Is a donation to the NIF a withdrawal from the JNF?

November 16, 2011 by Danny Ginges
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No one can doubt the importance of the JNF’s role in the successful re-establishment of a Jewish State in Eretz Israel…writes Danny Ginges.

Over time the JNF’s role has changed from buying land to focusing on environmental and water initiatives, plus the development of the Negev. As a central player in the renewal of the Jewish State, it has been an obvious target by Israel’s enemies. With the establishment of NIF Australia, that battle against the JNF has now reached our own backyard.

One of NIF Australia’s goals for 2011/12 is raising funds for The Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality (NCF), to which Australians are being asked to contribute $22,000. This NIF grantee is following the footsteps of other NIF grantees by taking issue with Israel and its Zionist agenda, specifically lambasting the JNF to multiple UN committees whose goals seem to be the delegitimisation and censure of Israel. One only has to look at the NCF website to see the prominent position given to ‘UN & Reports’. In those reports you will find statements that virulently attack the JNF and its activities being carried out legally in the Negev.

Whether it’s BDS, the IDF or the JNF, the NIF needs to come clean and stop funding NGOs who attack the foundation of the Jewish state. Until then, the NIF is certainly Not Israel’s Friend.

Danny Ginges is President of Australians For A Secure Israel

Comments

57 Responses to “Is a donation to the NIF a withdrawal from the JNF?”
  1. Otto Waldmann says:

    It must be the length of this Steven Glass concentric non-sensical fest of futility that seems to preclude the main protagonist from recalling FACTS.
    According to reliable sources, NIF reps. have attended the Russell Tribunal.
    Id sumus: Michael Sfard in Barcelona 2010 and Emily Schaeffer in Cape Town just recently, 2011. Silly, isn’t it !!
    But hey, why complicate a farcical stance with reality checks !!??
    Steven Glass, it is over to you, but please do not forget to bring up the Declaration of Independence and how neither Sfard nor Schaeffer are relevant to your obsession of being absolutely right REGARDLESS.

  2. david singer says:

    To Steven Glass

    There are two questions I asked you that you have failed to answer:

    1. Why is NIF prepared to fund organisations that seek to boycott goods and services produced by Jews who live in the West Bank but bitterly opposes such a boycott if those Jews live in Tel Aviv or Haifa.

    Do you call that “equal rights” as the Declaration of Independence proclaims?

    2. Does any of the funds NIF receives from overseas come from foreign governments or foreign government agencies.?

    • Steven Glass says:

      1. Yes. It is a legitimate form of political opposition to the occupation. You are free to oppose it. The freedom to take a political position that is different from the political position of those who advocate against buying products from the settlements is a freedom guaranteed under the Declaration of Independence.

      2. Not relevant for reasons already given at considerable length.

      • david singer says:

        To Steven Glass

        1. The problem with your answer is that NIF has apparently not got the guts to call for a boycott of goods and services emanating from the West Bank – but is prepared to give money to other organisations to do just that.

        Why doesn’t NIF spend its money itself and in its own name actively calling for such a boycott – rather than giving its money to others to do its dirty work for it?

        2. Your answer is very evasive. All my question required was a simple “Yes” or “No” . Whether it is relevant or not is for others to determine.

        Come on Steven – does NIF receive money from overseas governments or government agencies? Yes or No.

        Your continuing refusal to answer this question will only entitle readers to draw their own conclusions.

  3. Danny Ginges says:

    Mr Glass,
    The only way an elected Israeli government would propose withdrawing to the 1967 borders with no security guarantees in place would be if they were raped into submission. I believe your guest David Landau suggested something to that effect when he spoke to Condoleezza Rice.

    • Steven Glass says:

      You’re probably right! That’s why I’d like to be able to speak out against it, were it to happen, even though I don’t live in Israel! But from your earlier posts it seems you don’t think I (or you) should do so.

      • Danny Ginges says:

        If I’ve given the impression in any of my posts that I’m against your right to criticise Israel, or anything else you feel passionate about, then let me clarify my position for you. i fully support your right to criticise Israel, just as I support your right to criticise Libya. But sending in NATO warplanes to kill Gaddafi in the name of democracy does cross a line for me (and no, I’m not blaming you or the NIF for anything happening in Libya).

  4. Steven Glass says:

    Mr Singer: I didn’t respond to your last two posts because they raise no new points. You continue to conflate the questions (1) whether BtS is anti-Zionist, and (2) whether it receives foreign funding. My answer to (1) is an unequivocal “no”, and my answer to (2) is, “it doesn’t matter”. I accept you may have a different view, but as I said earlier, I base my vision of Zionism on the aspirations in the Declaration of Independence. I’m happy for you to have a different one and I won’t call you anti-Zionist for that. (Incidentally there are several of my posts you haven’t responded to, but I read nothing into that. I’m sure you have responses and I expect I might disagree with some of them, but the discussion has to end somewhere.)

    Mr Ginges: It is naive in the extreme to think that Israel-bashers don’t read all sorts of websites, like Jerusalem Post, Haaretz and others where robust debate about Israel’s future and the nature of its society take place — including the website you are reading at this very moment. The fact that people want to bash Israel does not result from differences of opinion held by genuine and well-meaning supporters of Israel, and it is nonsense to think or pretend to the world that Israel and its global supporter base is monolithic. The fact that it is a vibrant and engaged democracy — still the only one in the middle east — should be celebrated and is demonstrated through the very debate we are having now. If an Israeli government were elected tomorrow that proposed withdrawing to the 1967 borders with no security guarantees in place, would you continue to assert that we should stay silent?

    Mr Tal: You should have no doubt — none — about whether NIF took part in the South African tribunal. It did not. I cannot be more direct than that! If you have evidence to the contrary, please let us have it. If you don’t, then please end the false smear campaign.

