New Israel Fund Provided Funding to Help Launch BDS

June 28, 2015

3 min read

Ronn Torossian

The New Israel Fund has justly been criticized in Israel and the U.S. for its contribution to the campaign to delegitimize Israel and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), and for funding numerous organizations that support the foundations of boycotts against Israel, and BDS itself. The New Israel Fund’s English website clearly notes they boycott Israel, stating “Since NIF also opposes the occupation … it will not exclude support for organizations that discourage the purchase of goods or use of services from settlements.”

It has been said that those who stand with New Israel Fund stand against Israel, and with increasing evidence this statement has proven ever so true.

The involvement of NIF-funded organizations such as B’Tselem and Adalah, and their activists is evident in the international boycott campaign against Israel, specifically the Palestinian BDS movement founded by Omar Barghouti, who Adalah promoted as a highlighted speaker at a New York rally.

BDS is a weapon against Israel. It uses international social organizations to help build its case for boycotts and therefore,delegitimize Israel’s right to exist. Following Operation Cast Lead in January 2009, extremist Israeli organizations called for boycotts against Israel, and among the most active among them are NIF-funded organizations.

While the NIF claims on its website that they do not “support activities that promote an international boycott against Israel and does not support organizations that operate programs in that field,” its actions belie that point.  In addition to being one of the most vocal opponents this past April in the legal challenge in the Israeli Supreme Court against Israel’s 2011 Boycott Law, it funds groups that have definitively contributed to “activities that promote an international boycott against Israel.” NIF grantees Adalah and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel also petitioned against the law in the High Court of Justice.  Although they lost that case, and the law still stands, NIF supported organizations involvement fighting for BDS must not be overlooked.

B’Tselem uses NIF funds to create chaotic situations while recording IDF soldiers’ reactions and then distributes edited videos to news services that show a skewed Israeli reaction. In addition, it worked to organize a boycott by European artistsearlier this year.  NIF also funds Breaking the Silence, which contributed to the original Goldstone report, which was debunked, and more recently provided a scathing and skewed report against Israel for the 2014 Protective Edge. These actions have created additional hostility toward Israel.

NIF-funded organizations do not back down and have the NIF standing strong behind them. In the newly released United Nations report on its investigation into Protective Shield, eight New Israel Funded NGO’s were identified 115 times as having provided information suggesting Israel violated international laws and committed crimes against Palestinians.

The NIF’s participation involves $30 Million in financial support from the American Jewish community – and while the group itself plays coy with the word boycott, it certainly funds the groups whose actions create an environment where BDS festers.

Participation of NIF-funded organizations in the boycott campaign began when former grantee, Coalition of Women for Peace, launched the Who Profits for the Occupation project in 2007. The project’s website has been very important to those encouraging BDS, and lists target companies in the Who Profits database.

Most recently, the CEO of the French telecom giant Orange, Stephane Richard, announced that he would terminate the company’s ties with Partner Communications, Orange’s affiliate in Israel due to Partner’s operations in Israel. Even though the NIF halted its grants to Coalition of Women for Peace, the four year funding period was critical to getting this measure started and the damage caused by the organization’s global infrastructure of boycott continues to have repercussions to this day.

NIF continues to fund other organizations that support BDS. For example, In February 2015 senior NIF grantee organization officials signed a petition calling on European countries to boycott products from the settlements and to restrict the entry of settlers to their countries, as well as restrict academic cooperation.

The involvement of NIF grantee organizations in the boycott campaign causes tremendous damage to Israel’s status in the international arena and fuels increasing anti-Semitism around the world.  New Israel Fund donors should halt their support immediately. ​

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