The Imaginary Enemies of the Government of Israel…writes Rachel Liel

June 17, 2015 by Rachel Liel
Read on for article

The Palestinian attempt to remove Israel from FIFA and the warning of the CEO of Orange International about his desire to disconnect from his Israeli franchises put the movement to boycott Israel in the headlines.

This was helped by belligerent statements from the Prime Minister and some of his ministers, who signalled that the boycott was a strategic threat on the state of Israel.

Rachel Liel

Rachel Liel

The boycott injures every Israeli citizen indiscriminately, it causes political extremism and it fuels a hostile public discourse. The BDS movement wants to replace the Israeli state with one that is neither Zionist nor Jewish. These are strong reasons to oppose BDS. Therefore, the New Israel Fund does not support organizations that engage in BDS. However, the response of the Israeli government to threats of boycott ignores one central fact: the main factor in the recent success of BDS is related to a large extent to the lengthy Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, and to the governmental policy that turns its back on a two-state solution. It is the fuel of the boycott movement. Without this, it would not exist at all outside of the most radical political fringes.

Prime Minister Netanyahu explicitly stated on the night of the elections that the two-state solution is not acceptable to him, and most of the ministers in the new government swear faithfully to strengthen the settlements and to continue Israeli military control in the territories. The world listens to these voices, and concludes that their intention is to continue to deny the right of citizenship of millions of Palestinians for the foreseeable future. To this fact, is added the racist statements, plans to destroy Arab villages in the West Bank and within Israel, and outrageous ideas like separate buses. It is the platform on which the boycott movement grows.

It’s true that there is Anti-Semitism in the world. A hate for Israel exists for which there is nothing behind that hate but the hate itself. But we are not in the 1930s. The western governments distinguish between the need to stand with the Jewish community and with the state of Israel, and the scathing criticism they have for our actions in the territories. When the Prime Minister and his ministers intentionally blur this distinction between Anti-Semitism and legitimate criticism of the settlements and the occupation, they cause two types of damage: not only to the struggle against real Anti-Semitism but also to the war against BDS. Instead of dealing with the roots of the criticism against Israel, the government prefers to chase after imaginary enemies, inside and out.

The irony here is that the government is providing additional arguments for the supporters of boycott. Whoever blames the human rights organizations for the growth of the boycott movement is shooting the messenger instead of dealing with the problem. Rather, poignant political discourse strengthens the democratic character of Israel and proves that there is no place for sweeping measures like the boycott, but instead there is room for dialogue with Israel.

Listen to a friend of Israel. Journalists, heads of state and activists in Jewish organizations clarify over and over that without a serious political initiative to end the occupation – and not just token statements – they will not be able to continue to defend us on campuses, in parliaments or in the Security Council. The government’s policies, our friends say, are making the separation between the Israeli occupation and Israel the democracy more and more complicated. Our friends will be happy to defend us every time, but the majority of them are not interested in defending the occupation.

The New Israel Fund opposes BDS, and took part in the public campaign against the Palestinian initiative in the FIFA congress. The New Israel Fund has been investing the donations of Zionist Jews for more than thirty years in civil society, education and democracy – activities that stand in clear contrast to calls from the BDS movement to boycott Israel and its institutions. For this reason, the NIF has defined its opposition to BDS as one of its central guidelines.

But opposition to the boycott will fail if it won’t deal with the roots of the problem. As Israel occupies more, and becomes more nationalist and racist, the BDS movement will achieve more victories. Human rights, democracy, peace and equality are the most effective weapons we have to oppose the boycott. It’s time to use them.

Rachel Liel is the New Israel Fund’s Executive Director in Israel.


27 Responses to “The Imaginary Enemies of the Government of Israel…writes Rachel Liel”
  1. Leon Poddebsky says:

    In the era of Iran’s rapid march to nuclearisation, Ms Liel’s miserable merchants of malignancy have nothing better to do “for” Israel than malign it with baseless allegations and misinformation, in effect, allying themselves with the enemy’s propaganda war.