    • Otto Waldmann says:

      Steven Glass seems to insist on the farcical determinism that a Declaration of ideals is IN FACT a statement of immediacy, an incontestable evidence of attained FACTS. Attenuating intervening circumstances, such as the “incidental” viscerally anti Zionist arab presence in Israel propper and environs, does NOT seem to be included in Steven Glass’ and his fellow NIF mannics’ calculations. What is , in actual FACT, most incongruous is that the same Steven Glass relies on mere official statements, such as those constantly employed by NIF/NIFAu with blind reference to the same Declaration of Independence, as constant deflecting retorts to any criticism, a tactic meant to elevate NIF, a clearly anti Zionist detractory entity, to the arrogantly false stature of upholders to soemthing, indeed, precious to genuine Zionsits. I must resort once again to the “banality” of a Steven Glass immersed in sophisms of irrelevant reductions.And, since he is happy to fill in endless paragraphs of selfdeception, one wonders if this type of redundant entertainment is realy worth pursuing.
      Just for a record known to all, NIF supported the palestinian so called Tribunal. For someone like Judge Goldstone to dismiss this concoction of miserable anti Semitic bile,this exerecise in hatred, it is clear that we are dealing here with the extremmes of disfunction. For anyone,including Steven Glass, to attempt at defending the same NIF, I could only wonder if healthy rationale does prevail in some Jewish centrifugal quarters, NIF and their advocates glaringly among them.

      • Steven Glass says:

        As Mr Waldman’s posts keep getting sillier, attacking me and making overtly racist comments rather than sensibly debating the issues, responding to them becomes less and less necessary. I do however need to point out that the allegation that NIF supported the Russell Tribunal is incorrect.

        • Otto Waldmann says:

          The recycled redundant regurgitation of the dominant argument of the Declaration of Independence, a dialectic “saviour ” tattooed on Mr. Glass’ relentless postings, has reached the respectable level of having a park bench dedicated to this personal quest on futility.
          It should be a special bench where the birds are feeding the sitting loyal NIF advocates.

          I would honestly attack a worthy idea, rather than the person sweating to produce one.

          Show me a racisist comment for I can show you debilitatingly senseless
          barracking for offensive anti Jewish comments under the guise of NIF “idealism”.

  5. Otto Waldmann says:

    Steven Glass,

    I am impressed, seriously,by your candid expression of passion for Israel.
    It seems, however, that you misunderstood my reference to the Declaration of Independence and the manner in which it reflects on the ground the current Israeli realities.
    The ideals in the Decl. are yet to be realised. In the meantime( a meantime centuries long ) Israel is faced with massive existential problems all caused principally by palestinians, their cohorts of all manner.
    NIF is at the forefront of creating serious obstacles to the realisation of the fundamental desiderata on which the very Declaration is based.
    I do hope that you will be able to reflect on the seriousness of the detractory activities NIF is engaged in,aimed at the very fabric of Israeli society.
    I reckon you should take a deep breath, do not rush to object to critical views of NIF and see to what extent consistent attacks against such a delicate socio-olitical structure, as Israel’s, could possibly be constructive.

    otto waldmann

  6. Danny Ginges says:

    Steven, you’re entitled to whatever vision of Zionism you like. Israelis that agree with you can vote Meretz. A couple do. That’s democracy. As a member of NIF Australia’s board I hope you can encourage your organisation to work within Israeli democracy by appealing to Israeli society directly, rather than by fomenting world opinion against it.

  7. david singer says:

    ToSteven Glass

    I note my last two posts addressed to you remain unanswered. Any reason ?

    The NIF Board is certainly comprised of eminent people with impeccable Zioist credentials – but they are human and can make mistakes – some of which they have recognised and rectified.

    However they need to teke a further critical look at some of the organisations they are still financially supporting and make additional deletions.

    While NIF supports groups like Breaking The Silence, Mossawa and the Negev Coexistence Forum the controversy is set to continue.

  8. Steven Glass says:

    It all comes down to your definition of Zionism. Mine is to fulfil the goals and aspirations articulated in the Declaration of Independence. Mr Waldman stands ready to trash that document. He can have his version of Zionism; I prefer Ben Gurion’s.

    On Ben Gurion’s definition of Zionism, NIF is quintessentially Zionist. None of the organisations it supports is anti-Zionist because none of them calls for an end to the State as the Jewish national homeland (some call for constitutional protections for the Arab minority, but that’s not inconsistent with Zionism, it is consistent with the vision expressed in the Declaration of Independence.)

    You are free to attack me for being an ignoramus who supports the NIF, and you may well be right. But you haven’t explained how its board could be comprised of so many intelligent people with impeccable Zionist credentials — former members of the Knesset, former senior Israeli government advisers, members of the IDF, Israeli philanthropists and businessmen and women, etc.

    Lets agree that we have different visions of Zionism. I don’t agree with yours, and while I might be critical of your vision I won’t attack it or you as non-Zionist. All the NIF, and its thousands of (Zionist) supporters in Israel, the US, Canada, the UK and now here in Australia, asks is for the same courtesy.

  9. Otto Waldmann says:

    Steven Glass,who emerges as thegenuine, unadulterated mouthpiece of NIF has ran out of arguments, if he ever had any in defence of a Zionist NIF.
    Up and redundant already on the “philosophical” flag pole of NIF is the perennial let motif on Israel’s Declaration of Independence.
    Mr. Glass, reducing the complexities of an organisation seriously comprimised throughout the Zionist landscape by habitually refering to the fix notions of the Declaration simply closes the door of discussion/dialectics.
    To the incipient partisan of ideas suffocated by ethical impotence, sending the counterparts constantly to idealised propositions, as most of the Declaration is,and,thus, ignoring the dynamics of concrete realities, shal always reneder the said participant irrelevant,redundant,completely left out of pragmatic considerations.
    In other words, Steven and his mates may continue to promote their farcical version of Jewish commitements,but their rhetoric has been proven time and again hollow,devoid of any relationship to daily realities of an Israel assaulted on its basic existence, an existence which is so sadly distant from the Zionists dreams of a country in which ideals of harmony among all, security and respect for the Jew by Israel’s neighbours and some 20% of its Arab citizens has a long way to materialise.Until such time,the Declaration of Independence cannot be called upon as a tangible reality.
    Steven Glass acts as if he either is not aware of who the enemies of Israel are or that he considers that Zionism’s raison d’ettre is the very creation of its palestinian foe.

