Monday, September 24th | 15 Tishri 5779

June 23, 2015 1:34 pm

Thank the New Israel Fund for the United Nations Report Accusing Israel of War Crimes

avatar by Ronn Torossian

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UN Headquarters. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

UN Headquarters. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

On Monday, the United Nations issued their report on Operation Protective Edge, and found that Israel may have “committed war crimes.” Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized the report as biased, noting that “…the U.N. Human Rights Council that commissioned the inquiry does everything but worry about human rights.”

Israel’s war effort was widely supported by the left, center, and right of the Israeli political spectrum because the entire nation was under relentless rocket attack. The Israeli government elected not to cooperate with the said UN investigation, due to the UN’s anti-Israel bias.

Yet, when there’s an avenue for criticizing Israel, one can count on The New Israel Fund (NIF) being there.

The extremist organization sent hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to organizations – including B’Tselem, Breaking the Silence, Adalah, Physicians for Human Rights, and Hamoked: Center for Defense of the Individual – that published reports attacking Israel and the IDF. These reports have received extensive worldwide media coverage, which has harmed Israel, and leaves IDF officers vulnerable to international prosecution.

Those who support the New Israel Fund should know that their partners are Palestinian organizations such as Fatah and Hamas, and the UN. What does that say about the intentions of the NIF?

In July 2014, an organization named Gisha participated in a joint appeal to the Israeli defense minister by several NIF organizations: “The call to residents to evacuate their homes in the northern Gaza Strip raises suspicions of widespread and fatal harm to the civilian population and to damage to their property… Israel cannot exempt itself from responsibility for the grievous harm to civilians that we are witnessing since the beginning of the current campaign (as well as in the past), on the grounds that Hamas and other organizations are operating within the civilian population or that they are using the residents as human shields. The responsibility for the assaults that Israel is launching in the Gaza Strip lies with Israel alone… deliberate attacks on the civilian population and its property constitute a harsh violation of international humanitarian law.”

From 2009-2013, Gisha received $138,294 from the NIF, $141, 384 from the United Nations, and $249,751 from Palestinian organizations.

The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel publicly stated that, “In order to understand what’s happening and what’s likely to happen now in the Gaza Strip, you have to look back to Lebanon, to Operation Cast Lead and to become familiar with the IDF’s new warfare model: harming civilians as a strategic tool.” They received $141, 252 from the NIF, $702,914 from the UN, and $660,823 from various Palestinian/Arab organizations. 

Rabbis for Human Rights (RHR) participated with other NIF organizations in an open letter to Israeli Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, which read: “…the reports and data which have accumulated thus far… raise serious concern of severe violations of international humanitarian law, and specifically the laws of war… The high number of casualties in Shuja’iya raises grave concern as to the legality of the conduct of the IDF and its commanders during this incident, and specifically the violation of basic principles of the law of war, first and foremost the principle of distinction… However, the aggregate picture of the incidents, in our opinion, requires an urgent examination of the suspected violations of the laws of war at the level of offensive policy and the rules of engagement. As you well know, violations of the laws of war by the opposing party to a conflict do not justify or warrant the violations of Israel’s obligations under these laws. We therefore request of you… to act to establish an external, independent, effective investigation mechanism to investigate decisions and guidelines of the political and command leadership regarding the manner the war has been conducted, as required by international law…”

RHR received $933,503 from the NIF, $29,954 from the UN, and $110,821 from Palestinian/Arab organizations.

Mossawa participated in a joint letter from several NIF organizations to the UN Human Rights Council, which stated: “We strongly condemn Israel’s unlawful targeting of civilians, civilian objects, and civilian property. These acts constitute grave violations of international humanitarian law and international criminal law and may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity under the Rome Statute… We call on the UN Human Rights Council to: Condemn the deliberate, systematic and widespread targeting of Palestinian civilians and civilian objects in Gaza…Establish an independent, international commission of inquiry, with the mandate to identify and investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law committed within the context of Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip.”

Mossawa received $1,065,677 from the NIF and $87,068 from the United Nations.

In 2010, Judge Richard Goldstone, who wrote the Goldstone report that “infuriated Israel and Jewish communities around the world” was essentially banned from his grandson’s bar mitzvah at a synagogue in Johannesburg, South African, due to anger about how his report treated Israel.

One wonders how it is that major donors to New Israel Fund still hold positions of leadership in the American Jewish community, when their donations help lead the slander at the UN against Israel, and attacks on the IDF.  Those who continue donating large funds to NIF include The Leichtag Foundation, Barbara and Eric Dobkin, Yaffa and Paul Maritz, Lela Goren – whose brothers founded Radiant Systems, the Charles Guttman Foundation, Edith Everett, Alisa Doctoroff – President of the UJA-Federation, and Karen R. Adler of the Jewish Communal Fund.

As former President Clinton’s political strategist Hank Sheinkopf noted, “Those who stand with New Israel Fund are standing against Israel. To suggest otherwise is a lie. I urge anyone affiliated with the NIF to stop supporting this organization financially. The New Israel Fund must be ostracized by the Jewish community.”

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