  2. Eleonora Mostert says:

    Are you sure you are the New ISRAELI fund or should that read the New Palestinian Fund. No sane person would/could support the likes of you and your lies.

  3. Leon Poddebsky says:

    During the Soviet era, some communists “of Jewish background” were responsible for the execution of Jews by the communist states, which convicted them on false charges.
    Why does the new Israel Fund remind me of that?

  4. Leon Poddebsky says:

    If the NIF and Ms Liel were sincerely interested in peace, justice and all the other platitudinous mantras which hypocrites mouth, they would be focusing their attention on the artificial British creation of Jordan, which stole Judea and Samaria from the Jews in 1948, ethnically cleansed all Jews out of there and out of Old Jerusalem.
    Jordan is a de facto “palestinian” state, just as the gaza Strip is a de facto “Palestinian” state.
    NIF and Ms Liel should be focusing attention on the “Palestinians'” glorification of war, terrorism, antisemitism, brainwashing its society to reject peace and to promote perpetual aggression.
    NIF and Ms Liel don’t do that because that would involve honestly confronting the fact of “Palestinian” rejectionism, intransigence, obduracy and antisemitism.
    And NIF doesn’t have the fortitude for that.

  5. Leon Poddebsky says:

    There is no “occupation.”
    In June 1967, when Israeli forces responded to Jordanian shelling of Israel, they did not cross any international border or frontier; they crossed an armistice line into Judea and Samaria, which had been illegally occupied by Jordan since 1948. Jordanian and ‘Palestinian” forces had ethnically cleansed all the Jews out of “the West bank” and Old Jerusalem; that’s why there were no Jews there between 1948 and 1967. By no stretch were they or are they “Palestinian” territories.
    Those territories are an integral part of the Jewish National Home both by right and by virtue of international law. Israel might or might not donate some of its national home to Arabs on pragmatic grounds, but the decision will be Israel’s, not Ms Liel’s.
    The “Palestinians” continuously assert that “the two-state solution” will NOT be the final solution. They were offered a state in 1937, 1947, 1967, 2001, 2008- and each time refused it because the offer involved recognising Israel’s right to exist.
    The New Israel Fund is an entity that, in effect, is hostile to Israel’s existence, and collaborates with the most extreme antisemitic organisations.
    Every Jew should know this.

  6. Steve Lieblich says:

    The following NIF grantees are active in international campaigns that support BDS and the demonization and delegitimization of Israel in international forums

    Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI)
    Breaking the Silence
    Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement
    Human Rights Defenders Fund
    Ir Amim
    Negev Coexistence Forum
    Nine Seven Two (+972 Magazine)
    Parents Circle Families Forum (PCFF)
    Physicians for Human Rights- Israel (PHR-I)
    Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI)
    Rabbis for Human Rights
    Social TV (formerly Syncopa Community)
    Yesh Din

    NIF reportedly authorised grants of over US$14 million to the above-mentioned organisations in 2010 to 2013.

  7. Steve Lieblich says:

    The NIF policy statement accessed April 20, 2015 asserts: “NIF will not fund global BDS activities against Israel nor support organizations that have global BDS program. However, NIF opposes the occupation and subsequent settlement activities. NIF will thus not exclude support for organizations that discourage the purchase of goods or use of services from settlements.” So NIF supports boycotts of Jewish businesses beyond the 1949 armistice line. The Supreme Court has found that it can be sued to recover damages of those boycotts.

    Furthermore, NGO Monitor reports that according to its Funding Guidelines, NIF will not fund organizations that “[p]articipate in partisan political activity”; “advocate human rights selectively for one group over another”; “[e]mploy racist or derogatory language or designations about any group based on their religion, race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation”; or “[w]ork[] to deny the right of the Jewish people to sovereign self-determination within Israel.”