  10. david singer says:

    To Steven Glass

    You state:

    “Moreover, the Declaration of Independence guarantees equal rights and free speech (conscience) to Arab and Jewish citizens of Israel without first subjecting them to any test of their political viewpoints. The thing about free speech is that it is free for everyone, not just for those whose opinions you agree with.”

    I agree entirely with this comment.

    However Zionists funding organisations with anti-Zionist objectives is remarkably naive and foolish. These organisations are free to speak their minds within the limits of the law in Israel – but for Jews to be asked to support those organisations financially is the height of stupidity.

    Do you agree?

    You might also explain why NIF is also prepared to fund organisations that seek to boycott goods and services produced by Jews who live in the West Bank but bitterly opposes such a boycott if those Jews live in Tel Aviv or Haifa.

    Do you call that “equal rights” as the Declaration of Independence proclaims?

    NIF has still got a lot of soul-searching to do.

  11. david singer says:

    To Steven Glass

    You state:

    ” how do you identify the orgsanisations with suspected anti-Zionist objectives? You do so by saying they are funded by foreign governments!”

    No I don’t.

    I identify those organizations with anti-Zionist objectives by looking at what they actually do. Not all of them are funded by foreign Governments – but at least one – Breaking The Silence is.

    NIF funds Breaking The Silence. NIF needs to stop such funding.

    Does NIF receive any funding from foreign governments?

    Can we have an answer to that question?

    Whilst any organization with anti-Zionist objectives is funded by NIF the criticism will continue.

  12. Steven Glass says:

    Mr Waldman is right in saying I know gurnischt about Zionist history and philosophy compared with the many learned minds that participate in this website. I don’t ask or expect that anyone will be influenced by my views, but I do defer to David Ben Gurion and the 3 dozen other Zionists who signed Israel’s Declaration of Independence, which says:

    “THE STATE OF ISRAEL… will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture…”

    That sounds pretty multicultural to me! So I suspect ben Gurion would take issue with the claim that Zionosm is inconsistent with multiculturalism. In fact I think he’d say the opposite.

    Moreover, the Declaration of Independence guarantees equal rights and free speech (conscience) to Arab and Jewish citizens of Israel without first subjecting them to any test of their political viewpoints. The thing about free speech is that it is free for everyone, not just for those whose opinions you agree with.

    So, yes, Mr Hersh is right when he says that I disagree with some of what the Greens advocate, and I disagree with everything the League of Rights has ever said. But I am pleased and proud to live in a society where they have the freedom to say it, because the right they have to promote their ideas is what ensures that I have the right to promote mine. Everyone’s contribution to the melting pot of ideas, combined with their right to vote according to their conscience having heard and considered all those ideas, is the keystone to democracy.

    Once you start legislating for which ideas are permissible and which are not, you are on a slippery slope to tyrany — as every tinpot dictator of a third world country knows (and exploits) well. Sure, the price is that we have to hear things we don’t always like — and may find offensive — but the benefits far outweigh that, as Israel’s founders well understood.

  13. Otto Waldmann says:

    Sometmes I am given to long phrases which include a multitude of ideas. While alrelated logically,it may be hard to clearly understand their intended meaning. This is why I feel I should explain, again, what I meant in certain passages of my last posting.

    – Israel contains a variety of attitudes held by its Jewish citizens. Some are consistent with the recognised Zionist principles and some, fortunately only few, are departing from the known Zionist norms. There are, of course, reasons for the said centrifugal tendencies. In the main is the influence of other ethical principles which, while in appearance similar to Jewisn traditional ethics,they are, in fact, compeeting with Judaic principles.
    The IDF ex servicemen/women determibed to “improve” the behaviour of their fellow soldiers have derailled their necessary intentions into a detractive exercise AGAINST the body of Israeli deffence in all its vast meanings and sectors. Aligning themselves with other entities clearly defined by an uncompromising enmity against all things Israeli and, implicetely, Jewish, these voices of objection no longer provide a unseful service to the necessary advancements of a better Israel.
    The general tone of people like Steven Glass is one of blanket objection to established Israeli functional entities. While progessing genuine concern they do not seem to realise that at this juncture of overwhelming antagonism towards Israel, the most useful contribution to the historic improvements to Israel is a clearly stated and visibly satisfying attitude of rejection of all those forces bent on destroying our own Jewish State. They do not act accordingly and promote constant anatgonism to almost ALL traditional Jewish institutions and respective loyal voices.Their aggressiveness is far too evident.It is a disturbing combination ( absurd in essence ) of wanting to be a part of the Jewish fold, yet fighting the same. It is a combination of a quest for communal prevalence while rejecting the same communal main political directions. Some kind of programme for radical “improvements” .
    More needs to be said…..
    NIF is quite distinct. It combines quite cleverly the types of “good” initiative with others which are so clearly destructive that, in the final wash, only the destructive ones can possibly define this , effectively, nefarious concoction of mannic creatures.

  14. Otto Waldmann says:

    Steven Glass is applying his tools of trade quite skilfully, ergo the articulate use of …transparent sophisms tightly tailored to his extrapollations. Let’s look at some:

    – YES , NIF is incredibly transparent about the sources of its funding, openly admitting also the direction of its own subsequent funding of NGO,including the ones the “other” Zionists, say Peter Singer, Hersh, Ginges, Winter and Waldmann seem to object so virulently. Is therefore NIF honest ! And how !! Reason for its honesty is obviuous. Considering the prevalent number of anti Israel entities and private individuals, it is very much in NIF’s favour to SATISFY those who donate to NIF in order that NIF carries out ANTI Israel activities that the funds they part with are directed in their favoured field, i.e. AGAINST Israel !!!! So much for transparency !

    – Breaking the Silence DOES contain in principle ex IDF servicemen/women. Sadly Israel is harbouring vociferous groups acting with the intention of bettering their society. Steven Glass should reflect, though, upon the liberal application of “fundamental” principles within civil societies. It stands to reason ( and a considerate reason at that ) that ignoring the vast differences between civil societies, even if all part of the vast generic of “democratic” behoves fundamental errors. A fundamental error is to consider that Israel is identical to, say, Holland, Australia etc. Lst time Australia was “hosting” ethic/religious groups bent on destroying it with the strong assistance of all its neighbours was…NEVER. Same goes for ALL 1st world countries that champion comprehensive human rights, democracy in totum.
    Failing to notice the exceptional circumstances Israel has been functioning for as long as WE ALL know, may help Steven Glass in developing his Zinist existential farcical structures,but willnot change the objective tangibles of an Israel assaulted from all direction, INCLUDING some “well intended” Jewish quarters.

