PM’s associates decry Drucker ‘double-standard’

Reporter who broke Bibi Tours travel-expenses scandal is unpaid chairman of NIF-funded non-profit organization.

Raviv Drucker 311  (photo credit: Courtesy)
Raviv Drucker 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Sources close to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu questioned on Thursday whether Channel 10 investigative reporter Raviv Drucker employed a “double-standard” in highlighting the organizations that have paid Netanyahu’s travel expenses without saying that a nonprofit organization he chairs is funded by the left-wing New Israel Fund.
Drucker broke the so-called Bibi Tours scandal last month that revealed that Netanyahu flew abroad with his wife, Sara, and stayed at fancy hotels at the expense of organizations and individuals before he became prime minister without receiving approval from the Knesset Ethics Committee.
Drucker confirmed that his non-profit organization, The Movement for Freedom of Information, receives $30,000 a month from the New Israel Fund, whose founding chairman took pride in the fund’s part in bringing down Netanyahu in 1999, the first time he was prime minister.
NIF founding chairman Eliezer Yaari sent a letter to his board the day after then- Labor chairman Ehud Barak defeated Netanyahu in the 1999 election in which he boasted that “it is impossible to see what happened without seeing the clear, courageous fingerprints of NIF and Shatil [the NIF’s operational arm in Israel].”
Netanyahu’s associates said that when Drucker suggested that Netanyahu was tainted by receiving funds from organizations and individuals with an agenda, he should have revealed that his NGO also receives funds from an organization with an agenda.
A spokesman for Netanyahu declined to comment, beyond saying, “The question of whether there is a double-standard in the fact that he receives money for his NGO from organizations like the New Israel Fund that have an agenda has to be directed to Mr. Drucker and not to us.”
Drucker responded that he receives no salary from the NGO that he chairs voluntarily, and that he saw no problem with receiving funds from the New Israel Fund.
“My NPO [non-profit organization] receives $30,000 a month from the NIF like many organizations do,” Drucker said. “I don’t know of a partisan agenda on their part. They supported the NPO when it was working against the Sharon and Olmert administrations and I am sure Netanyahu was happy about that.”
An NIF spokesman released a statement saying that “the New Israel Fund is proud to support the The Movement for Freedom of Information, transparency, and democracy in Israel. In accordance with the fund’s policies, which are on its website, the fund supports and will continue to support many socioeconomic organizations that that stand up for democracy and transparency in Israel.”
Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely expressed concern with journalists such as Drucker accepting funding from NIF.
“Of course, no journalist is completely objective, but it is still very problematic when any journalist receives funding from an organization with such a clear political agenda as the NIF, which functions as a well-oiled propaganda machine,” Hotovely said.
Rebecca Anna Stoil contributed to this report.