Sokatch visit – NGO Monitor has its say

May 23, 2012 by J-Wire
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NGO Monitor is a Jerusalem-based organisation whose name is self explanatory…it had a lot to say about J-Wire’s article published on the visit to Australia of the New Israel Fund’s CEO Daniel Sokitch.

In their statement NGO Monitor writes:

“New Israel Fund’s (NIF) Daniel Sokatch unfortunately presents misleading information regarding the strength of Israeli democracy and the activities of NIF grantees.

Daniel Sokatch photo: Henry Benjamin

He references proposed legislation, never heard on the Knesset floor, to support his claim that Israel is experiencing “attempted de-democratisation.” But in Israel, as in all democracies, numerous legislation is introduced – often by self-serving politicians – that is widely debated and discussed. The fact that the legislation never became law affirms Israel’s democratic mechanisms.

Sokatch also misrepresents the activities of its grantee, Adalah, which has been involved in BDS and “lawfare” campaigns against Israel – violating NIF’s own guidelines. Additionally, Adalah’s “Democratic Constitution” (2007) calls for replacing the Jewish state with a “democratic, bilingual and multicultural” framework, redefining the “symbols of the state,” and restricting Jewish immigration solely for “humanitarian reasons.”

Additional Aalah BDS, Lawfare, and Delegitimization Activities:

A December 2011 High Court of Justice decision(HCJ 3292/07) rejected a petition by Adalah (and Palestinian NGO Al-Haq), which alleged Israeli war crimes in Gaza in 2004. Judge Dorit Beinish wrote, “The comprehensive petition, and the severe allegations in it, do not lay out a factual or legal basis appropriate for a practical and concrete review… It appears to be an attempt to use the court…” Judge  Elyakim Rubinstein added, “What is hiding behind the legal, scholarly disguise…, is it not that its real purpose is de-legitimising the State of Israel, while threatening…to employ ‘universal jurisdiction’” (emphasis added). The threats in the petition clearly contradict NIF’s policy in opposition to “lawfare.”

On April 5, 2012, as part of events in advance of the London “Palestine Film Festival 2012”, Adalah’s Suhad Bishara reportedly discussed “threats faced by the Palestinian population today with Amnesty UK campaign manager Kristyan Benedict.” During Bishara’s talk, Benedict posted Twitter messages: “Suhad giving excellent & concise overview of the #Nakba to set context for the demolitions & proposed evictions happening now” and “Suhad Bishara from Adalah says the ‘Prawer Law’ establishes a ‘new military regime in Israel’” (emphasis added). Amnesty UK and Benedict have records of extreme rhetoric and anti-Israel advocacy.

Bishara was advertised as a speaker for a February 14, 2012 event organized by a Swiss group named “BDS Geneva” under the title “The policy of Apartheid in Israel: The new racist laws.” Following criticism of Adalah, NIF released a statement claiming that “Adalah and its representatives are not participating in the event.”

This BDS event in Geneva coincided with the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination’s (CERD) review of Israel. Adalah’ssubmission to this clearly biased international framework included allegations that Israeli laws and policies “permit and even actively promote racial discrimination.” Adalah attorney Orna Kohnappeared before the committee, accusing Israel of enacting “over 40 discriminatory laws against Palestinian citizens of Israel” (emphasis in the original) and “profound discrimination” against the “indigenous Arab Bedouin citizens of Israel.”

EU and UN campaigns promoting false allegations against Israel: – In February 2011, lobbied the EU to “Raise its concerns regarding the Palestinian Arab minority in Israel at the highest political level, as well as in all bilateral relations with Israel…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.”
Sanctions: In lobbying for the Goldstone Report and its recommendations, particularly in UN and European frameworks, Adalah issued a press release urging governments to “re-evaluate their relationship with Israel.”

Apartheid rhetoric – Officials wrote and edited large portions of a May 2009 pseudo-academic study that refers to “a colonial enterprise which implements a system of apartheid.” The report delegitimises Israeli self-defense measures as “inhumane act[s] of apartheid…perpetrated in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over another.”  The publication was published in conjunction with Al Haq, a Ramallah-based NGO whose General Director, according to the Israeli Supreme Court, is a “senior activist” in the PFLP terrorist organization.