    HOWEVER, despite these guidelines, NIF continues to fund political advocacy NGOs that are active in international and divisive campaigns that contribute to BDS and the demonization and delegitimization of Israel. For details see

  8. Steve Lieblich says:

    Ms Liel
    We all heard abot how, on June 3, 2015, the CEO of the French telecom giant Orange, Stephane Richardת announced that he would like to terminate the company’s ties with Partner Communications, Orange’s affiliate in Israel, reportedly due to Partner’s operations in the “settlements” over the Green Line.

    …What prompted these statements? Several NGOs that lead the boycott against Israel in Europe, including the Israeli organization “Who Profits from the Occupation?” issued a report in France intended to pressure Orange.

    Who Profits accused Partner (the Orange Brand partner in Israel), of aiding war efforts during Operation Protective Edge, participating in the Adopt a Soldier project, and offering discounted service rates to IDF soldiers.

    “Who Profits from the Occupation?” is a project launched in 2006 by Coalition of Women for Peace, an organization which has received funding from the New Israel Fund.

    And you claim that “the New Israel Fund does not support organizations that engage in BDS.” RUBBISH!!

  9. Steve Lieblich says:

    Ms Liel

    Despite you claim that “the New Israel Fund does not support organizations that engage in BDS” the Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence (BtS) has conducted another international tour of Europe and the United States, this time promoting allegations of Israeli war crimes during the summer 2014 Gaza conflict.

    This tour of vilification and slander of Israel is supported by the New Israel Fund (NIF). From 2008 to 2013, NIF authorized grants worth $560,428 to BtS (2008, 2009,2010, 2011, 2012, 2013).

    In an attempt to defend this fringe controversial and discredited group, NIF has been circulating a 2-page FAQ about BtS, which largely consists of apologetics and justifications.

    However, the NIF is not providing a full picture. Go to for the true picture

  10. Steve Lieblich says:

    Ms Liel
    Why has the New Israel Fund joined the Arab despots and terrorists by vilifying Israel and agitating for its political isolation?

    If “the main factor in the recent success of BDS is related to a large extent to the lengthy Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories…” then what fueled the boycott campaign conducted by the Arabs before 1967?

    Arab leaders persecuted their Jewish population from the 1920s, and launched a relentless campaign, against the interests of their own people, to obliterate the Jewish national revival …before any “occupation” and even before the establishment of the State of Israel.

    They flatly rejected the restoration of the Jewish homeland as mandated by the League of Nations. Even after Jordan was created from 80% of the British Mandate of Palestine, they rejected the 1937 Peel Commission proposal to partition the remaining 20%.

    In 1947, the UN partition would have created an even larger Arab state. If not for the Arabs’ violent attempt to abort the partition, there would have been no war and there would now be a Palestinian state almost 70 years old.

    …and the rejection continues to this day… In 1949, Israel offered to return captured land as part of a formal peace agreement. Arab rulers refused.

    From 1948 to 1967, Israel did not control the West Bank and Gaza.
    The Arab nations could have created an independent Palestinian state there, but did not. Instead of peace and reconciliation, they chose rejection and global terrorism.

    The Arabs also rejected the offer of Palestinian autonomy in the 1979 Egypt-Israel peace negotiations. They scuttled the Oslo process that began in 1993 leading toward the creation of a Palestinian state, by violating their commitments. In 2000 and 2008, they also rejected offers to create a Palestinian state.

    Since their self-inflicted, violent and catastrophic rejection of the UN partition, misguided, self-serving oil-rich Arab leaders have kept the refugees of 1948 and their descendants in squalor and dependent on international aid, as cannon fodder, fed on hatred and false hope, and squandered repeated opportunities for statehood and economic progress.

    Yet here we are, seven decades later, and they continue the futile policies of vilifying and de-legitimising Israel, in their vain hope of destroying the Jewish nation.

    Now the New Israel Fund has joined the Arab despots and terrorists by vilifying Israel and agitating for its political isolation.

    Shame on you!!

