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Saturday, February 20, 2010

[Updated] Adalah-NY strikes a blow for "human rights" and against Zionist ballet

Protesters led by Adalah-NY, struck their version of a blow for "human rights" and "justice" by disrupting a performance of the Israel ballet in Vermont. According to Ynet news, the self-proclaimed forces of justice and freedom under Adalah claimed that "anyone who watched the performance was "supporting Israel's apartheid policy."'

Update - Originally, this story claimed, based on the Ynet story, that the protest against the Israel ballet was led by the New Israel fund supported Adalah group. Adalah, it will be remembered is the group that proposed a constitution that would abolish Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people and allow "right" of return for Palestinian refugees.

However, Ben Murane of New Israel Fund has written to protest that Adalah of Israel supported by NIF had nothing to do with the disruption of the Israel ballet, which is part of a campaign by a group called Adalah-NY. It seems Adalah in Israel only agitates for return of refugees and abolition of the Jewish state locally. NIF seems to have no qualms about supporting these goals. The NIF-supported Adalah does not disrupt ballet performances in the United States, according to Murane.

Indeed there is an Adalah-NY group ( that is funded by the WESPAC foundation. Ynet has not corrected or retracted their story, however. Neither the NIF nor the Israeli Adalah NGO have issued statements clarifying relationship, or lack thereof, between Adalah, and Adalah-NY. It is strange that New Israel Fund has not not contradicted the YNET story or tried to correct it.

Muqata Web log writes:

Update: Many have been claiming that the YNET story is factually incorrect in [that] the Israel Ballet performance was disrupted by "Adalah-NY" and not by "Adalah" in Israel which is NIF funded. YNET has not changed or updated their story. Despite the YNET report, the Muqata blog notes this, and states that we don't know of a connection between the anti-Israel Adalah-NY organization and the NIF-funded Adalah organization in Israel.

Verdict : NIF role in funding disruption of ballet, "not proven." We have probably been taken in by a canard. NIF role in funding advocacy of ending the Jewish state: proven. If you want to donate to disruption of Israeli ballet in the USA, you'll have to give to WESPAC. If you just want to support right of return for Palestinian refugees and boycotts of Israel, contributions to NIF will support Mossawa, Adalah (in Israel) and Machsomwatch, all organizations that further these goals.

Ami Isseroff

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

New Israel Fund supports divestment

New Israel Fund insists that the charges against it (see  Funding Anti-Zionism - Adalah, NIF and the "New Israel"   New Israel Fund supports anti-Zionist Propaganda and NIF Funds anti-Zionists Take II )  made by Im Tirzu and others are all bogus McCarthyism:
The New Israel Fund, in its defense, says it does not support those who demonize Israel or call for divestment or boycott of Israel, and that it will not assist those who advocate the "right of return" for Palestinians to reclaim land lost to them in 1948. 
But the truth is that New Israel Fund funds Adalah, a group that wrote a proposed Israeli constitution calling for Right of Return. (see   Funding Anti-Zionism - Adalah, NIF and the "New Israel" ). NIF also supports Mossawa and Machsomwatch, both of which called on the Norwegian government to support a boycott of Israel, and NIF collects "donor advised" donations for Whoprofits. Click this link and see for yourself: You can see there that the instructions state: "Make out a check to "New Israel Fund", write in the memo line "for the Coalition of Women for Peace – Who Profits Project."  This was not invented by Im Tirtzu or by me. Who Profits is a project of the Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP). Despite express denials, it seems that NIF supported CWP in 2008, with a grant that channeled money from the Ford Foundation, and they continue to support Coalition of Women for Peace though donor-advised channeling.
Why does the Ford Foundation find it convenient to channel grants through NIF, and why does NIF act as a conduit for the Ford Foundation? Any organization that was once funded by NIF is allowed to use NIF as a donor-advised contribution channel unless a decision is made to the contrary. New Israel Fund knows that CWP supports divestment, but did not cancel its donor-advised status.
The "donor-advised" status actually means that money contributed to them is tax-deductible in the United States as if it had been donated to NIF. Formally, it means that the money was donated to NIF for the express purpose of funding CWP, and NIF used it to fund CWP. If it was not formally recognized as a donation to NIF, it would not be tax deductible, as CWP has no 501c(3) tax deductible status in the United States. So NIF is supporting CWP at least formally. If NIF claims they are not supporting CWP and divestment, then the tax shelter given to these donations is a fraud.
It is beyond my understanding how people can claim that telling potential donors to New Israel Fund that it supports CWP and denies that it does so, that it supports Adalah and other organizations that call for divestment and right of return is not "democratic" or why it is "McCarthyism" to ask the Israeli government to investigate its ties with a group that is funding delegitimation of Israel. Don't NIF donors have rights? Doesn't the Israeli government and the Israeli taxpayer have rights? Don't we have the right to know how our money is being spent, and to donate to causes we believe in? Isn't it wrong to collect money for "democracy" and use it to support groups that are trying to destroy Israel?
Ami Isseroff  