    – failing also to notice that the championing of “universal human rights”by such groups as the Israeli and adjoined Arabs upon the constituent parts of Israeli society as a means to undermine Israel is not simply the natural exercise of prerogatives, but the CLEAR quest for destroying precisely what ZIONISM isa all about. If Steven Glass would attempt at saying that the “multicultural Israel” is the logical equivalent of the Zionist he adheres to,then we all will understand how much HE understant the tennest of Zionism. Say, in one word: GURNISCHT !!!
    The canards of Israel NOT allowing “other”groups to enjoy the French Canadian or Maori type of freedom is like imagining that the Moddle East has moved somewhere between the Arctic Circle and Soth Pacific !!!
    There we have the wide parrameters of Steven Glass’ geopolitical largesse!!
    Acting as if the Arabs in Israel and environs are equally concerned about Zionism and those dedicated to it, as the Jewish contingent of Israel, is not just farcical, but seriously deficient in all respects and Steven Glass should contemplate the prevailing circumstance in a comprehensive way before he puts ten left thumbs on the interned dial !!
    At least we now have a full name, who could be my late mate, John’s Son.

  15. david singer says:

    To Steven Glass

    You state:

    ” NIF is to be commended for publishing details of where it spends its money, exposing itself to scrutiny, and then when errors are pointed out by those who read the published material, admitting the errors and taking steps to redress them.”

    When NIF removes groups like the Negev Coexistence Forum, Breaking The Silence, Adallah, Mossawa and Mada al Carmel from its list of beneficiaries then perhaps NIF will receive a different reception in the Australian community.

    NIF has been given heaps of information on the insidious nature of these organizations in the posts so far. NIF needs to remove them without further ado.

    You also state:

    ” Let’s put the overseas funding issue to one side for the moment. It misses the point”.

    No it doesn’t.

    When that funding comes from overseas Governments then one should be very concerned at why those Governments should be seeking to subvert the sovereign state of Israel by funding organizations in Israel with distinctly anti-Zionist objectives.

    It might also help restore NIF credibility to confirm that none of the funds it receives from overseas comes from foreign governments or foreign government agencies.

    • Steven Glass says:

      So in a nutshell you are saying that if money comes to Israel from foreign governments (like the US and Germany) it is OK, but when it comes from foreign governments who support orghanisations with “anti-Zionist objectives” it is not. So far so good, but how do you identify the orgsanisations with suspected anti-Zionist objectives? You do so by saying they are funded by foreign governments!

      The circularity is self evident. That’s why I say, lets put overseas funding to one side, because if we don’t, then we have to call into question US military aid for Israel as well (which none of us wants to do). Instead, let’s focus on whether organisations are anti-Zionist not because of who funds them, but because of what they do.

      As I’ve said below, BtS is comprised of patriotic Israeli servicemen and women, Jewish citizens of Israel, who have, more than any of us, done their part to defend their country. They are drawing attention to conduct which, if true, is inconsistent with the values of a democratic society committed to the rule of law for all its citizens, Jewish and non-Jewish alike — values contained in the Declaration of Independence itself. You might be discomforted by their testimonies (as am I), but they can hardly be accused of being anti-Zionist.

      • Peter Hersh says:

        Steven,

        Your argument is very clever but let’s look at who the aid is paid to. In the case of the US Govt the aid is paid as it should be to the Israeli Govt and in the case of Germany its paid as reparations to non-political NGOs and to individuals.

        The aid that David is clearly referring to is paid by Governments directly to political NGOs who in many cases use the funds to defame Israel.

        Let’s compare it to Australia and let say that a foreign Govt was to directly fund the Greens, would you see that as a problem and if that does not worry you change the Greens to the League of Rights.

        There is a clear difference between these types of funding.

        Now as far as BtS is concerned I again ask you to read

        http://www.jwire.com.au/featured-articles/european-funded-breaking-the-silence-alienates-israelis/20563.

        You have now repeated that
        “ BtS is comprised of patriotic Israeli servicemen and women, Jewish citizens of Israel, who have, more than any of us, done their part to defend their country. “

        for some reason you feel that then allows them to do as their funders please and defame the IDF and other people who just like them are patriotic Israeli servicemen and women, Jewish citizens of Israel, who have, more than any of us, done their part to defend their country. It’s does no such thing.

        I again repeat please look into any NGO you are going to fund in Israel. Do not accept what their website says they are doing, do some research and do not trust NIF to do the research for you. If there is a doubt about an organisation but you like what they purport to be doing ask the ZFA or one of its affiliates to find another organisation that does equivalent work.

  16. Peter Hersh says:

    Steven,

    Just like the term “free speech” does not mean free to say anything, in my mind it is “OK” for any organisation or person to speak publically outside Israel both in support and against any issue or in fact the State itself but there are limits.

    The issue here is different. Here we have a body that says that’s illegal act were done by members of the IDF but they are not prepared to take those cases to the Israeli courts they have rather produced an English language website and as stated in an article @ http://www.jwire.com.au/featured-articles/european-funded-breaking-the-silence-alienates-israelis/20563 “In the past year, BtS has addressed the Irish Parliament, a crowd in Washington that included the United Arab Emirates UN Ambassador and the First Secretary of Pakistan to the UN, and numerous college campuses in the U.S., among other similar engagements. At one event in Sweden, BtS activist Yonatan Shapiro even stated, “We are the oppressors, we are the ones that are violating human rights on a daily basis. We are creating the terror against us, basically.””

    The clear aim of this organization is to effect world opinion against the IDF.

    I am not shooting the messenger, just questioning their reasons for broadcasting the message and I am trying to make it clear to those people who may be inclined to support NIF and its grantees be careful, very careful as to where your money is going and if in doubt give your money directly to the organisation in Israel that you support, but only after checking that what they purport to do is actually what they are doing.