Lawfare – In 2009, submitted an affidavit to a Spanish court, supporting the Palestinian Center for Human Rights’  attempt to have seven Israeli officials arrested and prosecuted for “war crimes.”

Defending those convicted of security offenses: Labeled convicted Hezbollah spy Amir Makhoul “a political activist and human rights defender,” and implied that his arrest was linked to “attacks against human rights organizations in Israel working to defend Palestinian rights” (May 10, 2010). Adalah lawyer Abir Baker, who was defending another individual engaged in contacts with Hezbollah, told a reporter that the case should be seen “in the context of efforts by Israel to limit the right of Arab citizens to strengthen cultural and political ties to the rest of the Arab world. Several of Israel’s Arab political parties, including the one Mr. Said belongs to, have been trying to inform the Arab world about the minority’s campaign for democratic reforms to end Israel’s status as a Jewish state…Israel wants to make us invisible” (September 22, 2010).


3 Responses to “Sokatch visit – NGO Monitor has its say”
  1. michael says:

    NO other Jewish organization has had to continue justifying it’s existence and have had so much investigation such as the controversial NIF .Where there is smoke there is fire in this case plenty of fire…
    Sokatch can keep going on about he believes his organization is as pro Zionist as the next but anyone that does their research properly which includes reading what respected Prof Gerald Steinberg from NGO monitor has to say about NIF will soon come to the conclusion that this suspect organization is aiding willingly or not Israel’s critics to demonize the Jewish state. SWhy would you want to give money to them?

    Very simply if any concerned Jews wished to support an Israeli Human rights organization why wouldn’t they give money for instance to the Shurat Ha din [ Israel law Center] who concentrate solely on fighting for the rights and compensation for Israeli and Jewish diaspora victims who have been the target of Palestinian/ Arab/ Muslim terrorist attacks. Fight against those and take to task those that are behind the BDS, Flotilla, Flytilla etc.
    Why would Jews in the diaspora rather fund organizations that include Israel/ Arab groups most of which work with Palestinian groups to demonize Israel around the globe .
    Even if we are to believe NIF funds other worthy Israeli organizations that are not anti- Zionist how can we know what money goes where with these people, is it worth the risk when the NIF have been the subject of so many investigations and controversy ?


    ‘ADALAH’ is just one example of the so called human rights organizations funded by
    Daniel Sokatch’s NIF ..[New Israel Fund]

    This revealing and extensive report although not new should be read by
    those people that are confused or not sure as to why the NIF are causing so much
    concern to supporters of Israel.

    Bottom Line..

    ”Political agenda: Delegitimization of Israel
    When the above is examined in toto, it becomes evident that the over-riding
    agenda of
    ‘Adalah’ is not protection of the human rights of Israeli Arabs, but rather
    the vilification
    and delegitimization of Israel.”


    Dear Michael, The director of Shurat HaDin – Israel Law Center, Attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, was recently chosen as a winner of this year’s prestigious award for Zionism. The annual recognition, “Lion of Zion” Moskowitz Prize for Zionism, seeks to bestow “support for people…acting for the benefit of the common good in order to ensure the strength and resilience of the national Jewish homeland.”

    “I was surprised, thrilled and deeply moved to have been chosen to be awarded the Moskowitz Prize,” remarked Attorney Darshan-Leitner. “Being awarded the prize inspires all of us to be ever vigilant, innovative and even more deeply committed to using legal activism to ensure Israel’s safety and survival,” she added.

    Director Darshan-Leitner further pointed out that the announcement comes “at a time Israel’s opponents worldwide are aggressively trying to delegitimize and destroy the Jewish state,” and that such an award recognizes “the important accomplishments Shurat HaDin has achieved in advocating for and defending Israel and Zionism.”

    In selecting Darshan-Leitner, the prize committee noted Nitsana’s “dedication, day in and day out, to preserving the honor of Israel and to pressing the legal case against those who seek to harm it.” They additionally stressed that Darshan-Leitner had “achieved results, including some about which we in this country are still unaware… [She] is a beacon for society.”

