The NIF and the BDS movement

Do you remember the New Israel Fund (NIF), the US charity that was recently the center of controversy when an Israeli Zionist group, Im Tirtzu, claimed that they funded the organizations responsible for the majority of the ‘documentation’ of alleged IDF crimes in the notorious Goldstone report?

The ‘moderate’ Left, including the Union for Reform Judaism’s Religious Action Center, rushed to their defense. Im Tirtzu was accused of being composed of right-wing extremists or worse.

But let’s see who the real extremists are.

The BDS movement  (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) attempts to delegitimize Israel as a state, calling for boycotts in every area, economics, academics, sports, culture, science, etc. The campaign is designed on the model of the boycott of apartheid South Africa, the implication being that the Jewish state is equally immoral and illegitimate. The boycott is to be continued until Israel meets the following conditions:

  1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall;
  2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
  3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

One would think that a pro-Israel charity would not fund groups calling for the ‘return’ of 4.5 million hostile ‘refugees’, something which, if it happens, would certainly mark the end of the state of Israel and the beginning of a bloody civil war. So what is the policy of the New Israel Fund with regard to BDS? Here is an excerpt from their FAQ (h/t: Israel Academia Monitor):

What is NIF’s position on boycott, divestment and sanctions?

NIF supports an end to the occupation of Palestinian territories as a central tenet of the strategic framework in which we operate.  The tactics known as ‘boycott, divestment and sanctions’ (BDS) are designed to pressure Israel to end the occupation, but NIF believes these tactics to be unproductive, inflammatory and ineffective because of the difficulties in defining an approach that is not overly broad, does not delegitimize Israel and will achieve the long-term goal.

So far, so good. Very moderate, if leftish. But it continues,

Although we will continue to communicate publicly and privately to our allies and grantees that NIF does not support BDS as a strategy or tactic, we will not reduce or eliminate our funding for grantees that differ with us on a tactical matter. NIF will not fund BDS activities nor support organizations for which BDS is a substantial element of their activities, but will support organizations that conform to our grant requirements if their support for BDS is incidental or subsidiary to their significant programs.

In other words, if an organization claims that its main goal is to improve the condition of Palestinian women but also supports BDS — no problem. And in fact there are numerous groups like this, since the universal Palestinian Arab position is that all of their problems are a direct result of ‘occupation’ — that is, the existence of Israel — and have no other cause.

So it’s clear that the NIF does fund groups working to delegitimize Israel — as long as they don’t say that this is their primary purpose!

Like J Street and others, the NIF trades on the Jewish commitment to social justice and helping others to turn the resources of the Jewish community against its own interest, the preservation of the state of Israel.

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One Response to “The NIF and the BDS movement”

  1. Shalom Freedman says:

    It is the pretence that infuriates, the claim of the JStreet, NIF people that they are helping Israel when they aid those who would undermine us. As there are so many interest in undermining us, and they have so much funding , and Israel is a democratic society I suppose the only answer to them is in making their intentions clear to as wide a pro- Israeli public as possible.