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June 17, 2015 8:25 am

If You Support NIF, You Support a Boycott of Israel

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avatar by Ronn Torossian, Hank Sheinkopf, and George Birnbaum

BDS activists. Photo: Mohamed Ouda via Wikimedia Commons.

BDS activists. Photo: Mohamed Ouda via Wikimedia Commons.

In the recent Israeli elections, Isaac Herzog, Yair Lapid, and Benjamin Netanyahu represented the left, right, and center of Israeli political views. These political players often cannot even agree that the sky is blue.

However, on the issue of a boycott of Israel, they all stand united in opposition. The American Jews who fund the heinous New Israel Fund (NIF) must realize that by funding NIF, they support a boycott and oppose the State of Israel.

Isaac Herzog, the left-wing leader of the Labor Party, noted last week, “For years, I’ve devoted efforts in the fight against the boycott movement. We will fight to protect Israel’s good name. This is a diplomatic intifada being waged by the haters of Israel.” Yair Lapid, regarded as a centrist, said that the boycott “… is not about policies, or about the settlements, or about the peace process; this is classic anti-Semitism in a modern disguise.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu recently said that, “The boycott generators do not see the settlements in Judea and Samaria but the settlements in Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Beersheba, Haifa, and of course, Jerusalem, as the focus of the conflict.” Netanyahu continued, “We must not cave into the pressure, [we must] expose the lies and attack the attackers. We shall unite forces in Israel and abroad, expose our enemy’s lies, and fight for the Israeli citizen’s right to live their lives peacefully and safely.”

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American Jewry must heed the call of our brethren across the political spectrum in Israel and stand against those who boycott Israel, like the New Israel Fund. Political dissent is part of politics – and certainly part of Jewish life – but boycotts of Israel are blatantly unacceptable.

Those who fund NIF, including Alisa Doctoroff of the UJA-Federation, Karen R. Adler of Jewish Communal Fund, Jewish foundations, the Leichtag Foundation and Jim Joseph Foundation, Sally Gottesman, Murray Koppelman, Joan and Irwin Jacobs, Robert Arnow, and others must stop funding an organization that supports a boycott of Israel.

And just as Sheldon Adelson & Haim Saban gathered with 50 American Jewish organizations in Las Vegas recently in an effort to address the boycott, they noted last week that the right and left stand together against the boycotters.

Yair Lapid wrote an op-ed in The Guardian, which wisely noted that those who call for a boycott and support the New Israel Fund should ask:

Do they know that Gaza is ruled by Hamas, a terrorist organization that punishes homosexuality with hanging? That severely restricts the freedom of women to do such dangerous things as running a marathon or riding a scooter? Where Jews and Christians don’t have the right to live?

Maybe when they aren’t signing petitions they would prefer democratic regimes, like Israel, where there is freedom of expression and freedom of the press and where rights for the LGBT community are protected by law. Where Muslims and Christians serve in the supreme court, the Knesset and senior positions in the military; where women have served as prime minister, as president of the supreme court and in the highest ranks of the army?

Lapid asked:

let’s imagine that following a call in the Guardian the IDF puts down its weapons and stops protecting the people of Israel for 24 hours – what do they think would happen? If you don’t share the imagination of an artist let me tell you: radical Islamists would kill us all. Women and children first. That’s what they’re doing to their brethren in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and across the Islamic world. What are the chances that they’d spare us?

To end the conflict Israel only has one demand: security for our citizens. We don’t believe that’s unreasonable.

It’s really simple: On one side you have Likud and Labor, Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett,  Shas and Yisrael Beitenu, Republican American Jews and Democrat American Jews,  Haredim and secular Jews.

On the other side, you have Jews – including prominent people – who are funding a boycott that harms the Jewish State. They must be held accountable.

Donations to the New Israel Fund must end.

George Birnbaum is an international political consultant, who formerly served as chief of staff for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 

Hank Sheinkopf, CEO of Sheinkopf Communications is a leading political strategist who has worked on campaigns in four continents.  His clients have included former President Bill Clinton. 

Ronn Torossian is a New York based Public Relations executive and author of “For Immediate Release.”

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