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December 4, 2015 4:37 am

Why NIF Supports a Boycott of Israel, and Why We Must Stop It

avatar by Ronn Torossian, Hank Sheinkopf, and George Birnbaum

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A BDS protestor.  Photo: Mohamed Ouda via Wikimedia Commons.

A BDS protestor. Photo: Mohamed Ouda via Wikimedia Commons.

Over the last year, we have researched and published many articles examining the boycott movement against Israel, and revealed a number of the financiers of this anti-Israel undertaking. Our articles have appeared in The New York Post, The Hill, The Jerusalem Post, The Jewish Press, The Algemeiner, and dozens of other newspapers worldwide. 

Together, the three of us have worked for Prime Ministers Olmert, Sharon, and Netanyahu, and multiple Israeli foreign ministers and several mayors of Israeli cities such as Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. All three of us realize, as do the vast majority of Jews — and civilized people — that the boycott against Israel is a very real danger.  

We heed the words of Prime Minister Netanyahu who echoed the entire Israeli Zionist political spectrum when he 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 enemy’s lies, and fight for the Israeli citizen’s right to live their lives peacefully and safely.”

We stand united with Israel in exposing the attackers.  

As difficult as it is to say, one of the most egregious forces working against Israel is an American Jewish organization — The New Israel Fund (NIF). The NIF is sophisticated, well-organized, and well-funded, and it is a leading funder of programs and groups that harm Israel

It misleads many people with its friendly name, humanitarian philanthropy, and clever marketing tactics. 

Technically, the New Israel Fund officially opposes the worldwide Boycott Divest Sanctions (BDS) movement. Yet it funds groups that encourage boycotts of all areas of Israel post-1967. The New Israel Fund claims that the post ’67 areas are not parts of Israel, and therefore this should not be considered a “boycott.” 

Numerous individual leaders within NIF support BDS personally, and numerous grantees of NIF work in the BDS movement as well. 

The NIF also funds attempts to demean the IDF and discourage young Israelis from serving in the armed forces through such NGOs as Breaking the Silence, B’Tselem, and others. It funds media bias intended to isolate Israel through the likes of +972 Magazine. NIF grantee Hamoked is an NGO that funds lawsuits supporting the families of terrorists. The Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement and others work toward attempts to disobey Israeli judicial bodies — including the Israel Supreme Court. The list goes on and on. 

The New Israel Fund harms Israel. This is why we expose the funders who help foster the boycott. 

It is remarkable how successful the NIF has been at infiltrating the American Jewish community: 

  • Alisa Doctoroff, President of UJA-Federation is a major donor and supporter of NIF, as is Rabbi Aaron Panken, President of Hebrew Union College the largest training school in the world for Reform Judaism. He is on the NIF International Council.
  • They are joined on the International Council by Avraham Burg, former deputy speaker of the Knesset, who recently declared in Yediot Aharonot that “Zionism is over.” In September 2003, he wrote in The Guardian that “Israel, having ceased to care about the children of the Palestinians, should not be surprised when they come washed in hatred and blow themselves up in the centers of Israeli escapism.”
  • Also joining them on the International council is Kathleen Peratis, a lawyer who supports BDS and wrote an op-ed declaring, “If you want two states, support BDS.”  She described BDS as a “non-violent tool,” and wrote, “[N]ot buying Sodastream or Gush Etzion wine is a start.” Peratis has met with Hamas members, and brags about it.

Are these people with whom the Presidents of UJA and Hebrew Union College should sit in positions of leadership with?

Among donors to the NIF are the Jim Joseph Foundation, the Jewish Communal Fund, The the Lopatin Foundation, the Leichtag Foundation, and others. They also donate millions to “respectable” Jewish causes, but that does not make their funding of the boycott acceptable.