    Instead you should demand a new and fundamentally different Arab leadership, and stop blaming Israel and stop joining with Israel’s enemies.

  11. Kevin Charles Herbert says:

    Well argued Rachel Liel.

    I believe the majority of Australian Jews,particularly those under 40 years old, support your reasoned views.

    • Erica Edelman says:

      I’m not surprised to see your name popping up here, Kevin Charles Herbert.

      And you are getting your stats from where?

    • Steve Lieblich says:

      Dear Mr Herbert
      How did you conclude that “the majority of Australian Jews, particularly those under 40 years old, support [Ms Liel’s]views”? How???

    • Leon Poddebsky says:

      As an addendum to clarify my previous post:

      “Occupation” occurs when one state brings under its jurisdiction the territory of another state by coercive means as an act of aggression.
      In June 1967 Judea and Samaria were not parts of any state; they had been illegally occupied by the piratical Kingdom of Jordan since 1948. Israeli forces entered them in a war which Jordan had initiated.
      Moreover, under international law they were and are part of The Jewish National Home.
      Those who reject these positions do so not out of a concern for justice or law, but for reasons of malice, political expediency, ignorance, a desire to find favour in the eyes of others, political conformity and other ignoble motives.

    • Steve Lieblich says:

      Are you there Kevin Charles Herbert?

      On what basis did you make the ridiculous assertion that “the majority of Australian Jews, particularly those under 40 years old, support [Ms Liel’s] views”…??

      • Kevin Charles Herbert says:

        The one thing you can be sure of on J Wire is that persons such as you Steve Lieblich,and the other commentators here, will not be able to accept ANYTHING that criticises Israel.

        For mine, that it a very sad state of affairs, and signifies the depth of the ever widening schism in international Jewry over Israel e.g look at the massive international campaign against Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories by the US based Jewish Voices For Peace as well as many other such young based Jewish groups in the US, and globally.

        So as I post my source for my reasonable claim i.e. Dr Norman Finkelstein’s factually-based, well argued 2012 book ‘Knowing Too Much: Why the American Jewish Romance with Israel is Coming to an end’, I know it will unleash a torrent of rejections, none of which will be supported by any peer reviewed facts whatsoever.

        Given the clear synergies between US & Aussie Jews under 40, the same outcome can be expected here.

        Have any of you read Knowing Too Much?..I doubt it, but if you have then why not rebut its major positions for J Wire readers.

        Finally, hold the ad hominem jibes…they’re meaningless to those ever growing under 40 Aussie Jews who agree with Dr Finkelstein’s views.

        • Steve Lieblich says:

          Which “ad hominem jibes”? I made no ad hominem attacks, but I vigorously attack the substance of your unfounded, unsubstantiated, throw-away comment.

          I simply asked you (twice) on what basis did you make the ridiculous assertion that “the majority of Australian Jews, particularly those under 40 years old, support [Ms Liel’s] views”…??

          The fact that you base your ridiculous assertion on a 2012 book by infamous, north-American Israel-basher Norman Finkelstein, is not at all persuasive. In fact it would be a joke if the consequences of your misguided commentary weren’t so serious (to those of us who are proud of our identity and of the miraculous re-establishment of the Jewish homeland)….

          • Kevin Charles Herbert says:

            Steve Lieblich: have you read Dr Finkelstein’s said book?

            • Steve Lieblich says:

              I’ve read enough of Finkelstein’s writings and seen enough of his interviews to know, with a great deal of confidence, that I have no respect whatsoever of his opinions.

              • Kevin Charles Herbert says:

                So you haven’t read the book on which I’m basing my view, ‘cos you disagree with the author’s politics.

                For the record, Norman Finkelstein is an accomplished scholar, whose research & scholarship is second to none academically e.g. in his landmark 2000 book ‘The Holocaust Industry’ he detailed the abuse of power by the World Jewish Congress, a fact which has been validated by the ultra Zionist Isi Liebler as recently as last year. In short, Dr Finkelstein does not make claims without at least prima facie evidence.

