New Members on the NIF’s Australian board

October 31, 2011 by J-Wire Staff
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Two high-profile Jewish communal leaders have joined the board of the New Israel Fund’s Australian branch.

Ilona Lee

Ilona Lee AM, the immediate past president of the Shalom Institute, and Anthony Hollis, the immediate past CEO of the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce NSW, were elected unanimously by the New Israel Fund Australian board.

The announcement comes as the organisation prepares for the visit of former Haaretz Editor-in-Chief David Landau, who arrives in Australia for a two-week speaking tour on November 14.

The president of New Israel Fund Australia, Robin Margo, said the addition of two eminent new board members is “evidence of the growing understanding among Australian Jews of the importance of the New Israel Fund’s work in developing sustainable civil society institutions in Israel – the key to any democracy”.

Ilona Lee AM was president of the Shalom Institute for nine years and is a former governor of the Jewish Communal Appeal, former president of WIZO Ilana and a founding board member and chair of OzHarvest.

Currently, Ilona is chair of the Shalom Gamarada Indigenous Scholarship Program, which exhibits Aboriginal art to help fund Indigenous medical scholarships at Shalom College at UNSW, and a member of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies Social Justice Committee. In 2001 she was awarded a Centenary Medal for her contribution to multicultural health and in 2008 she was appointed as a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AM) in recognition of her service to the Jewish community.

She said: “As a strong supporter of Israel who was disappointed with some of the things I witnessed on my most recent visit, I have joined NIF because its values on social justice and equality are deeply aligned with my own.”

Anthony Hollis

Anthony Hollis, a graduate of Habonim Zionist youth movement in South Africa, made aliyah to Israel, founded a kibbutz and fought in the first Lebanon war before emigrating to Australia in 1986. In Sydney, following executive roles with Time Warner, Ernst&Young and Network Ten, he was CEO of the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce (NSW) for seven years and was a board member of Masada College.

He is currently a board member of the Australian Indigenous Minority Supplier Council, is a corporate adviser and represents Israeli technologies in Australia through his business, High Tech Gateway.

“As a lifelong advocate of a secure, democratic and values-based Israel, I am delighted to be able to support the work of organisations like the New Israel Fund which are committed to equality and democracy for all Israelis,” he said.

The New Israel Fund is the leading organisation committed to equality and democracy for all Israelis. It is a partnership of Israelis and supporters of Israel worldwide, dedicated to a vision of Israel as both the Jewish homeland and a shared society at peace with itself and its neighbours. The New Israel Fund strengthens organisations and leaders that work to achieve equality for all citizens of the state; realise the civil and human rights of all, including Arab citizens of Israel; recognise and reinforce the essential pluralism of Israeli society; and empower groups on the economic margins of Israeli society.

Building a viable and free society committed to social justice is the medium through which the New Israel Fund has contributed to the strengthening of Israeli democracy. Widely credited with building Israel’s progressive civil society from scratch, it has provided over $US250 million to more than 800 cutting-edge organisations since its inception.

The Australian branch of the New Israel Fund was officially launched in June 2011 during a high-profile visit to Australia by NIF president Naomi Chazan, which garnered major media attention.


8 Responses to “New Members on the NIF’s Australian board”
  1. Paul Winter says:

    It it good that Sensible disguises his/her identity, because s/he seems to have trouble comprehending what I wrote. In writing that the real issue is that NIF is “an extreme-left organisation willing to get into bed with anti-Israel groups”, Sensible is sensibly restating my observations in the third sentence of my previous post. Further, since the item on which I commented was concerned both NIF and new members of its board, remarks addressing those appointees cannot sensibly be considered inappropriate. However nutty Sensible might consider my concerns, the facts are that the previous president of the NSWJBD, a body officially Zionistic, turns out to be anything but, and that the two new members of an organisation described as “extreme-left” and “anti-Israel” are still involved in Jewish communal affairs. That’s not paranoid or a baseless conpiracy theory, but justified apprehension. A traitor posing as a friend is more of a threat than someone who is openly hostile.

  2. Otto Waldmann says:

    NIF must be revealed for the destabilising effect they have upon all matters central to Zionism. Margo’s standard attitude publicly is to reffer constantly to what is called God Terms. Major events and cathegories, such as the establishment of the State of Israel, Declaration of Independence etc., are the only strict issues NIF, Margo and his accolites implicitely, use as a farcical retort to ALL specific criticism leveled at NIF’s nefarious ANTI Zionist efforts. For those naive enough to fall into the NIF trap this is consistent with what they would perceive as the profile of an organisation ..dedicated to their own ideals.This can only work if the same credulous souls are completely oblivious of the highly documented and therefore realistic comments that NIF is, in fact,a pernicious conduit for the prommotion of policies espoused by some of the most dedicate ENEMIES of Israel.
    All this makes NIF/NIFAu’s policies and public performances one of the most destructive entities that managed to inch its way into the heart of the very Jewish community. One could not exagerate by considering that, should NIFAu be allowed to function within the Jewish community, its effects will be simpy disastruous. This also means that, expecting a honest reply from NIFAu is somehow redundant for, whether they DO admit to their REAL agenda or carry on like they are doing now, by deception, their true nature shall remain just as pernicious to all Jewish concerns and their presence just as unwanted !!!