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Friday, February 12, 2010

NIF funds anti-Zionists - Take II

The original reports about New Israel Fund (see New Israel Fund supports anti-Zionists ) by Maariv journalists Ben-Dror Yemini and Ben Caspit, and the Im Tirtzu report on which they were based were not accurate. Im Tirtzu's advertisement claimed that without the New Israel Fund and Naomi Chazan there would not not have been a Goldstone report condemning Israel. This was prima facie nonsense, and some of the statistics on which this claim was based turn out to be dubious as well. Moreover, it seems that New Israel Fund never funded Zochrot (though they did support them evidently, both directly and indirectly) or New Profile, the draft-dodger group. They did fund Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP) but stopped funding them after 2006 (see here, here and here and NIF's own rejoinder here ).

Im Tirtzu violated an important rule of Israel Advocacy - always be sure of the facts and tell the truth as precisely as possible. They created a sensation for a few days, but now the legitimate part of their claim, and there is a legitimate part, is endangered by their exaggerations and "Public Relations."

There should, however, be no cause for gloating and celebration among supporters of the New Israel Fund. The New Israel Fund is pictured as an innocent victim since they stopped funding Coalition of Women for Peace in 2006, and only support Zochrot but don't fund it. On that basis, American Jews who support Israel are asked to donate to New Israel Fund. Suppose an organization came to you soliciting funds, and their representative said, "We stopped funding the Ku Klux Klan in 2006, and we never funded the American National Socialist Workers Party. We only support them." Do you think you would or should give money to that organization?

Here is a listing of previous (last year's) NIF grantees. Some are innocent projects working for good causes - or so they seem. But some are not necessarily so innocent. The NIF supports Adalah and Breaking the Silence among others. They were sources of materials used in the Goldstone report, and unfailing sources of disinformation designed to blacken Israel's image. Or consider the Al Yater association, which "Promotes the rights of the Palestinian population in Acre." Acre is in Israel. The people in question are Israeli Arabs. Only those who do not recognize the legitimacy of the state of Israel call these people "Palestinians." Or consider Phsyicians for Human Rights. This organization became famous when it popularized the case of a poor Palestinian who died, according to them, because the evil Zionists would not let him get treated for cancer. But the Palestinian never died and the story was a lie. That's the sort of thing NIF is proud to support.

Many of us, myself included, who felt that the Goldstone report was unfair called for a thorough civilian investigation of the IDF, a position that I am sure NIF would support. But the same logic must work for NIF supporters. Im Tirtzu may have gotten many facts wrong, but there are certainly problems with some of the organizations that NIF funds and has funded in the past. But NIF is stonewalling. Just as the Hamas is unwilling to launch an investigation of any kind into the Goldstone allegations, the NIF is unwilling to clean house. Instead, they rant about McCarthyite tactics and suppression of dissent. If the NIF has nothing to hide, why are they hiding it?

