s right of self-determination and in 2006 its activists published a position paper describing the country’s future as a “state of all its citizens” [rather than a Jewish state], a transformation that would include the changing of the national flag and anthem and the repeal of the Law of Return. . . . In 2014, while meeting with the president of the EU parliament, Farah [falsely] accused Israel of carrying out a “forced transfer” of the Arab population. . . . [T]he NIF gave Mousawwa more than 5 million shekels between 2008 and 2016.

The NIF website notes when it will refuse to support organizations that engage in the “selective advancement of human rights for a particular group at the expense of another group.” This should mean that the agenda of Adalah and other NIF-backed groups who reject Israel’s right to self-defense and consider the lives of Gazans to be worth more than those of Israeli citizens is enough to justify support being ended. In the past, the NIF claimed that it “supports the important legal work of Adalah, but this does not mean we support every statement to the press of position of the organization.” In other words, the NIF gave Adalah millions of shekels but disavows responsibility for the organization’s actions and the enormous harm it does the state of Israel.

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“Israel Will Pay for Its Crimes”: An NIF Organization Pushes for the Formation of a UN Commission of Inquiry

Gilad Zwick

This piece was first published on the Hebrew-language website Mida on May 21, 2018, rendered into English by Avi Woolf, and republished here with permission. The original article can be found by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page.

How the well-oiled machined of the NIF works: while the Adalah representative rejected Israel’s right to defend itself at the UN, Breaking the Silence and B’tselem continue to spread anti-Israel propaganda.

The radical-left NGO Adalah, which is supported to the tune of millions of shekels by the NIF and foreign entities, was a partner in the promotion of the UN resolution to investigate Israel over “war crimes committed in Gaza.”

The decision to open an investigation was adopted last Friday as part of a special session of the UNHRC in Geneva. At the discussion was Adalah representative Suhir Asad, a member of the organization’s legal department. At the end of the discussion, Asad and Adalah published identical messages welcoming the opening of an investigation against the “crimes and violations of Israel in Gaza and the occupied Palestinian territories” (i.e., Judea, Samaria, and eastern Jerusalem).

Asad, a former parliamentary assistant to MK Haneen Zouabi, obviously ignored the public statements of Hamas senior members to the effect that the terror organization’s military wing was involved in the fence riots and that 85 percent of those killed in the latest round of violence were members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

In her statement to the UNHRC, the Adalah representative accused Israel of using “excessive force” against the Gazans, repeating the distorted charge that Israel killed “two journalists” while at least one of them, Yasir Murtaja, was a Hamas member and activist. Asad’s testimony was of course based on medical reports originating in Gaza—which include such accusations [against the IDF] as “using explosive bullets which caused disabilities”—whose credibility is dubious.

At the end of the session at the UN where it was decided to investigate Israel, the Adalah lawyer Suhir Asad did not hide her disappointment at Australia for being one of the two countries voting against the resolution—the other being the U.S. Asad also fiercely condemned the representatives of states who dared condemn Hamas and had the temerity to agree that Israel has the right to defend itself. In other words, the Adalah representative does not consider Hamas to be a terrorist organization and thinks Israel does not have the right to exist.

According to the organization NGO Monitor, between 2008 and 2016 the NIF gave Adalah more than 7.3 million shekels. In the past six years, the organization has also received 15.5 million shekels from foreign entities, especially the EU, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Norway, and Sweden.

 

Anti-Semitic Caricatures and Soros Money

The decision to open an investigation against Israel was adopted with 29 states voting in favor, 14 abstaining, and two—the U.S. and Australia—voting against. The aim of the investigation is to take “punitive steps” against Israelis, including ordinary soldiers who took part in stopping the terror riots in Gaza. The resolution stated that the Israel’s “violations” in Gaza may amount to “war crimes.”

Asad and Adalah were part of a coalition of anti-Israel organizations which took part in the UN discussion with the clear aim of bringing about an investigation against Israel. Among the organizations that also took part were al-Mizan, BADIL, al-Haq, and the Center for Human Rights in Cairo—all radical groups that support the elimination of Israel, some of which also spread poisonous anti-Semitism. These are also supported by foreign entities, and some are backed by the anti-Israel billionaire George Soros’s Open Society Foundation.

Last Thursday, a day before the discussion, Asad made it clear that Adalah was taking part in the discussion in the hope that it would lead to criminal action against the state of Israel and its leaders. “We at Adalah are taking part in the session of the UNHRC in Geneva to push for a decision to open an independent international investigation of the crimes Israel committed in Gaza from March 30 until today,” she told the Nazareth paper Bukra.

Asad added that she demands that the UN open not only an international investigation “but also ensure that the recommendations and investigative results be implemented so that Israel cannot evade prosecution as it did in the past.” In other words, the Adalah representative is hoping for senior Israeli officials to be put on trial for the Gaza events based on international public law, as opposed to what transpired following the previous UN investigations conducted under by Richard Goldstone [in 2009] and by William Schabas [in 2014-15]. Asad in effect [tacitly] agrees with the position of the Israeli leadership that the UN committee’s conclusions are rigged from the start.

 

Breaking the Silence and B’tselem Starring on CNN

Adalah may have been active in advancing an international investigation against Israel, but other NIF-supported radical left groups laid the groundwork and provided a tailwind for the advancement of this dangerous UN initiative. The method: the blackening of Israel’s name around the world and its presentation as a war criminal violating international law.

Breaking the Silence’s director, Avner Gvaryahu, in an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Service, rejected Israel’s right to fire on those trying to cross the border, even if they are Hamas activists. Gvaryahu questioned the statements of Hamas members that most of those killed are members of the organization. According to Gvaryahu, whose words were presented by Amit Dari of [the organization] Reservists on the Front, Israel and Hamas share an interest in claiming that most of those killed were members of the terror group.

Breaking the Silence also made headlines abroad thanks to a defamatory advertisement it published claiming Israel unnecessarily used live fire in Gaza. The ad was translated into English and was widely shared on the Internet. The American network CNN also interviewed B’tselem’s director, Haggai Elad, who claimed that Israel is acting “illegally and immorally” and that “there is no doubt” that the IDF used excessive force to prevent Gazans from crossing the border. Elad once again avoided condemning Hamas terror and even mocked Israel’s claims that the rioters in Gaza were terrorists.

The B’tselem director also skipped over the fact that most of those killed were Hamas members and defended his organization’s call on soldiers to refuse orders, stating that doing so “is the obligation of Israeli soldiers.” He denied that there is a border with Gaza and repeated the distorted claim that Gaza is under siege, paying no mind to the Rafah border connecting it with Egypt. He even claimed that “Israel continues to control everything that goes on in Gaza.”

Another interviewee for American media was Michael Sfard, the legal advisor of the far-left NGO Yesh Din. Sfard, interviewed for Slate, [also proffered the absurd claim] that the Israeli government “does what it wants” in Gaza. According to Sfard, whose organization has signed onto some of the recent appeals against the IDF and its soldiers at Israel’s supreme court, the army is not following international law when using live fire against Gazans trying to cross the fence.

Other NIF-related far-left NGOs were among those who filed a flood of appeals and requests for interim injunctions on the grounds that the rule of engagement [being used by the IDF in dealing with] the rioters in Gaza were “utterly illegal and highly extreme.” These accusations have spread around the world.

Between 2008 and 2016, the NIF gave B’tselem, Breaking the Silence, and Yesh Din over 15.5 million shekels in total.

 

Radicalization of Israeli Arabs

The involvement of the NIF in Israeli affairs does not end with activity abroad. It also supports protests in favor of Hamas by Israeli Arabs. During one such protest in Haifa on Friday, some nineteen people were arrested, including Jafer Farah, the director of the Mousawwa Center. On Monday the court ordered them released. Farah claims that his leg was broken by Israeli police, a matter under internal investigation. Farah was hospitalized at the Bnei Tsiyon hospital in Haifa and, while he was entering the hospital, Ayman Odeh, chairman of the Knesset’s Arab Joint List, condemned the officers present—calling one a “zero” and telling him to “go to hell.”

