Grassroots student group Im Tirtzu, a longtime opponent of the New Israel Fund, has joined the ongoing campaign by Zionist groups in the United States that are trying to keep the NIF and the groups it supports out of the Celebrate Israel parade in New York City on June 1.
Im Tirtzu, which has focused on Israeli campuses until now, has launched a large scale public diplomacy campaign that focuses on the United States. The campaign focuses on social networks, and on English and Hebrew news publications that cater to Jewish and Israeli-expatriate communities in North America.
Im Tirtzu's campaign points to the similarity in terminology used by the organizations that are supported by the NIF, and that of the most radical groups promoting a boycott of Israel – known as BDS – that accuse Israel of war crimes, racism and ethnic cleansing.
“As a Zionist movement that operates in the Israeli theater,” explained Im Tirtzu's director, Matan Peleg, “we have no choice but to join the struggle of the Zionist organizations against the participation of the New Israel Fund in a parade that is meant to show the beautiful face of Zionism. We will do this by once again exposing the true face of the Fund, and its essentially anti-Israeli and anti-Zionist character.”
Im Tirzu claims its point is proven by statements that NIF Spokeswoman Naomi Paiss made in a Maariv interview last week.
In the interview, says the group, Paiss said that “since [the NIF] is opposed to the occupation and the settlement enterprise that followed it, it will not refrain from supporting organizations that encourage non-consumption or non-purchase of products that are manufactured in [the settlements], or non-use of the services of companies that operate in them.”
Im Tirtzu added that since most Israeli companies operate in Judea and Samaria, the NIF is legitimizing those who encourage not consuming or using the services of thousands of companies in the Israeli market. The group explains that the words “encourage non-consumption of products” are a “laundered” way of saying that NIF encourages a sweeping boycott. “This is where the NIF's true character is revealed,” the student movement added.
Im Tirtzu is currently distributing tens of thousands of leaflets in Israel and abroad, which feature selected quotations from NIF-supported organizations and statements by senior NIF officials past and present, in an effort to show their similarity to the terminology used by international boycott organizations.