I’m a member of a Reform Jewish congregation. I wrote the following letter to Rabbi Eric Yoffie of the Union for Reform Judaism, and Rabbi David Saperstein, head of its “Religious Action Center”. I also sent a copy to our rabbi and the president of the congregation. If you are a Reform Jew in the US, you should do the same:
February 8, 2010
Dear Rabbi Saperstein and Rabbi Yoffie,
I was shocked to see that the Reform Movement – in the person of Rabbi Saperstein – has leapt to the defense of the New Israel Fund (NIF), after it was revealed that almost all of the negative ‘evidence’ from Israeli sources in the slanderous Goldstone report came from 16 NIF-supported non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
Although this incident has propelled the NIF into the public eye in Israel, the fact is that the NIF, with its annual budget of $32 million, has been funding numerous groups which are part of the ongoing campaign against the Jewish state for years. The independent organization NGO Monitor wrote,
While the organization does some positive work in Israel that should be applauded, it refuses to engage in debate regarding several of its grantees that demonize Israel at the UN, support boycott and divestment campaigns, promote “lawfare” cases against Israeli officials, and even advocate erasing the Jewish character of the state. Significantly, many NIF donors are unaware of these activities.
Rabbi Saperstein, and indeed all the defenders of the NIF, responded by viciously shooting the messenger – Im Tirtzu, an Israeli student organization – and by citing some other causes supported by the NIF which were innocuous. They did not challenge the substance of Im Tirtzu’s exposé.
The NIF trades on the desire of progressive American Jews to support social justice, accepting their donations under false pretenses and using them to damage the Jewish state.
I call on the URJ to place itself firmly in the truly pro-Israel camp – as Rabbi Yoffie did when he publicly rejected J Street’s call for an immediate ceasefire at the start of the Gaza war – and to end all support for and relationships with the NIF.