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Daily Israel Report

New Israel Fund Escapes Inquiry

The New Israel Fund and 16 groups it supports will not be investigated for alleged slander of IDF.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 8/2/2010, 1:35 PM / Last Update: 8/2/2010, 3:49 PM

Groups accused of slandering the IDF to the Goldstone Committee will not be investigated for alleged slander, Deputy State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan has announced. This, out of concern for the protection of human rights.

The New Israel Fund and 16 organizations it funds had been accused of slandering the IDF in reports they made to the United Nations' Goldstone Committee.

"One of the characteristics of a democracy is the protection of human rights,” Nitzan said. “For that reason in Israel, as in every other democracy, human rights organizations are allowed to operate freely."

“Among other things, these organizations can work with international and diplomatic bodies, and may submit reports, even if they are not acting in accordance with state policy,” he continued.

Israel Legal Forum Warns of Dangers
Attorney Hila Cohen of the Israel Legal Forum had called on Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to conduct an inquiry into the organizations' behavior. “These organizations disseminated slanderous reports regarding alleged Israeli war crimes during the Cast Lead operation – reports which, as far as is known, had no basis in fact and no substantial supporting evidence,” she wrote.

The New Israel Fund's involvement in providing the Goldstone commission with slanderous reports harmful to Israel raises questions regarding the group's other activities, Cohen said. She warned that the organization's activities “may provide support even for enemy groups that endanger Israel's very existence.”

The Goldstone Commission made frequent use of information provided by the 16 groups in question to support its claims that Israel had committed war crimes while fighting Hamas in Gaza. Among the NIF-funded groups that worked with Goldstone were Adallah, Breaking the Silence, B'Tselem, Yesh Din, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Doctors for Human Rights, and Rabbis for Human Rights.

Legal Forum head Nachi Eyal protested Nitzan's announcement. “The organizations in question are actively helping Israel's enemies,” he charged. "Unfortunately, this decision will provide a boost to the enemies within... I regret this decision and I believe that the attorney general was mistaken in adopting Nitzan's stance on this issue.”