US Jewish leaders fund and support labeling of Israeli products

The sequence of anti-Israel events seem to be encouraged by NIF and its supporters.

Ronn Torossian

OpEds Ronn Torossian
Ronn Torossian
The United States trade rules for goods and products emanating from the areas in Israel obtained after the Six Day War are simply discrimination against the Jewish state.

Donors to NIF and Breaking the Silence are the leaders of American Jewry. Chelm is upon us.
And the fact that the Obama Administration on January 23, 2016 decided to offer “guidance” on a 1995 law sends a clear message that the American government will continue to pressure Israel, even as the country faces a barrage of terrorist attacks.

In the wake of the EU’s November 2015 mandate to label products, the entire  mainstream political echelon in Israel – from right to left, secular to haredi – actively and publicly expressed their opposition to the labeling of products.

And despite the fact that Israelis are united, well-heeled American Jewish leaders and foundations led by a very well organized NGO at the center of efforts to weaken Israel and delegitimize the Jewish state are continuing to succeed.  The New Israel Fund, an American nonprofit that raises money and grants $30 Million annually to countless causes, many of which are designed to harm Israel, maintains a public façade of being pro-Israel, yet its grants and grantees are pivotal to supporting labeling – and other acts – that can only be described as anti-Israel.

In a 2015 petition to advocate for the labeling initiative that the EU passed, a senior member of NIF and some of its grantees signed their names and showed their support – even as the organization, and its radical grantees, including Breaking The Silence, are under fire.

To be sure, the people who signed the petition are not your average sponsors.  Naomi Chazan is the former NIF president and a current member of the board of directors.  Amiram Goldblum is a member of the NIF International Council as are Former Knesset members Avrum Burg and Daniel Kahneman.  David Zonsheine is the Chair of NIF grantee, B’Tselem.  Miki Kratsman is Chairman of NIF grantee Breaking the Silence, and Yuli Novak is B'Tselem Executive Director with Achiya Schatz its Director of Public Outreach and Yehuda Shaul its Director of Foreign Relations.  Yishai Menuhim is the CEO of NIF grantee, the Public Committee against Torture in Israel.  Yariv Mohar is the public voice of NIF grantee Rabbis for Human Rights and Michael Sfard is the NIF’s go-to Legal Counsel who also appears for Yesh Din.

NIF has considerable clout to have pulled President Obama into a video address at the Haaretz-NIF conference in New York in December 2015.  Then, mid January, Dan Shapiro, the U.S. ambassador to Israel criticized Israel’s "West Bank" policy, saying, “Too many attacks on Palestinians lack a vigorous investigation or response by Israeli authorities, too much vigilantism goes unchecked and at times there seem to be two standards of adherence to the rule of law: one for Israelis and another for Palestinians.” 

And then, the US Customs and Border Protection agency issued its reminder of the rules on record, instructing importers in the US that products made in the territories “shall be marked as ‘West Bank,’ ‘Gaza,’ or ‘Gaza Strip’… and shall not contain the word ‘Israel’."

One week later, at the United Nations, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon sharply criticized Israel’s settlements policies and blamed Israel for the Arab violence, while the U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power backed the UN Secretary General’s sentiments against Israel.

The sequence of events appears to be a pattern encouraged by the NIF and enforced by its supporters in the EU, United Nations and the White House. 

American Jews who do stand with Israel must continue to expose those who support NIF financially – providing cover to those who endorse labeling and harm IDF Soldiers – including Alisa Doctoroff, President of the UJA, The Jewish Communal Fund, Sally Gottesman, Karen R. Adler, Yaffa and Paul Martiz, Dr. Gabor Herman, Temple Israel of White Plains, The Leichtag Foundation and the Jim Joseph Foundation. 

Donors to NIF and Breaking the Silence are the leaders of American Jewry. Chelm is upon us.