    According to the prize committee, hundreds of candidate credentials were sent in by the general public, in turn making the selection process a lengthy one. The committee stresses that one of the traits shared by all winners is that “each does not see themselves as an extraordinary person…but as one who simply fulfils their duty to make Israel a better place and a more Zionist home.”

    Apart from Darshan-Leitner, the prize will also be received by Yitzchak Glick, Chairman of the Emergency Medical Center in Efrat, and Tzvika Slonim, a founder of the Ariel University Center. The award will be presented at a ceremony on May 22 in the City of David, Jerusalem. It will include a $100,000 cash prize, divided amongst this year’s winners.

    The Moskowitz Prize for Zionism was established by Dr. Irving and Cherna Moskowitz as an expression of support for people who put Zionism into action in today’s Israeli society. The public committee’s members include Moshe Arens, a former minister of defense, and Brig. General Avigdor Kahalani, receiver of the IDF Medal of Valor. Previous prize winners have included former Mossad director Meir Dagan and the co-founder of Nefesh B’Nefesh, Rabbi Yehoshua Fass.

    In October 2011, Attorney Darshan-Leitner was named by Globes, Israel’s leading business newspaper, as one of the Jewish state’s 50 Most Influential Women.
    Shurat HaDin – Israel Law Center
    10 Hata’as St. Ramat Gan, 52512 Israel
    Phone: 972-3-7514175 | Fax: 972-3-7514174

  2. Paul Winter says:

    The NGO Monitor’s detailed listing of Adalah’s activities which contravene NIF’s own guidelines validate all of the criticisms of NIF in response to Sokatch’s address in Sydney. NIF is clearly an extreme left wing group whose agenda is to undermine Israel. It exploits Israeli democracy, poses as a guardian of good causes to better fulfill its true agenda of destroying the nation state of the Jewish people.

    Otto’s point about NIF’s failure to respond to points highlighting its hypocrisy is typical of movements operating under a group think regime. Responding to criticism would involve justifying its stance, while ignoring criticism allows it to regard its opponents as evil and stupid. Spouting slogans and disinformation is regarded as justified in the target of its undermining achieving some fantasised plareau. Reality be damned; long live the ideal comrades!

    It is worrisome that Sokatch used the same lies as its fundee Adalah in tarring Israel with legislative sins, not because they were enacted, but because they were conceived. In other words, like all totalitarian sects, the NIF is attempting to impose thought control on Jews. This is the same type of activity that the Organisation of the Islamic Conference is pushing with regard to criticism of religion – but only if that religion happends to be Islam – and the EU where several people, notably Geert Wilders, have been put on trial for openly commenting on events that were obvious.

    In reading the comments Adalah makes, and is paid to make by NIF, the Jewish state is depicted as acting in a racist manner. Now if Jews are a race, and we certainly have racial characteristics according to DNA profiles, we are a people and thus entitled to sel-determination. And yet the politically constructed “Palestinians” demand the elimination of Israel on the basis of Jews being nothing other than a confessional group. That mohammedan canard sits well with NIF (and JStreet) which see Jews as nothing unique, just a small part of the great brotherhood of man (and history goes down the memory hole). But the Adalah and NIF stance also reveals typical double think with Jews being a race for the purpose of vilification but merely a religion for the purpose of self-determination.

    NIF and its attack dog fundees must be stopped. Lay and religious leaders are derelict in their duties to Jews in failing to denounce them and exclude them from our communities. All those “good” Jews who identify with our enemies must not be allowed to pretend to represent us or as the better type of Jew who is acceptable to our mortal enemies.

  3. While NGO Monitor are impeccable in their research and ethical standards, one will observe that it is within the global strategies of NIF NOT to allow any “inferior”, even at the level of national branch, to respond to any critical comments. G-d only knows how active the NIF members are in prommoting their farcical accounts – both of events and book-keeping -, but responding directly and timely to any criticism is not part of their “party” discipline. Thus, seeing any full name responses on J-Wire is not going to occur ! Specific replies to what , for instance, David Singer or Paul Winter, let alone me, are posting will not be forthcomming. As is said in Hungarian ” Qualis vir, talis oratio ” – or, actually, the lack of it or both. ( translation : ” Such a man , such a speech “. )

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