NIFAu – The Beat Goes On

August 6, 2011 by  
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The New Israel Fund Australia [NIFAu] has responded to an article published in J-Wire last week….

Robin Margo

Ron Weiser

NIF Australia (NIFAu) regrets the incorrect and acrimonious material circulated by Dr Ron Weiser about NIF and a meeting that four NIFAu representatives had with him last week.  We had hoped the meeting would be the start of a constructive dialogue.  When Dr Weiser is ready to resume civil discourse, we look forward to continuing our engagement with him.

Until then,  NIFAu believes that the tone of the present exchange is not what the community expects of its communal leaders and organisations and we do not propose to continue with it.

To ensure the record is set straight:

NIFAu’s press release on J-Wire about the meeting, dated 2 August 2011, is accurate.

We again confirm that CWP is not an NIF grantee and ceased to receive grant funding and donor advised funding respectively as previously publicly stated.

All present at the meeting agreed to avoid personal attacks or reflections in future.  NIFAu intends to abide by that agreement despite any approach Dr Weiser may adopt.

We are proud of NIF’s record of achievement in creating a better Israel, and have been encouraged by the way NIF’s values have resonated with the Australian Jewish community in the short period since our launch.  Organisations whose members want to hear accurate information about NIF, its activities, policies and achievements, are welcome to contact NIFAu, by calling (02) 9216 9034 or by sending their details to



10 Responses to “NIFAu – The Beat Goes On”
  1. Otto Waldmann says:

    To David Singer

    Robin Margo DID answer your letter. It was David Knoll’s !

    You don’t really expect NIF/NIFAu to treat fairly and courageously any criticism. This is their MO and Australia shall be their place of rest, rest assured !

  2. Paul Winter says:

    The octopus analogy is well known and was used deliberately for two reasons: the New Israel Fund is a USA NGO which is setting up branches all over the world and, as it supports BDS (forget the limited vs global nicety) it is as anti-Jewish as any antisemitic body. Let us not get distracted by dialectics; what is bad for Israel is bad for the Jews. Groups that NIF funds aim to pervert Israeli democracy and to support its antisemitic enemies in their evil cause to harm Jews and the Jewish state. So let us not get up-tight about the imagery and deal with the menace that NIFAu presents and the dissension it engenders in our community. An anti-Israel NIFAu lies outside the bounds of the Jewish community, it dividea and harms it. The denigration is not of the individual but of the organisation, which any of its members is free to leave and denounce, the more so as its true intent has been amply exposed. The question of community leadership is not a tag team game but one that is of the highest importance to the survival of our community. Instead of attacking the imagery, the question of how a person holding anti-Israel views came to lead it and who vetted him, must be answered. Hinting that NIFAu’s position (on something unspecified) may change is simply not good enough. NIFAu must announce any changes itself and it must answer questions about its activites, aims and funding.

  3. Otto Waldmann says:

    With each of David Knoll’s issues I was reflexively tempted to embrace his stance only to be sorely dissapointed upon striking his conclusive turns.

    – David does NOT support NIF. Great !! But then he objected to NIF being criticised,ergo attacking NIF is tantamount to being a nazi,no less.My tag friend Paul Winter,a Shoah child survivor, unmasked as a Der Sturmer fellow traveller. Does David, therefore, really NOT support NIF/NIFAu !!!??

    – David reckons Robin Margo has been denigrated! We don’t precisely know how, but this is strong stuff, intimidating, aiming to silence any critical reference to Robin Margo’s leadership of NIF.

    – A pro bono,one presumes, neutral non-supportive of NIF David Knoll also reckons NIF is about to change, again, no details into what !!

    – David launches the cannon of ” thy leader shall not be criticised ! “.
    What that command has to do with Robin Margo is ,once again,not at all clear.
    Robin Margo is NOT a communal leader.He is , however, the NIFAu leader, the same one David Knoll does NOT support and the same one whose actual leader David Knoll declares imune to criticism.
    Conclusion: David Knoll does NOT support NIF !!!
    What I really want is to talk to a someone who supports NIF. David Knoll, sadly, does not cut it.

  4. david singer says:

    To David Knoll

    Perhaps you could use your good offices to get Mr Margo to reply to my above letter.

    As you can see I am concerned with NIF policy of supporting groups implementing BDS against Jews in the West Bank but opposing BDS against Jews living in Israel.

    BDS is evil and pernicious and should be opposed wherever it exists.

    NIF are entitled to oppose Jewish settlements in the West Bank – but not to support any policy that discriminates between Jews based on their address

  5. David D. Knoll AM says:

    Dear Sir,
    I read with the sadness the above exchanges. As many in the community know, I am a keen observer of the development o f NIF Australia, but not a supporter of NIF, given some aspects of its policies (which I understand may yet be changed).
    I read with the sadness however the above exchanges.
    Otto Waldmann and Paul Winter play tag team agreeing with other’s opinions, which they are entitled to do. However, to use the “local tentacle of the USA NGO octopus” image, a standard of Der Sturmer and more modern antisemites, in an effort to denigrate the President of NIF Australia, Robin Margo SC, is beyond the pale.
    One can agree or disagree with NIF policies and criticise its communications, but it is beyond comprehension that J-Wire would publish denigrations of communal leaders.
    Yours sincerely,
    David D. Knoll AM

  6. Paul Winter says:

    As concerning as is the denigration, denial, obfuscation and pretense at principled behaviour is the fact that a person who heads a local tentacle of the USA NGO octopus was the president of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, when the NSWJBD is a Zionist organisation and, as its past president, still sits on its executive. The people who nominated him should have known what his genuine attitude to Israel and Zionism were. To the plenum’s shame – myself included – it never sought a statement of the previous or the present president’s policies, including those on Israel. That claificatin will be requested at the next plenum. The plenum must also request that the NSWJBD make a stand against pretend Zionists and other members of the Jewish community who seek to undermine it or Israel. As a US politician said, we must not be so open minded that our brains fall out.

