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February 26, 2018 11:32 am

The New Israel Fund Harms Israel, Yet Still Gets Support

avatar by Ronn Torossian

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A view of Jerusalem. Photo: Berthold Werner / Wikimedia Commons.

A fundamental component of all strands of Judaism is supporting Israel as the Jewish state. Whether one believes in Orthodox or Reform Judaism, follows Shabbat, etc., believing that Israel should be the Jewish homeland is something that all Jews must believe in.

That’s why I don’t understand how American Jews can support the New Israel Fund (NIF) — an organization that harms Israel on many fronts. The latest development is a joint press release from Adalah (which received more than $2 million from the NIF from 2008-2016) and Hamoked (which received more than $700K during the same period). The press release claimed that, “it is illegal upon international law to impose upon East Jerusalem residents an obligation of loyalty to the occupying power.”

As the press release notes, these organizations sent a comprehensive letter to the Interior Ministry “detailing their grave concerns regarding a newly-proposed bill to amend the Entry into Israel Law. This new bill will allow the revocation of residency status of East Jerusalem Palestinians on three possible grounds: for ‘breach of loyalty’; in cases where the status was granted on the basis of false information; and in cases where ‘an individual committed a criminal act’ in the view of the Interior Ministry.”

The new bill was drafted following the Israeli Supreme Court’s decision in September 2017 denying the revocation of permanent residency of four Palestinian parliamentarians from East Jerusalem — on the grounds of “breach of loyalty.”

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These organizations argued that East Jerusalem is considered occupied territory under international humanitarian law (IHL), and that its Palestinian residents are a protected civilian population. The groups claim,  therefore, that it is illegal under IHL to impose upon them an obligation of loyalty to the “occupying” power — let alone to deny them permanent residency status on this basis.

The organizations further argued that this legislation is unconstitutional because it violates the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty — and because it is “extreme, sweeping and disproportionate.”

Put simply, the democratic State of Israel doesn’t want to protect people that call for its destruction — and New Israel Fund grantees work against that. Would they do the same if residents of New York or Miami Beach actively supported ISIS?

Ronn Torossian is a public relations executive and author. You can read his contributions to The Algemeiner here.

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