New Israel Fund Lashes Out at 'Nationalist Settlers'
Controversy over the Israel Day March in New York continues this week, as various pro-Israel groups call on the event's organizers to exclude pro-BDS and extreme leftist groups - including the New Israel Fund (NIF), Partners for a Progressive Israel, and B'Tselem.
Chairman of the New Israel Fund Daniel Sokatch struck back at the growing protests against its participation on Friday, calling to counter "Israeli extremists," whom he accuses of controlling the Israeli government.
"There is a visceral connection between those protesting the UJA and the ultra-nationalist settlers who hold so much influence in the current Israeli government," Sokatch fumed in a post on the NIF website. "Both seek to narrow the scope of acceptable discourse. Both are emboldened by the collapse of the peace process. Both want to rip Israel away from its heritage as a liberal democracy."
"Israel is jeopardized by the rise of political forces bent on delegitimizing progressive Israelis, marginalizing Israel's Arab minority, and shutting out women's voices," he continued. "The noisy extremists will not deter us."
Sokatch also released an email statement several days ago on the controversy, saying that "settlers [. . .] cannot accept the fact that, for us, love for Israel is ending the Occupation."
NIF representatives refused to comment on the fiery posts.
Sokatch was partially responding to the "One Hundred Shofar" protest event in late April over NIF's involvement in the march, which made headlines in both US and international media and garnered the support of several pro-Israel groups. MK Yariv Levin (Likud) has publicly expressed support for the campaign calling for the leftists' ouster from the event.
It should be noted that, of the offending groups, Partners for Progressive Israel includes a list of products to boycott "made in settlements" on its website; the New Israel Fund (NIF) finances several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) which support the BDS movement and have taken active steps to encourage others to divest or boycott Israel; and well-known radical-left group B'Tselem produced an infamous video for "Israel Apartheid Week."