The battle between the New Israel Fund (NIF) and its opponents, who accuse it of funding groups that undermine Israel, continued this week as accusations flew regarding seditious behavior on one side, and male chauvinism on the other.
Maariv's Ben Caspit, a leading political writer and TV personality, devoted his column in the newspaper's Friday edition to a follow-up on an earlier report that exposed research by Zionist grassroots group Im Tirtzu, which accused New Israel Fund grantee groups of besmirching Israel in the UN's Goldstone Report on the IDF's counter-terror campaign in Gaza.
Caspit reported the existence of “explosive” accusations, as yet unreported, regarding the involvement of the New Israel Fund and its chairwoman, Prof. Naomi Chazan, in the IDF. A hitherto-secret heavily documented report compiled by a group of IDF officers, Caspit wrote, detailed the way feminist organizations funded by the NIF penetrated into the military, under the excuse of “gender mainstreaming” – a term which is used in reference to policies of feminization that replace men in positions of power with women.
According to the officers' report, Caspit explained, “there has been sophisticated activity over a period of years, that is backed up by UN resolutions and decisions by international organizations, the goal of which is to weaken the IDF by an insistence on the value of total equality for women.”
Caspit said he would be publishing the report in parts over the coming weeks.
Schneller backs down
Caspit also said he was worried that MK Otniel Schneller (Kadima) had gotten cold feet regarding a planned law that would have mandated the establishment of a parliamentary committee of inquiry on the New Israel Fund's activities.
“Schneller was determined and promised to go all the way, until he ran into a brick wall,” Caspit informed his readers. “Ministers, senior Knesset members, senior personages from all parties and all corners approached him, nearly all of them in the same tone of voice and the same kind of whisper: 'Are you crazy? What are you doing? You are sawing off the branch that we are all sitting upon. Let it go, man.'”
“He let it go. That is too bad. We will not let it go,” Caspit promised.
The Knesset's Constitution, Law and Justice Committee has established a subcommittee to look into foreign funding of NGOs, including those supported by the NIF.
'Chauvinistic and anti-democratic'
Caspit's latest column also reported accusations that NIF grantees and experts linked to the fund played a key role in influencing the Goldberg Committee, which in 2008 recommended retroactively legalizing extensive illegal Bedouin construction in southern Israel.
In an opinion piece published in Maariv's website, feminist Dorit Abramovich accused Caspit of using arguments “that are taken from a system of belief that appears to be based upon anti-feminism.”
Abramovich said that she believed the attacks on Chazan were motivated, among other things, by male chauvinism and vowed to continue to struggle against “a chauvinistic, undemocratic, nationalistic society.”