Daily Israel Report

Im Tirtzu Calls NIF's New Guidelines a PR Trick

Groups that work to "deny the right of the Jewish people to sovereign self-determination within Israel" will not be eligible for NIF grants.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 9/19/2010, 9:12 PM / Last Update: 9/19/2010, 9:31 PM

NIF Chairperson Naomi Chazan
NIF Chairperson Naomi Chazan
Flash 90

The New Israel Fund has issued new guidelines in which it states that it will not assist groups that work to "deny the right of the Jewish people to sovereign self-determination within Israel.” However,  the change did not impress the NIF's nemesis, Zionist student group Im Tirtzu, which issued a report in February showing the NIF's complicity in the UN's anti-Israeli Goldstone report.

"If we had an organization that made part of its project, part of its mission an effort to really, genuinely organize on behalf of creating a constitution that denied Israel as a sovereign vehicle for self-determination for the Jewish people, a Jewish homeland, if that became the focus of one of our organizations, we would not support that organization," NIF Director Daniel Sokatch told Jewish news agency JTA.

The agency further reported that when he was pressed on the matter, Sokatch said the Fund would not allow proposals for a binational constitution of the kind that two NIF Arab grantees submitted several years ago.

However, Sokatch's explanation left room for funding to groups that advocated a bi-national Israel, as long as they did not make this a project of theirs.

According to watchdog group NGO-Monitor, NIF grantee Mossawa released a legal paper in 2006 proposing an Israeli constitution that would include "the eradication of the Israeli flag and national anthem, the right of the Arab minority to have a veto over matters of national import, and the immediate implementation of the 'right of return.'" In Adalah’s proposed constitution, presented in 2007, "the State of Israel would no longer be a Jewish state, but 'democratic, bilingual and multicultural,' and immigration of Jews would not be permitted [except] for 'humanitarian reasons.'"

"We see the Fund's statement as proof of the justice of our struggle,” Im Tirtzu co-founder Erez Tadmor said. “However, no public relations trick will hide the fact that in his statement, the Fund's spokesman said that it would continue funding groups like Adalah and Mossawa that act against Israel's Jewish identity. We call upon the Fund to stop playing games and immediately change its policy of support for anti-Zionist organizations.”

MK Otniel Schneller (Kadima) called the NIF's declaration “a first, positive step in the New Israel Fund's policy toward withholding assistance from organizations that negate the Jewish People's right to a nation state.” Upon publication of the Im Tirtzu report, Schneller announced that he would form a parliamentary committee of investigation to look into the matter. However, upon encountering opposition to the initiative, he quickly backed down from it.