  17. Danny Ginges says:

    ‘NIF is one of the most transparent Zionist fundraising organisations around.’ Really Steven? Lets take a look at some of groups the NIF funds: Mossawa, whose constitution rejects Israel as a Jewish state, calling for the eradication of the Israeli flag and national anthem; Mada al-Carmel, which supports a Palestinian right of return and whose director Nadim Rouhana wrote in Foreign Policy (April 22, 2010): “it would be politically and morally wrong for the United States to support recognition of Israel as a Jewish state”; and Adalah, whose constitution calls for an end to the Jewish right of return. Transparent I buy. Zionist? Well, I don’t know your definition of Zionism, but it doesn’t seem to have very much to do with the rights of the Jewish people to self-determination in their own homeland.

    • Steven Glass says:

      NIF’s opening statement of its principles says: “The New Israel Fund is dedicated to the vision of the State of Israel as the sovereign expression of the right of self-determination of the Jewish people and as a democracy dedicated to the full equality of all its citizens and communities.” That sounds pretty Zionist to me! NIF’s board comprises a former member and deputy speaker of the Knesset, a former adviser to Prime Minister Yithak Rabin, and a range of Israeli academics, businessmen and women, and philanthropists. They speak Hebrew in their daily lives, live, work and vote in Israel, and serve in the IDF. I trust you do not suggest they are not Zionists.

      By “Mossawa’s Constitution” I assume you mean its position paper, “An Equal
      Constitution for All?” This document does not call for the destruction of the Jewish state, but for constitutional recognition of its Arab minority (yes, including some sort of recognition of Arabs within the Israeli flag — not something I’d necessarily support, but hardly a seditious position. Flags have been known to change from time to time!) The debate is not altogether dissimilar to the present debate in Australia over calls for constitutional recognition of our indigenous minority. Calling for a change to the flag (in a democracy after all!) is hardly a reason to withdraw funding from an organisation that does amazing community-building work for a disadvantaged minority.

      By “Adalah’s Constitution” I assume you mean the discussion paper issued by Adlah in 2007 proposing a democratic constitution for a multi-cultural state. It proposes protections for Israel’s Arab citizens that have similarities with the constitutional protections afforded to French speaking citizens of Canada and Maori citizens in New Zealand. Again, I do not agree with all of the Adalah proposals but certainly many of them are uncontentious, and the more contentious ones are expressly put forward for discussion purposes only, with a variety of options offered. Meanwhile, Adalah does very important work in assisting Arab citizens of Israel to make legal claims to enforce their rights.

      Mada el Carmel is no longer an NIF grantee because its position is inconsistent with NIF principles.

  18. Steven Glass says:

    NIF is one of the most transparent Zionist fundraising organisations around. Their audited annual accounts are available on line for free at http://www.nif.org/about/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=51:financial-statements-index-page&catid=10:general. These accounts identify each grantee and the amount they received. So it is quite untrue to say that when you give to NIF you dont know where your money goes (in contrast with, say, UIA and JNF, which do not make their accounts public. All fundraising bodies have administrative expenses, but at least with NIF you know exactly how much is spent on admin; with other organisations we are left wondering).

    Breaking the Silence, too, is transparent. Their website identifies exactly where they get their money from, and where it goes. They, too, publish their annual accounts on line.

    The comment that Breaking the Silence publishes only in English and not in Hebrew is wrong and displays an unfortunate ignorance of the organisation that you seem so keen to attack. Have a look here for their Hebrew language website: http://www.shovrimshtika.org/ Breaking the Silence was an organisation started by Israelis (courageous ones) for Israelis, and their material was published in Hebrew before it appeared in English.

    Attacking the fact that much of their funding comes from overseas is odd. very odd, in fact, for a country that receives so much military aid from the United States, has received huge sums by way of raparations from Germany, and was founded by organisations like the JNF which raise substantially all of their funds abroad. (That continues to this day, with American benefactors being generous and active funders of the settler movement.) Let’s put the overseas funding issue to one side for the moment. It misses the point.

    Here is the real point: not one of you has suggested that the soldiers who have given their heart-wrenching testimonies to Breaking the Silence are wrong or are not telling the truth. Not one of you has suggested that they are anything but great patriots who have risked their lives for the land we love. Even if only 50%, or 10% — even if only 1% — of their testimonies are true, does it not behoove a democratic society committed to justice and the rule of law to inquire into the allegations and act upon those that are shown to be true? Or do you guys all think it is a better country if it — ostrich like — turns a blind eye the allegations and allows the perpetrators to get away with awful abuses? Is that an IDF you can be proud of?

    • Peter Hersh says:

      Steven,

      I stand corrected on the Hebrew website. The issue though is what is the purpose of this organisation, and why have an English site at all?

      If it is, as you suggest, to right wrongs allegedly perpetrated by the IDF then I suggest the way to do it is through the normal legal system not to make allegations and then not to allow them to be tested in an Israeli court of law.

      Then to make matters worse, in my opinion, this group makes these allegations outside of Israel. Can you suggest any other reason for doing this other than to denigrate the IDF and the State of Israel?

      It does “behoove a democratic society committed to justice and the rule of law to inquire into the allegations and act upon those that are shown to be true?” and Israel and the IDF do.

      As far as NIF is concerned being transparently wrong is still being wrong. NIF has funded organisations, in the past that even it now says should not be funded. It continues to fund organisations that many members of our community would find beyond the pale and even you have suggested that some people may not be happy with some of its grantees.

      I am simple asking why we need NIFA what does it give us here in Australia apart from helping to split the community and bring out speakers like David Landau.

      I repeat my call, if you want to donate to a grantee of NIFA do so direct, you will save them the NIFA and NIF admin fees and hopefully prevent future visits from people like David Landau.

      • Steven Glass says:

        Why is it ok for people (Israeli and non-Israeli Jews alike) who support settlements and the continuing occupation to speak publicly outside Israel, but not ok for those who want to draw attention to the less palatable consequences of the occupation to do so? Particularly when polls consistently show that 70% of Israelis want an end to the occupation?

