Friday, May 7th | 25 Iyyar 5781

November 12, 2019 5:20 am

New Israel Fund Creates a ‘Philanthropic’ Arm

avatar by Ronn Torossian


IfNotNow supporters at a rally in New York City. Photo: IfNotNow via Facebook.

It was recently reported that after a handful of philanthropists were told by their local Jewish Federations that the organizations would not donate money to groups that are deemed anti-Israel, the New Israel Fund (NIF) is creating a pipeline for philanthropists to support these extremist organizations. The new pipeline is an American non-profit called the “Progressive Jewish Fund.”

For example, the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles thwarted an attempted donation to IfNotNow in 2016, as did the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle earlier this year. And three years before the Philadelphia Federation denied an IfNotNow donation, it also blocked a contribution to Jewish Voice for Peace.

Now the New Israel Fund hopes philanthropists will move donor-advised funds from the Federations to them. So what is IfNotNow, that the NIF thinks it is so important to donate to them?

IfNotNow is a movement that seeks “to end the American Jewish community’s support for the occupation,” viewing it as “a system of violence and separation by which Israel denies Palestinians freedom and dignity by depriving them of civil, political, and economic rights.”

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In 2018, IfNotNow created a “Liberation Syllabus” to help students “engage with the reality of the Occupation.” The syllabus features books by Ghassan Kanafani, who was a spokesperson for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP),  a terrorist organization designated as such by the USEUCanada, and Israel.

Moreover, in April 2018, IfNotNow launched a petition to California Senator Dianne Feinstein demanding she “condemn Israeli violence against Palestinian protesters,” saying that to “condemn the shooting of unarmed protesters is neither bold nor brave: it is the bare minimum we should expect from any moral leader.” IfNotNow ignored the violent nature of the protests, which included Molotov cocktails, arson, and attempts to breach the border fence with Israel.

The branches of the Jewish Federation shun these organizations, and they should. The New Israel Fund continues to support a boycott of Israel — and continues its work as an extremist radical organization well outside the consensus of Jewish life. All Jews should oppose the NIF’s activities.

Ronn Torossian is a public relations executive.

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