Ron Weiser and the New Israel Fund

May 11, 2011 by J-Wire Staff
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“The New Israel Fund through its grantees has contributed to the betterment of society within Israel” says Ron Weiser, Honorary Life President of the Zionist Council of NSW. But wait there’s more….

Weiser continues:


Ron Weiser


“However in the last decade there is evidence that in terms of some of its grantees, it had lost its way as it strayed from its social and welfare activities.

Indeed, by NIF’s own statements and new guidelines late last year, it seems to have realised this.

There are certain red lines that the Zionist Council believes there is consensus on in this community.

One is the basic legitimacy and morality of the concept and existence of the “Jewish State”. And that undermining its legitimacy and morality goes against what this community stands for.

Here we are not talking about the size of the State – therein is legitimate debate.

The second is that any support of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, Israel Apartheid Week, the attempt to equate Israel with Sth Africa during apartheid times, lawfare etc etc also crosses communal red lines.

The third is the understanding that anyone who supports the “2 State Solution” but simultaneously supports the “Palestinian Right of Return”, actually supports the end of the Jewish State.

It seems clear on past evidence that some NIF grantees such as Adalah, the Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP) and the Sheik Jarrah Solidarity Movement (SJSM)  to name but a few, cross some or all of the above red lines.

NIF grantees such as SJSM also call for the JNF and the Jewish Agency to be dissolved or fundamentally changed.

On the 6th of April this year the CWP called for Goldstone to retract his “retraction”.

The Divestment website relied upon for its boycott list by Marrickville Council, calls for support by donations via NIF and is listed by NIF on its website as a grantee.

Adalah co-authored a report presented to the European Union in February this year which urged the EU to ‘Condition the upgrade of its relations with Israel, including any new bilateral agreement, on tangible improvements in the human rights situation in the OPT and in Israel’

According to NGO Monitor,NIF grantees the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), Adalah, Bimkom, Gisha, HaMoked, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I), Public Committee against Torture in Israel (PCATI), and Yesh Din submitted a written statement to the Goldstone Commission on June 30, 2009.

That statement says NGO Monitor, included the following “offer our own distinct perspective – human rights violations for which Israel must be held accountable.” Alleged “violations” include “a deliberate new strategy for the ‘disproportionate use of firepower,’” “deliberately and knowingly shelling civilian institutions and rescue services,” and holding prisoners in “harsh, inhuman and degrading conditions.”

And there are numerous other examples.

Since the new NIF guidelines have been issued, we are unable to ascertain exactly how and if they are being implemented.

The question is really a simple one – and one that NIF should answer.

Does NIF continue to support organisations that cross our communal red lines?

Either they do or do not.

And if they continue to support organisations such as those mentioned above, it is up to NIF to explain why.



5 Responses to “Ron Weiser and the New Israel Fund”
  1. I'm in the community too says:

    “Communal red-lines”? I’m a member of this community, and I don’t recall being consulted about, or voting on, where our red lines should be. It looks as though, using Mr Weiser’s self-delineated lines, I have just been excommunicated. So have many other Australian Jews. So, too, have the hundreds of thousands of Jews around the world who donate $20m to NIF every year.

    Not that they are lines, anyway. More like red fuzz or red blur or red moving goalposts. He starts out with a bright lne – support for BDS and equating Israel with apartheid – but descends into a jumbled rant from which it appears his position is that if you support someone who supports someone else who supports better human rights in Israel, you have crossed a “line”.

    Supporters of human rights don’t delegitimise Israel, they improve it, but they are delegitimised by Mr Weiser simply because he doesn’t agree with their view. Which community would you have us belong to, Mr Weiser?

  2. david singer says:

    NIF certainly has many questionable policies that have led to criticism and loss of public support.

    For example take this policy that is on the NIF website::

    “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.”

    Why should NIF support organizations that discourage the purchase of goods or use of services from settlements?

    Supporting such organizations condones discrimination against certain Israelis and singles them out for special treatment only because of where they legally reside and have established their businesses with the approval of successive Israeli Governments over the last 40 years.

    Perhaps the newly announced Chairman of NIF Australia – Mr Robin Margo – can explain how his organization can support such a policy that actively discriminates against some 500000 Israeli citizens and still expect to win public support in Australia.

  3. val says:

    Why do Jews want so much to support such anti Israel activity? Is it just that they crave acceptance? Have they drifted so far from the Jewish people? Surely JCA and Shalom cannot be supporting such activity as Dan says. Robin Margo used to be an advocate for Israel. Why is he supporting organisations that want the destruction of Israel?

  4. Dan says:

    I think that one could ask a further questions than that of Dr. Weiser.

    Why is it that such organisations like Shalom College, that get communal funds allow speakers that clearly alien themselves to the NIF to speak at the upcoming Limmud Oz?

    Why should the money set aside to support Jewish continuity within NSW be used to give such organisations a pulpit, and hence do the exact opposite?

    Why is it that the President of Israel can see how dangerous NIF can be but our ‘own’ JCA cant?

  5. Joan says:

    Some good questions. Good on you for asking them. Until NIF answer, they should not start here in Australia.

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