        And why is NIF accused of “splitting the community” yet pro-settler organisations who represent a minority view but promote their cause vociferously are not accused of the same thing?

        And why is it ok for supporters of Greater Israel to publish websites in English, but it is not ok for Breaking the Silence to do so?

        You say that “transparently wrong is still wrong”, but without the transparency how would you ever know you are wrong? How do we know which decisions of the less transparent Zionist organisations are wrong (surely there must be some, no-one is perfect, but we who donate to non-transparent organisations will never know what their errors are or if they have been corrected). NIF is to be commended for publishing details of where it spends its money, exposing itself to scrutiny, and then when errors are pointed out by those who read the published material, admitting the errors and taking steps to redress them.

        The material published by Breaking the Silence is awful, uncomfortable and confronting. But we supporters of Israel need to know about it — not because we hate the country but because we love it and want it to be the best it can be. I am glad they publish it in English because otherwise I wouldn’t know about it. (Perhaps you are fluent in Hebrew, I don’t know. But most of us are not.)

        If abuses of the kind reported by Breaking the Silence are happening, it is not the fault of Breaking the Silence, it is the fault of those who perpetrate them. Don’t shoot the messenger! Especially when the messenger is a group of patriotic servicemen and women who have risked their lives to defend the country we support. Instead, find the culprits so that the IDF, and Israel more broadly, can live up to the values we share.

  19. Peter Hersh says:

    Steven,

    I actually have a better idea, if anyone feels that a project supported by NIFA is the sort of project they want to support, support it directly. NIFA cannot provide you with tax deductable receipt so there is no advantage in giving your funds through them. Go to their websites and there is clear instruction on how to do it. In most cases it’s as simple as making a donation to NIFA.

    There are disadvantages though:

    1) NIFA or NIF in Israel or both may be taking a % of your donation, so by making the donation directly you are not risking an admin fee.

    2) The is no chance that any of your funds will be used to bring to Australia people like David Landau.

  20. david singer says:

    To Steven Glass

    Regrettably your good news is not good news.

    Donors give to NIF without really knowing where their money goes. That apparently goes for you too as your spirited defence of Break The Silence clearly indicates.

    What would donors (including yourself) do if they knew the following about Break The Silence :

    Breaking the Silence is funded through various grants it receives from Israeli and international donor community. In 2007, Breaking the Silence received a total of NIS 500,000, and in 2008 it was able to raise NIS 1.5 million, around €275,000. This included funding from the New Israel Fund amounting to NIS 229,949 and funding from international governments. In 2008, according to the NGO’s presentation to the Jerusalem Post, the British Embassy in Tel Aviv gave the organization NIS 226,589 (c €40,000); the Dutch Embassy donated €19,999; and the European Union gave €43,514.In addition, during 2008, Spain is reported to have provided tens of thousands of euros to fund patrols run by Breaking the Silence in Hebron”

    What are foreign governments doing by injecting funds into an Israeli organization and meddling in the internal affairs of a sovereign State and what is NIF doing giving encouragement to such foreign activity by also giving money to such an organization?

    Sorry Steven – suggesting I cherry pick and give to the good parts of NIF is like asking me to eat an apple full of worms.

    NIF needs to drop Break the Silence and other organizations like Negev Coexistence Forum that are politically motivated but pretend to operate under the guise of humanitarian organizations.

    The NIF might then be a worthy recipient of donations.

    Until it does I for one shall not donate a cent.

  21. david singer says:

    To Steven Glass

    I suppose your generosity towards NIF will continue despite its funding of organizations that call for the abolition of Hatikvah (which you no doubt sing at all commual functions), and the change of the Israeli flag (which you wave on Yom Haatzmaut).

    Trying to understand your logic that enables you to support the JNF whilst supporting an organization that is actively seeking to undermine the JNF is mind boggling

    • Steven Glass says:

      Fortunately, I have good news for you, Mr Singer.

      NIF will accept donations that are directed only to organisations supported by you as donor. If you want to exclude the Negev Co-existence Forum or Breaking the Silence as recipients of your hard-earned money you are able to do so. As you have rightly acknowledged, organisations of this kind are only some of NIF’s grantees. So you can exclude them (and any others you don’t like) yet at the same time provide support for the hundreds of NIF grantees doing important social, humanitarian and environmental work. The conflict in values that you are concerned about is, in truth, non-existent.

      I would urge you to give generously and direct your donation to organisations whose work you support, in order that their work can continue. Encouraging people to boycott NIF altogether will only starve these wonderful organisations of funds and is in the interests of no-one.

      I feel I should add this, too: I find the attack on Breaking the Silence deeply disturbing. This is an organisation comprised of ex-Israeli servicemen — men and women who, unlike any of us in this country, have put their lives in harm’s way to defend the country we all love and support. Personally I find it shameful that these people have been so vilified by Jews and Zionists around the world. It is true that the material they publish is confronting — very confronting — but it is the essence of a truly democratic society that it is able to allow its members to criticise, and that it can investigate difficult and confronting allegations when they are made, and engage in self reflection if they are proven. You are free of course to challenge what Breaking the Silence says, but to attack them for what they do, to overlook the enormous service they have done for the Jewish state at risk to their own lives, and to deprive them of funds, is contrary to everything that the State of Israel stands for.

      Steven

      • Paul Winter says:

        I find Breaking the Silence’s practice of revealing mysteries unto us anonymously, most disturbing.

      • Danny Ginges says:

        Well done Steven, you’ve just pointed out another NIF grantee undermining Israeli democracy. Breaking The Silence, who you claim represent the ‘essence of a truly democratic society’ publish their ‘very confronting’ reports in English, not Hebrew. Not very convenient for the internal investigation you suggest, but most convenient for publications like The Independent and the New York Review of Books among others who have published their allegations verbatim. The fact that they get most of their funding from the European Union also suggests that this is yet another way some NIF grantees use foreign interference to undermine Israeli democracy.

  22. david singer says:

    To Ann Fink

    I have never suggested NIF is all bad.

    Their trouble is they choose to financially support some organizations whose aims are political – under the guise of being humanitarian – and whose interests are to denigrate and delegitimize the Jewish state.

