Dear Robin, Dear Jason

May 20, 2011 by J-Wire Staff
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Jason Edelstein, NGO Monitor’s Communications Director wrote a letter to J-Wire on the newly-founded New Israel Fund Australia. Today we publish a response from NIFA head Robin Margo….

Statement by Robin Margo S.C. to J-Wire – 19 May 2011

Robin Margo

NGO Monitor now acknowledges (per its Communications Director, Jason Edelstein, J-Wire 19/5/11) that NIF does not provide funding to the Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP) and has not done so since 2009, though Dr Ron Weiser is still suggesting publicly, with no evidence and for motives known only to him, that funding may have continued into 2010 (Weiser, J-Wire 17/5/11, para 2).

It is regrettable that NGO Monitor’s acknowledgement did not come sooner. It continued to make damaging public allegations that NIF was continuing to fund CWP after NIF had clarified its guidelines last year, after Professor Itzhak Galnoor had stated publicly at Shalom College in Sydney last April that that was not the case and after Dr Gerald Steinberg had been personally informed on 11 May to the same effect, by NIF’s Executive Director in Israel at a meeting attended by dozens of people.

Mr Edelstein’s letter to J-Wire is also inaccurate, and therefore misleading, in a number of respects:

  1. 1. Although the foundations for the global BDS campaign were laid at the notorious Durban 1 conference in South Africa in 2001, it did not grow suddenly and assume urgent significance until a couple of years ago, a development that took even the Israeli government by surprise.
  2. 2. CWP’s involvement in the global BDS campaign did not come to attention until 2009, when it launched its “Who Profits?” website. It has received no further funding from NIF since 2009 and was removed from NIF’s donor-advised list at the beginning of this year.
  3. 3. The fact that CWP did not promptly update its own websites is not the fault of NIF and could not in any way alter the fact that NIF had stopped funding CWP.  NIF has written to CWP requesting it to correct its websites but has better things to do with its funds than launch a law suit that could have no practical effect.

Dr Weiser suggested also that NIF consider cutting off funding to Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement because, he says, it calls for an end or fundamental change to the JNF.  Whatever the merit or lack of merit in such views, Dr Weiser appears to be unaware that that is a respectable intellectual topic of discussion in Israel’s democratic society, extending also to Israel Bonds and the Jewish Agency in their present form.

I am pleased however that Dr Weiser has stated that he is not opposing NIF’s establishment in Australia (J-Wire 17/5/11) and that NGO Monitor’s head, Gerald Steinberg, has stated that he does not regard NIF as anti-Zionist (letter to AJN 29/4/11).

These developments provide the opportunity for our community to continue to be a “big tent” in which all who love Israel can engage with her in ways that are meaningful to them, without being accused of “illegitimacy”.

Now that this episode is behind us, NIF Australia intends to concentrate on the real work of engaging with Australian Jews who take Israel’s Declaration of Independence seriously and want to help Israelis realise that vision.




4 Responses to “Dear Robin, Dear Jason”
  1. Sandy says:

    The “Coalition of Women for Peace” claims on its web site (at that: “The statement by Robin Margo contains numerous false facts, such as the removal of CWP from NIF DA list in the beginning of the year (the last donation via NIF entered our bank account on May 16, 2011). ”

    Did you get that? Let me reiterate: the last donation via NIF entered the CWP bank account on May 16, 2011.

    This clearly contradicts Robin Margo’s assertion that “NIF does not provide funding to the Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP) and has not done so since 2009”.

  2. Yosi Tal says:

    Its quite unfortunate that Robin Margo has agreed to lead NIF in Australia.This is an organisation that one of its board members Martyn Indyk admitted “that if you play on the edge you get it wrong occassionally”
    Well Israel does not have the luxury of “getting it wrong occassionally”.
    Her survival is not a game and I for one am extremely disappointed in Robn Margo’s decision to lead NIF in Australia.Its a decision I beiive he will come to regret one day.

