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May 26, 2015 7:19 am

More Proof That the NIF is Working to Undermine Israel

avatar by Ronn Torossian, Hank Sheinkopf, and George Birnbaum

Rachel Corrie. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Two weeks ago, the report from Breaking the Silence that patently accused Israel of committing war crimes was made public. That report took skewed testimonies of 60 Israeli soldiers, many of whom were frightened and perhaps shocked by the events they witnessed in Gaza during the 2014 war, and compiled them into a biased narrative. BTS, better known by its Hebrew name, Shovrim Shtikah, is an Israeli institution well-funded by another Israeli group, the New Israel Fund, which continuously engages in actions such as these – seeking to undermine Israel by any means necessary.

NIF claims its mission is to protect democracy and ensure that Israel acts properly when it comes to its own people and its Palestinian neighbors and residents. It is actually a front to ruin Israel’s reputation and batter the only democracy in the Middle Esat until its Jewish nature is expunged. In funding BTS, The New Israel Fund is not only supporting a group that has worked tirelessly to bring Israel before the International Criminal Court at The Hague, but it is supporting a group that the Palestinian group The Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (The Secretariat) considers a partner in their efforts to destroy Israel.

On its website, the Secretariat calls BTS its partner and refers to the report and summarizes the work by saying, “According to Breaking the Silence, ‘Many soldiers testified that the orders that they received were to shoot to kill every person sighted in the area.'” If that is not telling, we are not sure what more they could say that would damn Israel further.

To be more certain of the motives under which NIF operates, we need to look to the nearly ten year old Rachel Corrie case. Corrie was a human rights activist protesting for Palestinians when she stepped in front of an Israel-operated bulldozer on March 16, 2003, and was killed.

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The nature of her death and the culpability of the IDF have been disputed for years. Her fellow protestors claimed the Israeli soldier deliberately ran Corrie over, while other eyewitnesses said it was an accident since the machine operator could not see her.

Corrie’s parents filed a civil lawsuit against the Sstate of Israel in 2005. They sued for a symbolic one U.S. dollar in damages. In 2012, an Israeli court rejected their suit and upheld the results of the 2003 military investigation, ruling that the Israeli government was not responsible for her death. An appeal was heard in 2014, and this past February, Israel’s Supreme Court rejected the appeal.

The New Israel Fund claims that its policy does not include and is even firmly opposed to attempts to prosecute Israeli officials in foreign courts or apply the generally-accepted principle of universal jurisdiction against Israel, its military, and its public officials. Therefore, it claims it does not support organizations that are involved in legal proceedings to prosecute IDF officers abroad.

The Rachel Corrie case demonstrated a pattern of actions in which New Israel Fund grantees such as Adalah and the Public Committee against Torture in Israel  joined forces with Palestinian organizations from Gaza and Ramallah to harm Israel. Both Israeli organizations receiving funding from the New Israel Fund and The Secretariat.

It may not suffice to use the guilt-by-association method, but in the final analysis, flagship organizations of the NIF are partnering with organizations whose declared goals are in total contradiction to the terms that the NIF claims to uphold. The NIF funds many Israeli organizations that are involved in accusing the IDF of war crimes. We do not believe that any group that hands over that much money could possibly remove itself from the actions of those it funds.

On May 28, the New Israel Fund is holding a very secret conference on the BTS report, to explain to its board and supporters how the report came about, and what it means for their work. The meeting will take place somewhere in New York. This NIF and BTS joint event is billed as an “intimate discussion with Avner Gvaryahu of Breaking the Silence to hear about BTS’s new testimony from the war last summer, and to take a deeper look into the efforts being made to hold the IDF morally accountable.”

Let’s take one more look at that sentence: “the efforts being made to hold the IDF morally accountable.”  That is not ambiguous; it is quite illuminating.

Can the UJA’s Alissa Doctoroff really claim she is helping Israel by giving to the New Israel Fund? Carol and Saul Zabar pride themselves on catering to an audience that appreciates Jewish culture and cuisine, yet they too send large sums of money to this hurtful group.

There are so many donors, from Slimfast Founder Danny Abraham and Sally Gottesman to the Nathan Cummings Foundation, who claim to love Israel and Jews, yet wholeheartedly send money to a group they know teams with a virulent anti-Israel agenda.

Hank Sheinkopf is CEO of Sheinkopf Communications and a leading Democratic strategist. His clients have included former President Bill Clinton, and others. Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, one of the 20 largest independent American PR firms. George Birnbaum is an international political consultant, who is partners with Arthur Finkelstein. Birnbaum formerly served as chief of staff for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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