    I note you have not taken the opportunity to dispute my criticism of the Negev Coexistence Forum in attacking to seek and undermine the JNF – which is a perfect example of what I claim. Your silence is deafening.

    NIF supports Breaking The Silence – another group supposedly humanitarian but with a distinct political agenda – being funded to pursue that agenda.

    NIF needs to take stock and decide what it is – a political organization or an organization pledged to advancing humanitarian rights in Israel by pursuing such aims within Israel and not in international fora.

    Until it does anyone seeking to financially support it in Australia should refuse to do so.

  23. Otto Waldmann says:

    Steven Glass is spruiking the anxiety anodyne “commitement” to human idependent agency. And why not ?!! How can ANYONE criticise ANYONE for their choices !!! In his generous social texture set of beliefs, stark conflicts of reason are perfectly OK. How can I criticise someone, for insatnce,for harbouring , say, hatred against Steven Glass because of certain individual particulars, take his assumed ( by me as I don’t know him personally ) Jewishness. Anybody who feels like attacking in any way Steven Glass should be free to do so and that is incredibly according to Steven Glass himself.

  24. Peter Hersh says:

    One good way a judge a group is to see who recommends them. I was just doing some research and went to the Jews for Justice for Palestininians website. I would hope that most thinking people would find this group beyond the pale. They helpfuly have a set of links to what they call “related organisations”. The list is long but not varied. It appears to be a very long list of anti-Israel groups from the UK, the US and Israel. It did not surprise me, and considering that NIF either has in the past or is now funding some of the organisations on the list, to find the New Israel Fund on the list.

    What do they say about what happens when you lie with dogs…. ?

  25. Steven Glass says:

    It would appear that no-one on this thread other than perhaps Anne Fink will donate to the NIF.

    That’s great. That’s their decision and it is not to be criticised.

    I will give to the NIF and will continue, as I have done all my life, to give to the JNF as well. Many others will do the same. Others still will give to NIF alone. Many of those will be people who do not presently give to the JNF because, for whatever reason, they do not feel the JNF is aligned with their personal values. That decision, too, is not to be criticised.

    The point is: Israel is the winner. No person or organisation has a monopoly of thought or civic action in a democracy, and the advent of NIF provides diversity and the opportunity to connect with many more people in our community and to raise more funds for Israel.

    Steven

    (PS: it is true of course that Bedouins have the same judicial rights as other citizens of Israel. But they are a seriously disadvantaged community, and without help from organisations funded by the NIF they would not have the resources to avail themselves of the judicial system. If you think they should be exercising their democratic rights under the Israeli judicial system, as I do, please donate generously to NIF at http://www.nif.org.au and ask that your donation be directed to the Negev Co-Existence Forum for Civil Equality, which is working hard to ensure that Bedouin citizens get the same access to justice in Israel’s democracy as other Israeli citizens.

  26. Ann Fink says:

    Here is another example of how NIF is “endangering” Israel….by helping to enable Bedouin children to receive educational facilities, equal to those to which Jewish children are entitled.

    http://www.nif.org/media-center/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1253:bedouin-childrens-strike-wakes-up-education-officials&catid=13:stories

    The Bedouin are Israeli citizens. They have the same rights (so far) as any other Israeli citizen including to the right to housing, education, health and social services. NIF supports their entitlement to claim these rights.

    The Australian govt. also fought the Aboriginal rights to native title. The Jewish community in Australia is justly proud of the part played by Jewish jurists in securing aboriginal rights and native title. What is the problem in supporting Bedouin rights in Israel?

  27. Norman Trubik says:

    The NIF is dangerous to Israel. Any person who loves Israel should never contribute anything to that organization!!

  28. david singer says:

    To Ann Fink

    Quit the spin and look at the facts:

    This is what the Negev Coexistence Forum (NCF) told the UNHCR on 31 August 2011:

    “However,we take, this opportunity to draw the Committee’s attention to the activities of the Jewish National Fund (JNF). Despite the continued message from the JNF that it bears no responsibility for the repeated destruction of Al Arakib, its role since the publication of the list of issues in December 2010 has been clearly exposed.

    The NCF has long held the view that the JNF’s forestation activities in the area surrounding Al Arakib and its activities to develop the Ambassadors Forest were behind the demolitions of the village, which began on 27 July 2010.

    These suspicions were strengthened by the Israeli Land Authority’s Development Director Shlomo Tsizer who was quoted in mid-­‐January 2011 saying that the area was being prepared for planting,directly implicating the JNF in the ongoing attacks”

    NCF can say whatever it likes. Israel is a democracy. No objection with that.

    But do Jews have to fund its activities to make these slanderous allegations – not to the Israeli law authorities – but by approaching an outside body to interfere in the internal affairs of Israel?

    Ann – you and Miriam Fligelman Levy may have warm and cuddly feelings about NCF. I don’t.

    Attacking JNF for allegedly illegal activities to the UN is beyond the pale.

    I bet Miriam Fligelman Levy is not aware of this attempt to denigrate the JNF – one of the pillars in Israel’s establishment. and its continued development.

    NIF Australia has to explain why it is raising $22000 for NCF to fund it and allow it to continue to make these attacks on the JNF.

    You and anyone attending their unauthorized fund raising functions should ask the same questions.

    I am sure the 700 people that attended the JNF function at Randwick racecourse just ten days ago would certainly take a dim view of NIF funding NCF.

  29. Paul Winter says:

    David Singer is correct; published reports on the Russell Tribunal on Palestine state that NIF’s legal advisor, Michael Sfard was indeed a witness at that Israel bashing farce.

    Of equal concern is that when I challenged the election of Robin Margo as a General Franchise Deputy at the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies plenun last Tuesday, the President ruled that I would have to put my objection is writing and he ruted that I could not state my reason for objecting to Margo’s election to the plenum.

    I will of course put my reason to challenge Margo’s election which is based on the NIF’s funding policies and hostile acts like that of Sfard, contradicting the Board’s Constitution, specifically section 3(c). In my letter I also intend to challenge the President’s ruling in not allowing me to communicate my concerns to the Plenum.

