It is a somber reflection on the naivety of well-intended Jewish philanthropists
that they continue donating vast amounts of money to Israel’s largest NGO, the
New Israel Fund (NIF). They do so despite repeated documented exposures
demonstrating that this body is sponsoring anti-Zionist, pro-Palestinian and
post- Zionist organizations, committed to undermining the Jewish state and
promoting the narrative of the Palestinians as victims and Israelis as
Many of the donors are liberal Jews genuinely committed to
Israel who blindly accept at face value statements from NIF officials who
obfuscate the truth.
Recently, yet another bombshell discrediting this
organization was revealed by Wikileaks. A confidential cable quoted a
conversation between officials at the Tel Aviv US embassy and NIF associate
director Hedva Radanovitz, who until last year controlled the NIF distribution
of grants to 350 NGOs totaling $18 million per annum. She told embassy personnel
that “she believed that in 100 years, Israel would be majority Arab and that the
disappearance of the Jewish state would not be the tragedy that Israelis fear
since it would become more democratic.”
Radanovitz was in fact,
rationalizing why the NIF has and continues to provide millions of dollars to
groups supporting the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state.
response to media coverage of these bizarre remarks, NIF CEO Daniel Sokatch
stated that Radanovitz was at the time “not optimistic about Israeli support for
human rights and democracy” and that her views were not supported by his
He also stressed that she was now no longer employed by the
NIF. However, Sokatch and other NIF leaders failed to explain why many other
senior NIF officers share an ideological view of Israel as a Jewish state which
most Israelis would bitterly oppose.
When communicating to the public,
NIF spokesmen stress that whilst being “a big tent organization” they
unquestionably support Israel as a democratic Jewish state and promote freedom,
justice and equality for all citizens. They purport to be opposed to
anti-Israeli “lawfare” and BDS (boycotts, divestment and sanctions).
continuously dismiss critics as being “extreme right wing” and accuse them of
SINCE ITS inception in 1979, NIF has dispersed more than
$200 million to more than 800 Israeli organizations.
The majority of the
recipients are indeed worthy institutions engaged in social welfare and
developmental projects that all Israelis would endorse.
spokesmen address the public, they speak exclusively of the bona fide social
organizations they fund. They fail to disclose that they are also providing vast
funds to organizations that by no stretch of the imagination could qualify for
inclusion in that category. Even after their recent adamant assurance to the
public and donors that organizations opposed to the existence of Israel as a
Jewish state would no longer be sponsored, last year they still directed over a
quarter of their funding ($4.3 million) to groups engaged in delegitimization
and other forms of anti-Israeli activity.
Here are a few examples of NIF
allotments last year to organizations for political advocacy that are deeply
engaged in anti-Israeli campaigns.
Nearly $500,000 was provided to
Adalah, a group which contributed to and campaigned for the Goldstone report,
urged foreign governments to “reevaluate their relationship with Israel,”
described Israel as “a colonial enterprise promoting apartheid,” called for
implementing the Palestinian right of return to Israel, provided affidavits to
Spanish courts in order to charge Israeli officials with war crimes, and
defended Hizbullah spy Amir Makhoul as a “human rights defender.” It would
surely be difficult to visualize any Zionist or remotely pro-Israeli body
providing funds to an organization committed to such objectives.
al-Carmel, another recipient of NIF funds, engages in anti-Israeli agitation and
openly repudiates the legitimacy of the Jewish state.
NIF continued to
fund the Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP), a leader of the campaign expressly
promoting global “boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.” CWP also
organizes events for Israel apartheid week.
In 2010, NIF tripled the
funding for “Breaking the Silence,” another organization which paved the way for
the Goldstone report by making unsubstantiated claims of war crimes by the IDF.
During the Goldstone committee inquiry “Breaking the Silence,” in conjunction
with B’tselem and other NIF-funded NGOs, accused Israel of war crimes and
provided “evidence” to the Goldstone Commission to substantiate their biased and
The sordidness of these virulently anti-Israeli,
NIF-funded NGOs is heightened by the fact that many are primarily funded by
foreign foundations, in particular European governments, promoting campaigns
against Israel and engaged in bolstering far Left Israeli fringe groups. Tens of
millions of euros are allegedly provided to such groups by overseas governments
suggesting that the are not indigenous to Israeli society. One could not
visualize any European state tolerating such interference in its domestic
affairs by foreign countries or organizations seeking to subvert the
democratically elected government under the cloak of promoting human
INDEED, WITHOUT the perseverance and determined investigative
analysis of Professor Gerald Steinberg of NGO Monitor, the public would be
totally unaware that such vast sums are provided to anti-Israeli
Steinberg has also been instrumental in promoting Knesset
legislation which now requires NGOs to be transparent and disclose their sources
of foreign funding, based on the model of the US Foreign Agent Registration ACT
(FARA). This requirement will enable Israelis to appreciate the extent of
foreign initiatives designed to fund anti-government “political
NIF is a public charity and should thus be obliged to
introduce greater transparency and implement accountability with checks and
balances. Although we are told that Radanovitz is no longer employed by the NIF,
we know nothing about her replacement, or whether the numerous organizations
still promoting the dismemberment of Israel as a Jewish state last year have
been excluded from 2011 grants. NIF should be obliged to publish this
Clearly, in these difficult times there is a
need for drastic change in the personnel managing this organization and an end
to the secrecy under which they operate in order to ensure that funds raised for
the welfare of Israel are not diverted to organizations committed to undermining
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