  7. Otto Waldmann says:

    We shall all observe that, according to the obvious “party” discipline within NIFAu,no actual named individual is allowed to reply on this post to any criticism of NIF/NIFAu. Il Presidente will publish a reply oblivious to specifics raised by,say, mere mortals like me or Paul Winter, and its well behaved subordinates will adopt some oxymoronic nomme de plumme following religiously their Evangelist’s Robin “guidelines”. Watch this space, because the boredom of NIFAu absurdities regurgitated will keep you enetertained !!!

  8. Paul Winter says:

    David makes the excellent point of NIFAu avoiding an honest response to the question of where it stands on BDS. Margo’s continues the obfuscation through avoidance strategy of now refusing to give a clear answer regarding NIFAu’s position on BDS on the new grounds that Ron has not shown NIFAu sufficient respect. That disrespect is in the form of providing proof of NIFAu’s dissembling. In short, NIF/NIFAu dissimulate on their position on BDS and when they are exposed, they take umbrage that their statements are not accepted as the gospel truth. (A minor error Margo makes is to rank himself equal to communal leader like Ron Weiser).

    Otto makes a comprehensive list of NIF/NIFAu tactics to prevent Jews from seeing that USA NGO’s true colours. In addition to those points I would add two. The NIF has never called for BDS action against Hamastan with its genocidal antisemitism, nor against Fatahland which wages a cold war against Israel. The NIF stand is antidemocratic, because even if some Israelis support Arab demands to be given Judea and Samaria, the issue is up to the Israeli electorate. That electorate has too often given up territory for terror and rejects further such demands from NIF, European socialists and a hostile US president. In short, NIF and its ilk are acting against law, against democracy and against the will and interest of fellow Jews. NIF’s position is unacceptable and unforgivable.

  9. Otto Waldmann says:

    In its short time of activities in Australia NIFAu has revelaed a strange type of transparency. It is the transparency of a strategy which contains:

    – deflection of core issues put forward critically to NIF/NIFAu.

    – avoidance of acountability on issues contained in NIF’s activities of great concern to the larger Jewish community.

    – gross misrepresentation of known facts about NIF.

    – resorting to personal comments/attacks of individuals and organisations that seek to elicit clear and fair replies from NIF/NIFAu.

    – NIF/NIFAu, contrary to their often claimed pronciples, are contributing to a substantial extent to the larger anti Israel policies of a large number of NGO which are still part of NIF’s group of financial assisted entities.

    – NIF/NIFAu are actively involved in undermining the autority and reputation of Israel’s Government – of all political persuasions – in the effrots of the Israeli Goverment to implement its policies for the security of Israel and in support of the larger Zionist principles.

    With each reply published by NIFAu the Jewish community is exposed to denials and spins which are an intellectual offense to those targetted by NIFAu.
    The “mere” dstinction NIFAu is attempting to make between what NIFAu terms “global ( or general)” BDS and the BDS which targets Jewish communities in ancestral Jewish Judea and Samaria is a substantive part of a policy prommoted by NIF/NIFAu of support for the intollerant, racist and belligerant policies of all shades of palestinian political entities which are determined to deny Israel its existential rights.
    The issue of CWP is but a fraction of NIF/NIFAu’s global or general policy of support of many other NGO which contain policies of severe enmity towards the Jewish State of Israel and Zionist principles, general and global.

  10. David Singer says:

    To NIFAu and the editor J Wire

    Once again Robin Margo has gone into print – but yet again he has not answered my letter. I reprint it here in the hope he or one of his Committee will respond.


    I am delighted to see the following sentence in the above NIFAu press release:

    “NIFAu would be delighted to respond to requests from any organisation in our community that would like its members to be properly informed about NIF.”

    I had the following letter published in the Australian Jewish News prior to Limmud Oz. At Limmud Oz I approached both Naomi Chazan and Robin Margo to respond. Both promised to do so but neither did.

    Can I now expect a prompt reply to this letter on JWire?

    Letter sent to Australian Jewish News

    “Involvement in The New Israel Fund (NIF) is not the “no brainer” that former AUJS President Liam Getreu believes. (AJN June 3)

    NIF policy on Boycotts Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) is stated on its web site as follows:

    “The NIF opposes the global (or general) BDS movement, views its use of these tactics as counterproductive, and is concerned that segments of this movement seek to undermine the existence of the state of Israel.

    NIF will not fund global BDS activities against Israel nor support organizations that have global BDS programs.

    NIF opposes the occupation and subsequent settlement activities. NIF will not exclude support for organizations that discourage the purchase of goods or use of services from settlements.”

    NIF clearly seeks to encourage the application of BDS to the goods and services produced by 500000 Jews who have gone to live in the West Bank over the last 40 years with the approval of successive Governments of all political persuasion.

    This amounts to gross and unfair discrimination and promotes denigration of those Jews living in the West Bank based on their address and nothing else.

    NIF is entitled to oppose settlements.

    It should not be encouraging policies designed to discriminate between Jews living on either side of the 1967 armistice line.

    As Liam writes: “The dream of Israel was to create a democracy with equal rights for all”.

    In its selective application of BDS the NIF falls far short of this ideal.”

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