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November 27, 2015 5:32 am

The New Israel Fund Supports EU Discrimination Against Israel

avatar by Ronn Torossian

EU flags in front of the European Commission building in Brussels. Photo: Amio Cajander via Wikimedia Commons.

EU flags in front of the European Commission building in Brussels. Photo: Amio Cajander via Wikimedia Commons.

There was a time in Europe when Jews were made to wear yellow stars to indicate that they were Jewish. This was not a badge of honor, but a means for discrimination, scorn and ultimately Hitler’s final solution. Perhaps that is why the European Union’s decision to label products made in Judea and Samaria as not being made in “Israel” has met universal condemnation in the Jewish State.

Once again, the Jews — and no other “occupying” powers in the world — have been singled out for discrimination.

Among the very few in the Jewish community who support this endeavor is The New Israel Fund (NIF). Even while opposing the universal BDS movement for tactical reasons, the NIF openly supports a boycott of products made in the Israeli “territories,” including Eastern Jerusalem.

The EU is one of Israel’s top trading partners. All products from Judea and Samaria, the Golan Heights, and even Eastern Jerusalem will now require special labels to notify purchasers that they come from these areas. Although these items represents a small percentage of Israel’s $13 billion in annual exports to the EU, it will have far reaching consequences.

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Across Israel, from the left to the right, there is near unanimity in opposing this labeling. Isaac Herzog from the left-leaning Zionist Union party said that this was a “dangerous and detrimental” move that will damage peace efforts. Herzog compared the move to the UN’s decision to equate Zionism with racism.

MK Itzik Shmuly, also a member of Herzog’s party, said that the EU’s decision was “stupid, harmful and unhelpful, which leaves a stain on Europe’s forehead.” Yair Lapid, head of Yesh Atid, said “Jews are being stabbed in the streets and the EU has given in to BDS. This decision discriminates against Israel and encourages terrorism.”

The New Israel Fund helped make this EU decision a reality, and it continues to support the labeling of products.

Naomi Chazan, who was NIF President from 2008-2012, and remains a senior NIF board member, explained her position by saying, “Because of the ambiguity, in practical terms, boycotting Israel is only going to get the majority of Israelis riled in the wrong direction. It is not an effective move, politically… That is not true of targeted measures against settlements and against businesses and economic activities that relate to the Occupation… I think that is the right direction to go. I think it’s very, very important.”

Naomi Paiss, NIF’s VP for Public Affairs said recently, “…[T]he NIF will not deny funding to organizations that call for a boycott of settlement products, assuming they meet our other rigorous funding criteria.” She added, “We who uphold democratic values including freedom of expression, and who differentiate between Tel Aviv and Kfar Tapuah, are the majority.”

The World Jewish Congress said that the European Union was guilty of applying “blatant double standards,” and deliberately singling out Israel for special measures; the ADL called the EU’s decision wrong and hypocritical.

Still, there are those who continue to believe that donations to the New Israel Fund are acceptable — including Temple Israel Center of White Plains and its trustees and board members, President Ellen Salant, Vice Presidents Marc Berman, Ken Kanfer, Audrey Samers, Magan Schain, Joel Wolfson, Renana Rosenbloom, Randi Kattan, and Bruce Wexler. They have unanimously supported “discretionary” synagogue funds being donated to The New Israel Fund. Their rabbi, Gordon Tucker, is a member of NIF’s international council, and recently (re)proclaimed his continued support for the organization.

A rabbi of a synagogue in White Plains must not be on the board of an organization that boycotts Israel, and supports the labeling of Israeli products. One cannot lead a synagogue while supporting efforts that help Europeans practice antisemitism.

Stand with the government of Israel and the masses of American Jewry who say no to all boycotts of Israel — and no to The New Israel Fund.

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