  3. Paul Winter says:

    Robin Margo’s contention that criticism of New Israel Fund’s (NIF) funding is baseless, because, according to him, NIF has ceased funding the Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP) in 2008 or 2009 or ????, is a peurile debater’s trick. The simple fact is that NIF funded CWP during Operation Cast Lead, thus making NIF an enemy of Israel. More importantly than the trival detail of CWP is NIF’s continued funding of agaents for Israel’s enemies like B’tselem, Machson Watch and Adalah among others. By its actions NIF is guilty of sedition if not outright treason and all its good deeds on behalf of homosexuals, immigrants, women (or even birds and stray cats) count for nil. The fact that on the basis of NIF’s funding enemise of Israel received foreign funding makes NIF an agent of foreign interference in Israel’s democratic. One only has to note that 92% of Goldstone’s blood libel was based on anti-Israel – if not antisemitic – lies and defamations by organisations funded by NIF and its European co-conspirators, many of them at a government level. NIF is guided by people who were rejected (with contempt – quite rightfully) by the Israeli electorate. They are therefore using underhanded – if not illegal – means of frustrating the will of the electorate and imposing on it their vision of what Israel should be. They are abusing the democratic process to undermine and destroy the society which guarantees them the right to function freely. NIF supporters are ideologues who weep for the enemies of Jews and Israel. They ignore the hate, violence and sadism inflicted by the mohammedans on Jews, trying to make us believe as they do themselves that love and harmony will break out as soon as the Jews abandon the Jewish project, Israel. They ignore the savagery that prevails in Iraq and Afghanistan where there are no Jews to speak of. NIF supporters have forgotten what it means to be a Jew and how important it is to oppose totalitarian movements, like those that dominate mohammedan/Arabic societies by all who value democracy and Western values. NIF has no place in Israel and no place within our Australian community.

  4. Otto Waldmann says:

    Considering the prompt and practically free access for all concerned to comprehensive information ragarding the history, status- financial as well as “philosophical” – of the NIF through the web,it is at best intellectually offensive to encounter Robin Margo’s attempts at portraying NIF as farcically as he has been persisting in doing of late. The liberal use of wonton extrapolations, omissions ,highly defective causal argumentation and demeaning falacies, such as the intimate confluence between Israel’s declaration of independence and the….NIF, have been , as peddled by Robin Margo above, an obstruction of logic, a fanciful flight of incongruities which, we, Jews passionate and loyally devoted to Eretz Israel DO NOT DESERVE.
    If one only considers his above point 2, the mere gap between the claim of NIF objecting to CWP’s involvement in the BDS, in 2009 and the actual “stopping” finiancing it “early this year” allows for two “good” years of the KNOWN backing by NIF of CWP in its campaigns of deligitimising Israel.
    Appart from the DPS,CWP ,as well as numerous other NGOs heavily financed by NIF, have caused enormous problems to the already heavily assaulted Israeli image internationally. NIF,as well as Naomi Chazan have built a redoubtable profile of cronic usurpers of Israeli values through the manipulation of respectable terms already heavily prostituted by the more conspicuous enemies of the Jewish State. Whatever the personal motivations, the pernicious deep seeded character of NIF is that, unlike entities which could not possible act legally in Israel, it has been and still is serving as a veritable Trojan horse within the democratic Israeli society. Under the said mantra of liberalism, democracy and the ” larger tent” posturing, NIF’s inherent character is to undermine the veritable Jewish values our community is bound to protect and perpetuate. NIF is attempting to erode our ethical edifice, acting as a 5th column. The simple fact that Robin Margo has persistently omitted the mentioning of a large number of NGO heavily funded by NIF which contributed substantially against Israel in the Goldstone Report shows that either Mr. Margo is yet to learn about which Goldstone Report I am talking about or that he is still labouring under the ilusion that he is strictly the only person who is privy to the long and rich record of NIF in destabilising Israel as well as Jewish communities worldwide.
    Simply and bluntly, Australian Jewry has no need, place, patience and indulgence for an organisation with the most ponderous baggage of hostility for Jewish values. NIF’s record is one of irresponsible, almost criminal pursuit of ideologies and practices which have caused already enormous harm to all causes for which responsible Jews have dedicated their passion and beliefs. Based on its history, NIF cannot be trusted to change its spots nor do we need yet another organisation repleat with commitments, “progressive” ideals and new hochmas on how to better live as Jews ! Want a place in the midst of Sydney’s Jewry ? There are two fairly large shops on the corner of Oxford St and Ebley , Bondi Junction for lease,just opposite the tatoo and Thai massage parlours. Call friendly Abdullah from L.J.Hooker Granville for a special deal for NIF and don’t forget to bring the (NI) Funds with you !

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