                Finally, and this will be my final comment, you haven’t bothererd to read the book on which I’m basing my view, ‘cos you generally disagree with the author’s politics.

                I rest my case.

                • Steve Lieblich says:

                  You rest which “case”?

                  You asserted that “the majority of Australian Jews, particularly those under 40 years old, support [Ms Liel’s] views”. When asked (twice) to explain how you made such a sweeping, ridiculous assertion, you refer to a biased, Israel-bashing author and his book that provides no statistics whatsoever about the views of “Australian Jews, particularly those under 40 years old”.
                  You have no need to “rest your case”, Kevin. because it was still-born in the first place.

            • Erica Edelman says:

              Kevin Charles Herbert – which bit haven’t you understood.

              Norman Finkelstein and his ilk have skewed historical, geographical, existential and political views about Israel.

              There are so many GREAT and RELIABLE resources to refer to ; you don’t sound like a bad man, Kevin, just misguided. Now do yourself a favour and treat yourself to some reliable and academic literature. You can start with the articles that Steve Lieblich puts up on his website Jewish Issues Watchdog.
              I hope you are reading GateStone Institute, J-Wire at least – and from there you can see many other resources worth reading.

              And no, we are not one-eyed. We are highly open-minded individuals when it comes to the woes of the Middle-East. The Geo-political climate is complicated and unpredictable – but there is ONE major stand-out – Israel is surrounded on all sides by anti-Semitic enemies who have since the year DOT only been concerned with her annihilation. Israel didn’t just happen in 1948. 1920 even. Or in 1840. The people of Israel have been there since the day DOT. And there they will stay well until the DOT has disappeared way over the horizen…

            • Erica Edelman says:

              Forgot to add Australia/Israel Review. (AIR) Its a monthly journal which is totally brilliantly edited. Subscribe to this one – its a must. During the month and on a daily basis you can read the others – JTA included.

        • Leon Poddebsky says:

          It’s fascinating that Khaled Abu Toameh, a Muslim / Arab/ ‘Palestinian’ / Israeli journalist, a true professional, obviously literate in Arabic and therefore with direct access to sources, holds positions that are diametrically opposed to those of the “experts”, “Kevin Charles Herbert” and
          Norman Finkelshtayn / Finkelstein as well as Ms Liel’s.

  12. Erica Edelman says:

    What in heavens’ name are you thinking, Ms Liel?

    Your attempt to convince us that NIF is AGAINST BDS is at best disgusting; at worst your vicious anti-Israel diatribe is not only damaging and semantically chaotic, but IRONICALLY is suggestive that you may be a great candidate to join BDS ranks.

    Pretending to align yourself with Israel (who needs friends like you) does you or your mis-guided organization no favors; calling Israel “racist”, “an occupier”, “nationalistic” only serves to highlight your arrogance and ignorance.

    Your words on Netanyahu’s policies : “It is the fuel of the boycott movement. Without this, it would not exist at all outside of the most radical political fringes” – not only display a racist element in itself, they indicate that you and your organization are a disturbing danger to all in the diaspora.

    I have written about Jews against Jews before.

    If you truly have Israel and her inhabitants in (heart-felt) mind, then stop your anti-Semitic, dis-tasteful rhetoric and start mounting a campaign to try to UNDERSTAND why Netanyahu’s policies protect a nation of Jewish people surrounded on all sides by vicious enemies who want the “death” of a Jewish homeland. Read some SERIOUS and RELIABLE academic literature instead of (obviously) surrounding yourself with the riff-Raff of some pseudo-political party which clearly needs a new basis for being.

Speak Your Mind

Comments received without a full name will not be considered
Email addresses are NEVER published! All comments are moderated. J-Wire will publish considered comments by people who provide a real name and email address. Comments that are abusive, rude, defamatory or which contain offensive language will not be published

Got something to say about this?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.