A news organization recently broke the story that U.S. donors, primarily American Jews and Jewish philanthropies, donate multi-millions of dollars to Israel through an American organization intended to provide aid and support to that country. Now it appears that the Washington, D.C.-based New Israel Fund (NIF) with offices and web sites throughout the United States and the U.K., apparently makes supporting grants with those funds to numerous groups that work with the Palestinian Authority (PA) and promote Iran’s nuclear policies.
The New Israel Fund Charter
According to its web site, the NIF was founded 27 years ago and one of its sponsored organizations, SHATIL was designated to “provide capacity building to grantee organizations”. As vague as that charter statement is, it goes on to say, that “SHATIL now serves as NIF’s ‘action arm’ and currently assists over 1000 organizations each year, both NIF grantees and others.” The New Israel Fund claims to be committed to supporting social change in Israel and to address “neglected issues like environmental justice, vast socio-economic needs in the Negev and the rights of new immigrants, ‘the Arab community and other disadvantaged communities’…[and to]strengthen Israeli democracy”.
The organizations that donate to the New Israel Fund include the Ford Foundation, the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Foundation, the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies, and Jewish communal federations such as the Jewish Federation in New York, the Durham-Chapel Hill Federation, and the Jewish Federation of Grand Rapids. These contributions are generally distributed by middleman Israeli Jewish federations, with the confidence that donations are being used for appropriate and worthy causes.
Where is the Money Going?
Trusting donors expect the NIF to do due diligence regarding oversight of donated funds, because it’s clear that they are not intended to support groups and efforts blatantly hostile to Israel. It turns out that major grantees of NIF are non-governmental Israeli-Arab organizations dedicated to neutralizing the character of the state of Israel. NIF provides huge sums for the core budgets of Adalah (the legal center for minority Arab rights), Mossawa (the advocacy center for Arab citizens), and the I’lam media center for Arab Palestinians in Israel. All three of these organizations define themselves vaguely and then openly portray themselves as anti-Israel and uncompromising supporters of an Arab takeover in Israel.
Researcher Arlene Kushner’s in-depth report on Adalah published in January 2009 by the Center for Near East Policy, exposes the fallacies in Adalah’s self-definition as a ‘non-partisan human rights organization”. At the Durban U.N. conference on racism – Adalah accused the Israeli government of war crimes, racism, apartheid, and fascism. The group openly seeks to re-create Israel as an Arab-Muslim state and attempted to initiate a new constitution in 2007 to ban the immigration of Jews while demanding ‘right of return’ for “Palestinian refugees”.
Initiated in September 2000, I’lam’s first director, Hanin Zoabi, was just elected to the Knesset as a member of the Israeli Arab Balad Party. Zoabi’s party routinely condemns Israel and claims to represent the state of “Palestine”. She declared to the Jerusalem Post that she supported ‘Iranian nuclear weapons as a counterbalance to Israel’.
Zoabi helped draft the Haifa Declaration calling for the end of Israel’s Jewish identity and for it to “abandon its destructive role towards the peoples of the region. …” I’lam issued a press release in April stating that “Jerusalem is the capital of Arab culture and will be the future capital of a Palestinian state…” Most of the upper-level staff of I’lam, including the current director, Sanaa Hammoud, have long involvements with the Palestinian Authority, issuing statements in support of Hamas. I’lam also receives funds from Al-Quds: Capital of Arab Culture, which works with both the PA and the Arab League.
To date, no NIF spokesperson has commented in rebuttal.