Funded heavily by the New Israel Fund ($237,980 from 2006-2013), Israel Social TV is an NGO often used as a platform for conveying the anti-Israel ideologies of numerous NIF organizations. It is also used to promote the Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement. Former NIF president, Naomi Chazan, serves on Social TV’s Public Council, along with noted supporter of sanctions against Israel, Noam Chomsky and Michael Sfard, the radical leftist Israeli lawyer who testified for the PLO during a federal trial in New York.
The New Israel Fund is so often – and so regularly – involved in boycotts against Israel it should pose a challenge for donors to New Israel Fund, such as UJA’s president Alisa Doctoroff and New York JCRC board member Karen Adler, who both represent American Jewish groups with Pro Israel philosophies.
Doctor Ilan Pappé, a leading advocate of the BDS movement, which calls for a political, academic and economic boycott of Israel is, unsurprisingly, a frequent lecturer during Israel Apartheid week. Pappé is a political activist whose portrayal of extremist anti-Zionist views, promoting the boycott of Israel, has led to his expulsion from Israel’s academia. Despite the anti-boycott law enacted in Israel, which designates boycott initiatives as civil torts, allowing a boycotted body to sue for compensations from the party initiating the boycott, Ilan Pappé was able to find a privileged podium for his message – the “Social TV” website.
On September 13, 2014, Israel Social TV’s website screened Pappé ‘s lecture “The Role of Israelis in the BDS Movement“, on which he preaches the importance of campaigning against Israel for over an hour, and emphasizes the important role of Israeli Jews in the BDS campaign.
In his lecture Pappé states, “… I believe this helps organize the thinking of Jewish dissidents within the state of Israel… there is a history of Jews here… who thought that the hegemonic ideology is the reason for the continuing conflict, not some policy or other, not the Arab position nor the Palestinian position… I believe the BDS is the first widespread global support for this conception. Here, for the first time, we have an organizing idea that connects anti-Zionist, post-Zionist and non-Zionist thinking… that breaks the mold of the Zionist Left and the Zionist Peace Camp, and organizes intellectual collaboration and even action between this group on the inside and those groups in the territories… among the Palestinians in Israel… among the Palestinian exiles and refugee camps, and of course… in direct connection with the global Palestinian solidarity movement, which is constantly expanding and constantly growing, and it is mainly constantly becoming more organized thanks to this new organizing idea.”
In addition to Pappé’s anti-Israel lecture, Social TV frequently evaluates the BDS campaign in a positive and sympathetic vein, posts information on various BDS initiatives and airs interviews with boycott supporters. Thus, for example, in 2013, Social TV posted a new application entitled ‘BUYCOTT’ on its website, which allows users to identify products made in Israeli settlements in order to refrain from buying them: “An application called BUYCOTT – playing on the words BUY and BOYCOTT – allows consumers to learn about the companies and corporations that make the products by scanning the package barcode. Application users can choose their consumer preferences, such as: support for certain companies… boycott or refrain from purchasing products made in settlements…”
Not only did the ‘Social TV’ enact “BUYCOTT”, but they provided favorable coverage of IDF de-legitimization activities; activities conducted by NIF-funded organizations such as B’tselem. Social TV sympathetically covered the promotion of draft evasions and refusals to serve in the IDF when the website posted a video encouraging draft evasion under the title “A real Israeli does not evade the truth”. Support the NIF – and encourage draft-dodging in Israel.
In July 2014, during the Operation in Gaza, Social TV CEO Ehud Shem Tov signed a petition calling for the refusal of soldiers to serve in Gaza, which, among other things, included the following statements: “Solider, if you enter Gaza, if you bomb Gaza, there is a serious probability that you will become a war criminal with the blood of children on your hands… the Gaza ‘campaigns’ are a needless spilling of blood, a useless and destructive mass war crime… soldier, refuse to bomb Gaza and refuse to enter Gaza.”
Self-proclaimed Israel advocates and donors such as Doctoroff, Adler, Carol and Saul Zabar, the Leichtag Foundation, Sally Gottesman, and the Nathan Cummings Foundation, must put actions to words and immediately stop funding organizations that lead, encourage and support a boycott of Israel.
Co-authored by: George Birnbaum is an international political consultant, who formerly served as chief of staff for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Hank Sheinkopf, CEO of Sheinkopf Communications is a leading political strategist who has worked on campaigns in four continents. His clients have included former President Bill Clinton.