Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Special Report: The influence of New Israel Fund organizations on the Goldstone Report

The influence of New Israel Fund organizations on the Goldstone Report


Executive Summary

The Goldstone Report, published in September 2009, seriously harmed the international image of the State of Israel and the Israel Defense Forces. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stressed the gravity of the report's impact in his December 23, 2009 address to the Knesset plenum: "There are three primary threats facing us today: the nuclear threat, the missile threat and what I call the Goldstone threat… Goldstone has become code for a much broader phenomenon: the attempt to negate the legitimacy of our right to self-defense. It didn't just start now.

The international campaign against Israel has gone on since the Durban Conference in 2000 and since the attempt in 2003 to condemn the security fence that has protected Israeli children – but is condemned just the same – in The Hague… We all have a real problem here. Ehud Olmert speaks on campuses in the United States, and he's denounced as a war criminal. Defense Minister Ehud Barak – they want to arrest him in London. And there's a warrant out against Tzipi Livni, the Opposition leader. You all know the truth in your hearts. This is an all-out offensive, not just against one Israeli government or another."1

Israeli President Shimon Peres similarly denounced the Goldstone Report: "The report essentially grants legitimacy to terrorism, premeditated shooting and killing, while ignoring the obligation and the right of every country to defend itself, something which is explicitly stated in the UN charter."2

The aim of this study is to examine the level of involvement of New Israel Fund organizations in the formation of the Goldstone Committee Report.

The New Israel Fund is a capital fund that invests in and supports hundreds of radical leftist organizations that operate in various fields. The fund operates on two levels: first, as an incubator for new organizations, granting them professional services in their various activities, and second, as a financial backer for organizations that “grew up” with the fund, as well as others that did not.

The New Israel Fund is registered in the United States and its current president is former left-wing Knesset member for the Meretz party, Prof. Naomi Chazan. According to figures published by the fund, since its inception the fund has distributed over $140 million. Beyond the sponsorship that the fund grants organizations supported by it (which are referred to on the fund’s website as “the fund’s organizations,” the fund publicizes the activities and achievements of the organizations in the many articles that appear on its website.

In April 2009 the Goldstone Committee began its work, under the auspices of the UN. The decision to appoint the committee was preceded by heavy international pressure on the UN, including from NIF organizations. The Goldstone Committee sought the assistance of many NGOs as sources of information and confirmation for establishing its arguments and findings, including 16 organizations from among the New Israel Fund’s organizations: Adalah; Breaking the Silence; B’Tselem, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel; HaMoked: Center for the Defense of the Individual; The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel; Yesh Din; Physicians for Human Rights; Gisha; Bimkom; Rabbis for Human Rights; Itach – Women Lawyers for Social Justice; Other Voice and organizations in the Coalition of Women for Peace (New Profile, Machsom Watch and the Who Profits from the Occupation project).

An analysis of the Goldstone Report reveals that the weight of the reliance of the report’s authors on New Israel Fund organizations, out of all the Israeli sources, was 42%. A more detailed analysis of the data reveals that among the Israeli organizations mentioned in the report, and on whose publications Goldstone bases his accusations against the IDF and Israel, there are some that contradict the report's allegations in their publications, or which have a neutral stance toward the allegations. Fully 92% of the quotes from Israeli organizations that support the claims against Israel come from organizations funded by the NIF. Without the NIF's publications, Goldstone would have nothing on which to base most of the claims made by Israeli organizations. This is a staggering example of a self-propelled process: the very organizations that pressed for the establishment of the commission provided the testimonies used by the Goldstone commission to justify its claims against the IDF and Israel, and most of these organizations are supported by the NIF.

The New Israel Fund organizations stand out not only relative to the Israeli sources and organizations that contributed to the claims against the IDF and Israel, but also relative to the general information sources on which the report relied (14%). Furthermore, foreign media sources and organizations quoted in the report themselves quote New Israel Fund organizations to support their arguments against Israel. Thus the citations backing up the testimonies of those sources effectively reiterate the claims of the New Israel Fund organizations, but this time are quoted in their name.

The fund’s financial reports show that the New Israel Fund organizations that contributed to the international damage caused by the Goldstone Report received monetary support from the fund in the years 2006-2008 totaling $7,805,226 (almost $8 million!).

In recent years Israel has been increasingly accused of war crimes, and this allegation has become a type of new weapon among leftist organizations, whose aim is apparently not only to protest but also to undermine the fighting spirit IDF soldiers and officers.

The direct and indirect effects of these organizations' activities include the international denunciation of Israel; anti-Israel demonstrations around the world; demands to prosecute IDF officers in a number of European countries; pressure from the UN and various countries to halt the fighting; economic sanctions against Israeli companies; suits for hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation and expressions of anti-Semitism in the wake of Israel's defamation around the world.

In effect, a small group of leftist organizations that is financed by identical foreign sources has created international pressure that is seriously harming Israel in the diplomatic arena and challenged Israel's legitimate right to self-defense in the future. The foreign funding finances the activities of organizations that incite Israelis against the IDF and the State of Israel.

It should be stressed that while the declared "noble" intentions of most of these organizations are to fight for "social justice" and "human rights" throughout all the years during which thousands of missiles were fired against the residents of Sderot and the residents of northern Israel, aimed deliberately at innocent Israeli civilians, hardly a word was heard from the organizations.

It is also astounding that while the New Israel Fund organizations were partners to the international defamation of Israel and the IDF, via the Goldstone Report, the NIF was operating joint programs with the Jewish Agency and various government ministries. These programs
• Active Citizenship, a high school program run jointly by the NIF and the Education
• Fans for the Prevention of Violence in Sports, a program run jointly by the NIF, the Culture
and Sports Ministry and the Internal Security Ministry.4
• A joint project with the Jewish Agency to promote the social integration of Ethiopian
immigrants via vocational training and social advocacy programs. 5
• The Birthright program, run jointly by the Israeli government and the Jewish Agency. 6

The current study presents a survey of the 16 NIF organizations and shows their substantial influence on the Goldstone Report and the crystallization of the accusations against Israel and the IDF.

Furthermore, an analysis of the research material reveals that the joint actions of some of the organizations funded by the NIF was intended not only to protest against IDF actions, but also to coordinate international activities against Israel, resulting in serious damage to Israel's image around the world and the impairment of the IDF's ability to defend Israel during times of military conflict. 40% of the evidence on which the Goldstone Report based its arguments originated in publications of NIF (14%) and Palestinian (26%) organizations. Without the NIF, over 90% of the claims against Israel that were based on Israeli publications would not have been in the report.

View the full report HERE at Israel Behind the News

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