Daily Israel Report

NIF, NGO-Monitor Clash over Far-Left Funding

NIF denies funding pro-boycott group, NGO-Monitor accuses NIF of misrepresenting facts, “uncivil smear tactics.”
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 5/13/2011, 1:14 PM / Last Update: 5/13/2011, 2:54 PM

The New Israel Fund and NGO Monitor clashed this week when NGO Monitor accused the NIF of funding a group that urges boycotts of Israel. NGO Monitor reported on Wednesday that NIF funding helps to support the Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP), a far-left feminist group that supports boycotts of Israel.

CWP has promoted such activities as “Israel Apartheid Week” and the “Free Gaza” movement, which encourages activists to violate Israel's naval blockade on Hamas, and supports attempts to bring Israeli leaders to trial for war crimes in Britain. The group recently influenced Germany's railway company to drop out of a project in Israel.

It is a leader in the “Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions” (BDS) campaign, a campaign the NIF claims not to support.

NIF quickly issued a statement denying supporting CWP, and accusing NGO Monitor of having “knowingly published false information.” NIF has not funded CWP since 2008, and NIF Director Rachel Liel said so in conversation with NGO Monitor head Dr. Gerald Steinberg, the group claimed.

NGO Monitor “has stooped to new lows,” NIF CEO Daniel Sokatch said.

NGO Monitor responded by revealing its evidence. Public grant information shows that CWP received $300,000 from the NIF between 2006 and 2009, and CWP continues to tell supporters that they can donate to the group through the NIF.

NGO Monitor was unable to give information for years later than 2009 because the NIF has not provided such information, Steinberg said. “We hope that as part of accepting NGO Monitor's guidelines for ethical funding,  the NIF will publish all of its grant information in a timely manner,” he added.

He expressed satisfaction with NIF's denial that it had funded CWP, saying, “Clearly NIF officials belatedly realize that they are responsible for very costly mistakes in funding the leaders of the BDS and demonization campaigns.” However, he said, “It is important to verify that both direct and indirect funding for groups such as the CWP has indeed ended, and that the NIF join in publicly denouncing this immoral activity.”

“We also urge NIF to end the uncivil attacks that seek to silence this important discussion,” he continued.

NGO Monitor accused the NIF of “grossly distorting” the conversation between Liel and Steinberg.