  30. Ann Fink says:

    In what way is cooperation and the development of ties between the Arab, Bedouin and Jewish citizens of the Negev a threat to the state of Israel? Danny Ginges claims that the NCF and NIF are direct threat to the state. How so? The Bedouin have made a significant contribution to the security of the state since its inception. Some of the problems they face in today’s society arise from the policy of non consultation with Bedouin leaders with regard to rights to lands and the recognition of Bedouin settlements. The Bedouin, are Israeli citizens. They have equal rights under the laws of the State. Why is this a problem? For a more detailed description of the activities of the NCF read the extract from it’s recent newsletter copied below. If the JNF is worried about competition for funds it should look to their own programs and not resort to vilification of what they perceive as competition.

    “The Negev Coexistence Forum has been awarded the Miriam Fligelman Levy Cross Cultural Prize for 2011
    30.10.11
    We are proud to announce that the Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality was recently awarded the Miriam Fligelman Levy Cross Cultural Prize for its work in 2011 by the New Israel Fund.

    The award is in honour of Miriam Fligelman Levy who was an innovator and a social thinker. Together with her husband Irving, she dedicated her life to bridge building. Her legacy and her commitment to these values are carried on by her daughter Judith Levy Sender and by her sons Joseph Fligelman Levy and John Fligelman Levy. The Miriam Fligelman Levy Prize embodies the spirit of the progressive conscience of the Jewish community.

    In bestowing this award upon the Forum, the NIF noted the mutual respect and deep commitment to the cause that exists between our Jewish and Arab members and that we actively recruit a broad spectrum of voices, including Bedouin women and Arab and Jewish students from the Ben Gurion University of the Negev.

    Additionally, our work in running the Multaka-Mifgash Center for Arab–Jewish Understanding in Be’er-Sheva was recognised. ‘Multaka’ and ‘mifgash’ mean ‘meeting’ in Arabic and Hebrew respectively, reflecting the Center’s goal of bringing communities together. It serves as a neutral space for joint Arab–Jewish cultural and educational activities—including lectures, plays, film screenings, and joint holiday celebrations—that encourage interaction and dialogue among the diverse communities of the Negev.”

    • Danny Ginges says:

      Yes Ann, the Bedouins are Israeli citizens, with the same judicial rights as every Israeli citizen. This is how democracies work. But taking these issues to international forums like the UN and Amnesty international, and using foreign opinion to force an issue is no longer the realm of democracy. It’s called foreign interference. Personally I find it incredible that the New Israel Fund, which claims to be ‘committed to equality and democracy for all Israelis’, should treat Israeli democracy with such contempt.

  31. david singer says:

    To Otto Waldmann

    Your criticism of the Board of Depuies is fully justified.

    The NIF appeal has not been approved by the Board in its fund raising calendar – yet the Board seems unconcerned.

    I wrote to Vic Alhadeff expressing my concern and I have not received a response.

    I am currently in Israel and you might like to take up the cudgels for me and find out why the Board is silent.

    Is there one rule for all the communal organizations and another one for NIF?

    I undertstand NIF’s legal advisor Michael Sfard was at the Russell Tribunal. Whether he was there as the legal representative of NIF needs to be established. It would be damning of NIF if he was.

    Why NIF cannot stick to funding organizations whose agenda is not delegitmizing and denigrating Israel is beyond me. The longer they keep up this stupidity the more it becomes evident that naievety is not what motivates them.

  32. Fiona says:

    I for one will not give a cent to NIF – an organisation that funds, supports and hides behind other “feel good” named organisations.
    Do your research people!! Go to http://www.jpost.com/NationalNews/Article.aspx?id=231200

    By supporting the activities of The Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality – Civil equality for whom? – NIF shows its true colours yet again – This so-called civil equality forum supports illegal occupation and building on Israeli state owned land – as long as your are NOT israeli or Jewish – BUT they oppose the legitimate defence and development of the land of Israel by the Israeli government and JNF.

    NIF also surepticiously encouraging and support organisations that discourage trading of goods – depending on which part of Israel they are grown or produced!
    Civil equality my %@+*

  33. Otto Waldmann says:

    Time and again,whether it is the Russel Palestinian Tribunal, where NIF sent their legal reps., as a sign of support, the Negev project or a much longer list of NGO with a powerful anti Zionist agenda, NIF/NIFAu are arrogantly openly demonstrating that they either do NOT wish to follow the established Zionist path, to which genuine Jewish organisation subscribe or, by their implict tactics, intend to worm their way within the established Jewish communal structure with the obvious intention of destryoing it.
    I have called upon a few leaders to speak out on these issues, such as Yair Miller of the NSWJBD, not just simply because the president of the NIFAu is under NSWJBD tutelage, as a GF deputy,but because the inroads made locally by NIF SHOULD ring alarm bells at the aloof top of the leadership. It seems our presidents are far too important to address such “minor” issues. And thus, modestly but firmly, Danny Ginges does their job by doing his !How ridiculous is it that, of all people, Yair Miller would be so… invisible !!!

  34. DavidL says:

    Onya Danny. Unfortunately you’re got an uphill battle on your hands with the NIF powers that be going overboard to support any left-wing cause no-matter how outrageous.

  35. Sandy says:

    Regardless of what Robin Margo and NIF try to tell us, there is copious evidence that they are undermining the legitimacy and existence of Israel as a Jewish nation. We should make sure they fail

  36. david singer says:

    Having literally got off the plane from Australia yesterday morning I was privileged to go on a tour of the Negev and see the great work being done by the JNF in miraculously greening the desert.

    That New Israel Fund Australia should be raising funds for an organization – the Negev Co-existence Forum (NCF) – that is seeking to denigrate the work of JNF in international forums – is mind boggling.

    I hope those who attend the New Israel Fund meetings in Australia show their disopprobrium by donating $0 to the appeal.

    NIF has been subjected to attack over the last twelve months for funding many organizations whose interests are inimical to the majority of Israel’s population.

    Denigrating the JNF – directly or indirectly by financially supporting NCF – is reprehensible and should be rejected by the Jewish community in Australia

  37. Yosi Tal says:

    What Robin Margo and NIF have to tell us is whether NGO’s funded by NIF took part in that sham of a Tribunal in South Africa.

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