Here Are the Facts on Donors to the New Israel Fund
Recently, selected media outlets have been contacted by the Jim Joseph Foundation, which claims that “The recent op-ed by Ronn Torossian incorrectly states that the Jim Joseph Foundation has awarded grants to NIF. Yet, the Foundation has never awarded a grant to NIF (the Foundation focuses on Jewish education). Just as I have informed other editors who have published similar op-eds by this author, I wanted to let you know, too.”
IRS filings and New Israel Fund (NIF) marketing materials reveal that this assertion is false. The fact is that the Jim Joseph Foundation (JJF) – one of the largest Jewish foundations in America — finances an organization devoted to and supportive of a boycott of the state of Israel.
One can review NIF marketing materials here (page 26), or even Jim Joseph’s own tax documents here. Shamefully, the Jim Joseph Foundation is one of many American Jewish foundations financing the NIF’s radical agenda. Quite simply, the viewpoints espoused by the NIF, supporting boycotts of Israel and opposing the Israel Defense Forces, are beyond the pale of acceptability.
As my friend and regular co-author, former Clinton adviser Hank Sheinkopf, has noted, “Those who stand with the 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.”
Israel’s Minister of Education, Naftali Bennett, recently noted, “Yes, the New Israel Fund. I will boycott whomever persecutes Israeli soldiers. I will not apologize for it. Members of the New Israel Fund, listen carefully: Whoever harms, slanders and persecutes Israeli soldiers are not my brothers. I am willing to argue about everything, any topic. I am willing to, painfully, argue with those who are willing to free terrorists and hand them over to the Arabs. I am willing to argue with those who are against the Jewish identity of the state. I will stand firm on the fact that Israel is a Jewish state with Jewish values; otherwise we have no justification to be here. I despise those who attack our troops.”
Bennett continued, “The NIF works methodically and consistently to attack our Israeli soldiers, accuse them of war crimes, of torturing Palestinians and intentionally attacking women and children. They turn to the U.N. and to the committees that are most hostile to Israel, and try their best to convince them that Israel is a war criminal. I repeat: They say that our soldiers — you, I, your friends and your families, your children and their friends – that we are all war criminals. The New Israel Fund invests large amounts of money through its organizations with one purpose — to harm IDF soldiers who are physically protecting us with their bodies.”
Still, the New Israel Fund raises $30 million annually from American Jews.
It is surprising that the Jim Joseph Foundation objected to the expose of its financing the NIF, given the fact that numerous JJF board members are major NIF supporters. JJF recently appointed Dr. Jeffrey Solomon to its board. Where Solomon goes, so too does money flow to the NIF. He is a board member of the San Diego-based Leichtag Foundation, major NIF donors. The Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies also gave major funds to the NIF, when Solomon served as its president for 18 years.
Another Jim Joseph board member is Alisa Doctoroff, president of UJA-Federation and a radical extremist when it comes to Israel. Doctoroff is a NIF donor – and noted on a recent trip to Israel that “one of the most impactful experiences on her Encounter trip was her home-stay with a Palestinian family.” She and the family’s son talked late into the night, poring over maps and talking about non-violent activism.
Support of “non-violent” Palestinian activism is not a credential for Jewish leadership. This “non-violent” Palestinian activism harms the state of Israel.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently said, “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 enemies’ lies and fight for the Israeli citizens’ right to live their lives peacefully and safely.”
Those who fund the NIF, including the Jim Joseph Foundation, the Leichtag Foundation, the Lopatin Family Foundation, the Jewish Communal Fund and others are harming Israel.
This is not a right-wing or left-wing issue; it is a right-and-wrong issue. Jews – including prominent people – fund a boycott that harms the Jewish state. They must be held accountable.
Donations to the New Israel Fund must end.