Mousawwa rejects Israel’s right of self-determination and in 2006 its activists published a position paper describing the country’s future as a “state of all its citizens” [rather than a Jewish state], a transformation that would include the changing of the national flag and anthem and the repeal of the Law of Return. In 2009, they joined a far-left petition calling on a Norwegian pension fund to withdraw its investments in Israel as part of the BDS movement. Eight years ago, they praised the [Turkish] Mavi Marmara flotilla in which terror activists attacked Israeli seamen and condemned Israel’s “crime against the humanitarian peace flotilla to Gaza.” In 2014, while meeting with the president of the EU parliament, Farah [falsely] accused Israel of carrying out a “forced transfer” of the Arab population. He even beseeched the EU to act and influence Israeli policy in the region. A year ago, Farah struck the director of policy of the right-wing NGO Regavim at the Knesset, after the former documented an event showing Farah clashing with and hurling insults at the deputy attorney general. According to NGO Monitor, the NIF gave Mousawwa more than 5 million shekels between 2008 and 2016.

 

The Silence of the Fund

The NIF website notes when it will refuse to support organizations that engage in the “selective advancement of human rights for a particular group at the expense of another group.” This should mean that the agenda of Adalah and other NIF-backed groups who reject Israel’s right to self-defense and consider the lives of Gazans to be worth more than those of Israeli citizens is enough to justify support being ended. In the past, the NIF claimed that it “supports the important legal work of Adalah, but this does not mean we support every statement to the press of position of the organization.” In other words, the NIF gave Adalah millions of shekels but disavows responsibility for the organization’s actions and the enormous harm it does the state of Israel. Adalah’s public attempts to putt Israel on criminal trial also directly clashes with the recent statement of the NIF’s director, Mickey Gitzin, that the NIF is a “Zionist organization.”

Gitzin, interviewed two weeks ago on Israeli television, was quick to add that the NIF is Zionist “if the definition of Zionism is according to the Declaration of Independence.” This is a vague statement to say the least but we now have to wonder whether accusing Israel of war crimes, denying its right to self-defense, and defending Hamas terrorists fits with the Declaration of Independence which the NIF claims to abide by.

A request for a response was sent to the NIF and Adalah and will be published upon receipt.

Adi Ben-Hur aided in the preparation of this article.

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Israel’s Nation-State Law and the Hysteria of the Western Media

Aug. 17 2018

Nearly a month after it was passed by the Knesset, the new Basic Law defining Israel as “the nation-state of the Jewish people” is still causing outrage in the American and European press. The attacks, however, are almost uniformly incommensurate with this largely symbolic law, whose text, in the English translation found on the Knesset website, is barely over 400 words in length. Matthew Continetti comments:

Major journalistic institutions have become so wedded to a pro-Palestinian, anti-Benjamin Netanyahu narrative, in which Israel is part of a global trend toward nationalist authoritarian populism, that they have abdicated any responsibility for presenting the news in a dispassionate and balanced manner. The shameful result of this inflammatory coverage is the normalization of anti-Israel rhetoric and policies and widening divisions between Israel and the diaspora.

For example, a July 18, 2018, article in the Los Angeles Times described the nation-state law as “granting an advantageous status to Jewish-only communities.” But that is false: the bill contained no such language. (An earlier version might have been interpreted in this way, but the provision was removed.) Yet, as I write, the Los Angeles Times has not corrected the piece that contained the error. . . .

Such through-the-looking-glass analysis riddled [the five] news articles and four op-eds the New York Times has published on the matter at the time of this writing. In these pieces, “democracy” is defined as results favored by the New York Times editorial board, and Israel’s national self-understanding as in irrevocable conflict with its democratic form of government. . . .

The truth is that democracy is thriving in Israel. . . .  The New York Times quoted Avi Shilon, a historian at Ben-Gurion University, who said [that] “Mr. Netanyahu and his colleagues are acting like we are still in the battle of 1948, or in a previous era.” Judging by the fallacious, paranoid, fevered, and at times bigoted reaction to the nation-state bill, however, Bibi may have good reason to believe that Israel is still in the battle of 1948, and still defending itself against assaults on the very idea of a Jewish state.

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