(photo credit: Courtesy)
The New Israel Fund on Sunday denied speculation it would cease giving money to
the Mossawa Center and Adalah, saying it stood firmly behind its commitment to
provide financial aid to the controversial Israeli-Arab human rights
“Recent reports about a change in NIF policy are mistaken
and result from a misunderstanding over this complex issue,” Itzik Shanan, the
NIF’s director of communications, told The Jerusalem Post.
“The NIF shall
continue to support – as it has done in the past – important organizations
protecting the rights of the State of Israel’s Arab citizens, such as Adalah and
Mossawa.... [T]he NIF has never acted as though it were the thought police, and
it never will,” he said.
Speculation regarding the possibility that the
NIF would sever its ties with its two grantees began last Thursday when new NIF
director Daniel Sokatch told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in an
interview that it would not support groups lobbying for Israel to cease being a
“If we had an organization that made part of its
project, part of its mission, an effort to really genuinely organize on behalf
of creating a constitution that denied Israel as a sovereign vehicle for
self-determination for the Jewish people, a Jewish homeland, if that became the
focus of one of our organizations, we would not support that organization,” he
was quoted as saying by JTA.
Sokatch’s quote seemed to imply that his
organization would severe ties with Adalah and Mossawa, which in 2007 co-wrote a
manifesto calling for Israel to abandon its definition as a Jewish state in
favor of a binational one.
Back in 2007 the NIF rejected criticism that
funding the groups helped undermine Israel’s Jewish character. In an oped in
this newspaper, NIF officials said that while they disagreed with the so-called
New Vision document calling for Israel to become binational, they believed that
supporting groups like Mossawa Center and Adalah helped create dialogue and made
Israeli society more egalitarian.
Some NIF critics jumped the gun and
congratulated it for cutting its ties with the Israeli-Arab groups.
leadership is taking an important step by agreeing to adopt the substance of NGO
Monitor’s ethical guidelines for funding political NGOs,” said Prof. Gerald
Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor, in a press release last week.
new guidelines have the potential to end funding for groups that call
question the idea of Israel as a Jewish state. With these new
will need to reevaluate funding for Adalah, Mada al-Carmel, Mossawa, the
Coalition of Women for Peace, PHR-I, and other groups with similar
NIF added that on its website Monday, for the first time, it will
release specific guidelines defining who is eligible to receive its