In short, it isn’t. The latest liberal-minded organization to be targeted by all manner of far-right, close-minded, single-issue, “pro-Israel” advocates is the New Israel Fund. If you haven’t heard of them before, the first two paragraphs from their About page are an excellent intro:
The New Israel Fund (NIF) is the leading organization committed to democratic change within Israel. Since 1979, NIF has fought for social justice and equality for all Israelis. We believe that Israel can live up to its founders’ vision of a state that ensures complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants, without regard to religion, race or gender.
Widely credited with building Israel’s progressive civil society from scratch, we have provided more than $200 million to more than 800 cutting-edge organizations since our inception. What’s more, through our action arm, SHATIL, we mentor, train and lead Israeli civil society in an ongoing struggle to empower the underprivileged.
Sounds pretty innocuous, huh? An organization that funds civil society programs in Israel with the result of promoting universal rights and equality. Definitely not free from all controversy, but probably not evil.
Think again. The Zionist Im Tirtzu organization has taken it upon themselves to smear the NIF with just about anything they can dig up, including but not limited to, caricatures of its leader, former MK Prof. Naomi Hazan, claims that the NIF is responsible for “90%” of the evidence behind the Goldstone report, and that the NIF is behind the British moves towards prosecuting IDF officers for war crimes.
As should be pretty obvious, these claims are patently untrue (Hazan does not actually have a horn on her forehead, the Goldstone report got most of its evidence from Palestinian eyewitness testimony, and no one has produced any kind of evidence whatsoever linking them to British legal action). But that hasn’t stopped current MKs as well as Shin Bet and IDF officials from getting behind them. J.J. Goldberg reports that there are calls for parliamentary hearings on the work of NIF grantees (a situation which my fellow Jewschool contributor chillul Who? points out is eerily reminiscent of the Defund Acorn Act).
From my perspective, which is that of someone without extensive experience in Israeli domestic politics, I see this as misinformation intended to elicit exactly the response it has. Clearly, Im Tirtzu believes that the NIF is an existential threat to Israel (and given the NIF’s mission, that should tell you something about Im Tirtzu), enough so that they believe a smear campaign based on a flawed, narrow, and biased reading of the facts (Goldberg reports on the questionable methodology they used to get the 90% bit) is an acceptable discrediting tactic.
Ultimately, this sort of thing is totally preposterous and regressive. Unfortunately, it’s what I’ve come to expect from too much of the right. Still pushing the same tired narrative of “criticizing Israel or Israeli policy is unequivocally bad”, they resort to underhanded smears and falsehoods to attempt to delegitimize those who they disagree with. It’s no way to offer support or honest advice to a nation, especially one with as complicated a political and domestic arena as Israel.
It’s shameful that members of the Israeli government would cheapen their society by stooping to this level. Organizations like J Street and Peace Now have issued statements in support of the NIF. I echo their call.
Other references not linked in the body of the article: