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November 26, 2014 3:42 pm

Birthright Israel Terminates Partnership With Controversial New Israel Fund

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A Birthright Israel campus display. Photo: Twitter

Birthright Israel, the American organization that organizes visits to Israel for participants from 66 different countries, has terminated a partnership with the controversial New Israel Fund (NIF,) resulting in the cancellation of a December visit to the Jewish state assembled by the two groups.

In an email to trip participants, Stephanie Ives, the New York Director for the NIF, said that “we have been cut from the trip for three reasons that have been communicated to us: (1) Birthright Israel determined that our marketing of the trip was in violation of their policy because our NIF logo was slightly larger than the Birthright Israel logo; (2) Birthright Israel NEXT has determined that it can no longer partner with NIF in any way because we seek to influence policy in Israel, and they have a rule against partnership with organizations that seek to influence policies in Israel or the United States; and (3) Birthright Israel decided to cancel a number of the New York UJA trips because of recruitment concerns.”

Ives added: “I wish this were not the case. We were truly excited to participate and honored to have been recruited to do so by Birthright Israel NEXT. More importantly, we think participation by progressive Israel organizations is crucial to allow Birthright Israel to continue having the kind of impact on the next generation America-Israel relationship that it seeks and that we seek.”

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The NIF has often courted controversy because of its funding of radical groups in Israel, some of whom are connected to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement that targets Israeli academics and businesses.

According to the Israeli watchdog NGO Monitor, “The New Israel Fund (NIF) is the largest and most powerful non-governmental source of support for Israeli civil society organizations, providing funding and organizational/political assistance. In 2012 (the latest available information), NIF authorized $17.6 million in grants for Israeli NGOs (non-governmental organizations).”

“Allegations by NIF-funded groups are frequently used to advance anti-Israel BDS (boycotts, divestment, and sanctions) activism – the claims of these groups are used to justify demonization,” NGO Monitor says. “For instance, the UC Berkeley divestment campaign (April 2013) referenced B’Tselem, Adalah, and PHR-I as documenting ‘ongoing human rights violations systematically committed by the Israeli government.’ We also note that previous NIF funding for radical anti-Israel groups (ICAHD, Coalition of Women for Peace, Mada al-Carmel, Al-Qaws, etc.), which has ended, continued for years and caused significant damage, including, for example, the decision by Dutch pension funds to divest from Israeli banks in January 2014.”

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  • lonny baskin

    As someone who left cozy America over 30 years ago to live his zionist beliefs, serve in the army, pay Israeli taxes and send his children to the army, I am appalled by all of these comments stating that NIF is an Anti Semitic or Anti Israeli fund or organization. I’m sure you are the same people who have tried to corrupt the term of zionism to fit only those who support a right wing, pro-settlement government and call anyone who doesn’t either an anti semite or a self hating jew. Well, I am a proud zionist who doesn’t support this right wing government or settlements in the territories. I am neither an anti semite or a self hating jew. I put my money where my mouth is and have many innumerable personal sacrifices to live in a democratic and jewish homeland and raise my children here. And before any of you start on your crusade to besmirch me, I dare you to either do what I have done (move to Israel and put yourself on the real line) or to do something real to support Israeli society as the NIF has been doing for so many years. It is a real shame that an organization like Birthright will not partner with NIF and give the young Jewish participants additional directions to think about beyond the “party line”.

  • Julian Mannino

    I’m shocked. Absolutely shocked that a great organization like Birthright Israel would be involved with the likes of the “progressive” NIF. It’s unfortunate people were fooled into giving large amounts of money to the anti Israel NIF.

  • steven L

    The NIF is not controversial! It is an antisemitic organization. The decision to associate with the NIF was more than controversial: ABSURD! Their goal was to undermine “Birthright” just like “Open-Hillel ” is to undermine Hillel. How many Trojan horses does Israel needs?

  • hophmi

    An extremely dumb policy that will hurt Israel internationally. This is antidemocratic.

  • Billy Bumps

    So much pushing and pulling…so much hate and
    anger……retch! I am just getting so sick of all the
    continued putrid talk…I hate u….u hate me. were
    as happy as we can be……sick.sick.sick..people.

  • shalom

    IT WOULD BE NICE AND INTELLECTUALLY HONEST IF THOSE WHO
    HAVE ATTACHED THE NIF IN THEIR COMMENTS EVEN GOING AS FAR
    AS TO CALL THEM ANIT SEMITIC WOULD READ ABOUT THE HUNDRED OF ORGANIZATIONS AND ACTIVITIES THAT NIF FUNDS AND THAT ADD TO THE VIBRANCY AND SENSITIVITY OF ISRAEL SOCIETY TO THE NEEDS OF VARIOUS GROUPS IN THE SOCIET.
    IT WOULD BE NICE THAT IN ADDITION TO CRITICIZING PARTICULAR ORGANIZATIONS TAHT THEY FIND PROBLEMATIC THEY WOULD ALSO APPRECIATHE THE IMPORTANT WORK DONE BY DOZENS OF ORGANIZATIONS FUNDED IN THE AREA OF MAKING ISRAEL A MORE SENSITIVE AND HUMANE SOCIETY HELPING OTHERS

  • Gerald Cohen

    Thanks for enlightening me. I never contribute and never heard of them, but that could be the reason US media has become a messenger for antisemitism. They sound like self destructive Jews.

    • Aviva Roth

      Any organization who supports BDS, as far as I’m concerned is undermining Israel, whether they see this or not. End of story. Kristallnacht undid Jews in Europe by taking away their income source, and thus ruining lives. BDS does exactly the same thing, guised as legitimate protest. NUFF SAID!!!!

  • Harvey

    So long overdue . I never understand why our flagship Zionist organisations are so disconnected from reality . Maybe their structure precludes them from fully examining the character of those they strike up partnership with . Any grass roots activist is fully aware of the venal nature of NIF and how it conspires against Israel while it purports to be a full on Zionist organisation .
    Shame on all those taken in by this Trojan Horse . At least Birthright has finally seen fit to disassociate .

  • How the stellar BIRTHRIGHT could ever ‘partner’ or be in bed with the ANTI ISRAEL NIF is beyond human comprehension. Decades-old NIF does not miss a single opportunity to bash and DEMONIZE ISRAEL in the media and elsewhere both inside and outside of ISRAEL. They are shills for SON-OF-ISLAM obama and democrats in the US and ‘leftists’ in ISRAEL, and are loathe to listen to any criticism or an opposing viewpoint. They absolutely do NOT, have not, and will never advocate for a strong secure ISRAEL with defensible borders for ISRAEL and the JEWISH people.

  • David Masada

    Block these NIF morons from ever entering Israel!

  • Moshe Kempinski Jerusalem

    Kol HaKavod Birthright. An organization whose purpose is to help our young people rediscover their birthright should not be aligned with an organization that attempts to do the opposite

  • “Allegations by NIF-funded groups are frequently used to advance anti-Israel BDS (boycotts, divestment, and sanctions) activism – the claims of these groups are used to justify demonization”. I don’t know where NIF gets its money from, it is a very wealthy organisation, but it does a great deal of harm and its members are probably not even aware of its real aim – to destroy the State of Israel. Perhaps it is funded by Qatar.

  • yussi

    Once again ignorant jewish groups being our own worst enemies

  • Michael Fox

    Good riddance.

    This organization has an unsuspicious name, the “New Israel Fund” but works hand in glove with Israel’s enemies and anti-Semetic groups to undermine Israels economy and security.

  • glenda urmacher

    Years ago, I found fault with the negativism of the New Israel Fund against Israel.
    I could NOT support an organization hell bent on not only presenting Israel in a poor light,
    but never giving this country the benefit of the doubt, when it provides its minority population with the most modern and caring benefits.
    The Arab world should do one iota for its minority peoples, of what it could mimic from Israel.
    Shame on the New Israel Fund.
    They will never see a donation from me or mine.
    Talk about self-hating Jews

  • Max Cohen

    Ms. Ives refers to “progressive” organizations in Israel as if this word is intellectually sacrosanct. The truth is that the leftist intelligentsia likes to camouflage their regressive 19th century ideology. It is sad that bright young things like Stephanie are still being taken in

  • art

    NIF is funded by foreign govs and ngos who seek to destabilize Israel. Why should they in effect be funded by a legit pro Israel group to be moles undermining the program

  • Ignorance of Birthright?

    It’s not news that the Jew hating, rabid leftist George Soros & his Ford Foundation funds the anti-Israel NIF only for political purposes. Is Birthright Israel just now claiming to discover this?

  • NIF is Anti Semite

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