Ami Isseroff

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Thursday, October 2, 2008

Amnesty International: Unfair to Israel

>Sad but true.
Amnesty's obsession with Israel

Amnesty persistently condemns Israel while ignoring suffering elsewhere
Yael Beck, Merav Fima

Even in a month when war raged in Georgia, Amnesty International continued to focus on the Gaza Strip, persistently blaming Israel for ongoing Palestinian hardship.

Amnesty, in fact, issued harsher condemnations of Israel than of any party to the Georgian conflict. With a ceasefire holding between Israel and Hamas, resulting in a period of calm, Amnesty stubbornly continued to spew hollow publications repeating outdated allegations.

Moreover, Amnesty took pride in its relentless criticism of Israel, while the rest of the world rightly concerned itself with the unfolding crisis in Georgia. In a press release, the organization boasted: "With the ceasefire holding, the suffering in Gaza has fallen off the international news agenda. However, Amnesty International members continue to campaign." This "explanation" merely highlights Amnesty's obsession with Israel, regardless of the reality on the ground.

Regular readers of Amnesty's material are not fooled by their non-stop publications condemning Israel and can easily discern that they seldom reveal anything new. Many of its press releases are identical, except for minor alterations. Amnesty's ulterior motive appears to be to maintain a constant production rate of material denouncing Israel, regardless of actual developments.

For example, Amnesty's distasteful decision to continue issuing condemnations of Israel during a period of intense intra-Palestinian fighting clearly illustrates the point. Unsurprisingly, Amnesty failed to mention, let alone praise, Israel's commendable acceptance of Fatah members fleeing from Hamas.

While devoting so many of its resources to Gaza, at a time of acute suffering and human rights abuses in Georgia, Amnesty International failed to provide effective coverage of the Georgian conflict. Although one would reasonably expect Amnesty to immediately respond with urgency to such a crisis, raising awareness for its victims, Amnesty preferred to focus on its usual target: Israel.

For instance, on August 12, 2008, the organization released a statement headlined "Trapped – collective punishment in Gaza." An expanded version was re-issued on August 27, 2008. As NGO Monitor analysis has demonstrated, the report lacks evidence and credibility, largely ignores the context of terrorism, exploits international legal terminology, and presents data in a highly selective and distorted manner.

Concurrently, Amnesty released a series of vague and neutral statements calling on all sides of the conflict in the Caucuses to avoid harming civilians, without assuming a clear stance, nor providing comprehensive reporting on the events.

Lame response to Georgian conflict

Amnesty's scarce coverage of the war in Georgia is not the result of inaccessibility. Human Rights Watch managed to provide ongoing and insightful coverage, based on its delegation's observations. Such limp statements on Amnesty's part betray its commitment to the defense of every individual's human rights.

Disappointingly, Amnesty expressed less concern regarding the events in Georgia, despite the fact that a greater number of civilians were killed during that conflict than over the course of the Second Lebanon War in 2006. On that occasion, Amnesty rushed to condemn Israel in almost-daily publications. It did not hesitate to portray Israel as an aggressor and largely ignored the fact that civilians in northern Israel suffered a constant barrage of rockets launched by the Hizbullah terrorist organization.

Amnesty's lame response to the recent Georgian conflict, overshadowed by its focus on Israel, indicates that the Second Lebanon War simply served as an incentive for Amnesty to pursue its shameless Israel-bashing. Had its aversion to war been genuine, Amnesty would have responded as forcefully or even more vocally to the Georgian conflict.

Were it truly concerned with the universality of human rights, Amnesty would apply the same standards to all countries. Hence, Amnesty's aim appears clear: to persistently condemn Israel, even if it means neglecting those suffering in other, more pressing conflicts across the world.

The authors are researchers at NGO Monitor,

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