  3. Otto Waldmann says:

    Encountering “Sensible’s” lines, what made sense to me was that a certain Andrew P. could have easily be responsible for them, as they don’t really make sense.

  4. david singer says:

    To Sensible

    I can only assume NIF has no reply to my question. I have asked it often enough – even of Mr Margo and Naomi Chazan personally at Limmud OZ some 4 months ago. Both promised me an answer. I am still waiting.

    The President Mr Margo himself has stated:

    “NIF strives to promote the vision of Zionism that is contained, indeed promised, in Israel’s Declaration of Independence, namely ‘equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex’,”

    Yet its policy towards Jews who live on the wrong side of the 1949 armistice line amounts to discrimination in favour of those on the other side.

    NIF will fight to the death to oppose those who seek to impose a boycott of goods and services emanating from Tel Aviv. It will fund those who call for a boycott of the identical goods and services emanting from Ariel.

    How any Jewish organization can pursue such a policy and expect communal support escapes me.

    NIF certainly does good work in many areas – but it also pursues policies that I believe are not in the national interest of Israel and in the best interest of the Jewish people.

    Its policy on BDS is a prime example.

    Why the leadership is unprepared to respond to my query – and why it funds organizations that pursue anti-Israel activism – is worrying.

  5. Sensible says:

    It’s a pity that conspiracy theorists are writing such rubbish about the NIF, because their ramblings cloud the real issue: the NIF as an extreme-left organisation willing to get into bed with anti-Israel groups.

    Otto and Paul – perhaps you might like to consider moderating your rhetoric. With all due respect, you sound like absolute nutters.

    David Singer – good on you for a cogent argument why the NIF is a danger to Israel.

  6. Otto Waldmann says:

    And, as perhaps expected, here is my view:

    NIF is, actually,performing a very useful function. It is flushing out names that have been at the forefront of the local Jewish community for quite some time. Some of them have managed to achieve honorary or appointed positions of representative status and we have considered them fully qualified in representing ALL important aspects of our identity. It seems that we were skilfully foolled. That is because it can be safely assumed that all those now associated with NIF/NIFAu would be comprehensively aware of the vast raft of ANTI Israel activities generoulsly funded by NIF. On this forum and alsewhere the NGO financed by NIF that have been engaged in deligitimising Israel are extremely well known.The hostility against Israeli society and Zionism in general, espoused by NIF is by now solidly confirmed everywhere. Paul and David are absolutely right once again both in term of NIF’s agenda and mode of operation. Statements that ring loyal to what decent Jews believe in abound in NIF/NIFAu releases. Their arrogance in assuming principal fuctions not just in the running of Israeli society but in the FOUNDATION of the Jewish State ( a post factum “contribution” !!) as found in NIF/NIFAu rhetoric betray as much dishonesty as in revealing a strategy of communal dominance arrogantly oblivious to the falsehoods it promotes and the respective objections to NIF’s very profile both in Israel and in all other places NIF have opened shop. Paul raises a very salient point. As NIFAu trumpets its “achievements” in attracting such levels of local acceptance, where are the voices of the real communal leaders addressing the increasingly visible mennace of this corosive entity !!?? It is incumbent upon the ECAJ,NSWJBD, to state clearly their position vis a vis NIF/NIFAu. I challenge Peter Wertheim and Yair Miller to present their position !!

    As about the new luminaries enchanted with their (anti) communal choice, thank G-d at least that both of them are no longer active and relevant in the places we ( should have not ) trusted them !!

  7. Paul Winter says:

    NIF is anything but ” a partnership of Israelis and supporters of Israel worldwide”. The NIF is a USA based conspiracy to undermine and subvert Israeli democracy. All the “good” causes it supports are a mask to hide its true agenda of supporting Arab/mohammedan enemies of the Jewish state. And it is grossly arrogant for Margo to grandiloquently declare that NIF’s role is to ” work in developing sustainable civil society institutions in Israel”. Israel was, is and continues to be a functioning democracy without NIF missionaries and it does not need foreigners to shape its society, especially when those same supersensitive souls are oblivious to honour killings of women, genital transposition of men accused of treason, the persecution of Christians, the massacre of Jews by their fellow non-Jewish Israeli citizens (all in “Palestine”) and of course the Darfur’s agony. What worries me is that people who have net-worked themselves into positions of prominence and influence in our community reveal their hostility to Israel and have the gall to pretend that they are Zionists. It is also worrying that there may well be others of their ilk who are in communal positions of influence who adopt appeasing low-profile postures to advance an agenda inimical to Israel and our local community. And, by the way, I too was in Israel and found it to be a vibrant, caring, proud society in abolutely no need of NIF’s catechism. Come to think of it, we have no need of another group that divides and undermines our community; Jews Against the Occupation and Independent Jewish Voices (Australia) are more than enough.

  8. david singer says:

    To Ilona Lee

    Congratulations on your appointment to the NIF Board,

    I am still waiting for you to get back to me to explain why NIF opposes the boycotting of a Tel Aviv professor coming to lecture in Sydney – but will fund organizations that call for a boycott if that Professor lives in Ariel.

    Isn’t this a discriminatory policy that flies in the face of the Declaration of Independence which declares:
    “THE STATE OF ISRAEL will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it 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;”

    Hope your elevation to the NIF Board will finally get me an answer to this question which I have sought to elicit on many occasions – but without success,

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