There are synagogues who donate to The New Israel Fund, including Temple Beth El of Santa Cruz, CA; Tzedakah Hevra at Congregation Beth El in Sudbury, MA; Congregation Emanu-El B’ne Jeshurun in Wisconsin; Kehila Chadasha of Bethesda, MD; Rodeph Shalom in Philadelphia; Temple Beth Avodah of Newton Center, MA; Temple Shalom of Newton, MA; Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco; and Temple Israel Center in White Plains, NY.

This disease, this sickness called self-hatred is widespread; perhaps it is to be expected in an American Jewish community where assimilation is nearly 70%.  

In Israel, there is consensus among the Left and Right that boycotting is absolutely unacceptable, and the recent move by the EU to label products from post 1967 regions reaffirms how devastating it is. Birthright Israel, perhaps the most successful American Jewish organization of this generation will no longer work with NIF, and the ruling Likud Party calls NIF “anti-Zionist.”

Even with a sense of disgust, we must continue with this vital mission. American Jews — their institutions and leaders — are funding a boycott that harms the Jewish state; they must be held accountable. Those who stand with the New Israel Fund are standing against Israel. To suggest otherwise is as much a lie as the NIF’s claims that it opposes boycotts. We urge anyone affiliated with it to stop supporting this organization. The New Israel Fund is neither a friend nor supporter of Israel, and the Jewish community must oppose it. 

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.

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

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  • Monty Pogoda

    How can one sabotage or fight them?

  • Isaac Brajtman

    I am ashamed the these people call themselves Jews.
    How can we rid ourselves from them? Or rather rid them from us

  • Rosalind Shorenstein

    As a member of Temple Beth El in Santa Cruz, CA, I would like to know how much money my synagogue has contributed to NIF and in what manner. This would be the last straw as I have been very discouraged by the lack of strong support for Israel in this congregation.

  • steven L

    We need to deal with the antisemites from within “the Jewish family” first and foremost. These are dangerous fanatics. They are worst than Trojan horses.

  • Paul Cerar

    It is not hypocritical for leftwing-fascist Communists to collaborate with rightwing-fascist Islamites. Hell calls to Hell.

    Paul Cerar
    Toronto, Canada

  • Anschel

    BDS followers tend to consider themselves “liberal.” In this, as well in their overall BDS policy, they are seriously mistaken. BDS activity is conspicuously illiberal and “unliberal.” It does not respect open intellectual debate but seeks to unilaterally intimidate others into adopting its point of view. It is, in essence, a pro-totalitarian and authoritarian movement and has more in common with ultra-left (e.g., Stalinist) and ultra-right (Hitlerian) views than with democratic (whether liberal or conservative) views.

    In short, BDS is an enemy of free people everywhere.

  • Cynthia Gottlieb

    Interesting so many with this self-hatred. But are they truly boycotting every Israeli or just certain things that are now popular? Are they boycotting Israeli technology and thus boycotting their iPhones and iPads? Are they boycotting vaccines and various scientific advances in healthcare? Do they drive a vehicle? Do they each cherry tomatoes? Do they use Velcro? Then they should be shamed as they are hypocrites!! If they truly insist on boycotting everything Israeli because it is Politically Correct so they fear acts of violence? Pressure? then they should take it all the way. Shame on them all! Who will support them or come to their rescue when this goes to the next step…. Juden Verboten? No one will care that they boycotted Isreal.

  • there is no more virulent anti-semite than a jewish anti-semite. such a shame that they hate themselves & their heritage so virulently.

  • My congratulations for exposing the names of Jews who are defaming, demonizing and delegitimizing the Jewish State of Israel and Judaism.

    I am of the opinion, that this persons must be pilloried and boycotted by the Jewish public socially, financially and academically. They must be fought the same way as they are fighting our Jewish State Israel and Judaism.
    Since some years I am trying to do that in Switzerland.

    The persons on the board of NIF in Switzerland are remarkably resilient, sometimes I think they are trained by the Scientology sect.

    Please revert to the book by Edwin Black.

    NIF = Notorious:Infame:Fiendish