The New Israel Fund and its opponents, led by grassroots Zionist student group Im Tirtzu, are ratcheting up their pugnacious rhetoric as the contested Celebrate Israel march draws near. Im Tirtzu and other critics of the NIF did not want the highly controversial fund and the groups it supports to take part in the march.
"For three years now, the supporters of the New Israel Fund and its employees in the US have been marching in the traditional Celebrate Israel parade, which is taking place on June 1 in New York in solidarity with the state of Israel,” wrote the NIF on its Hebrew Facebook page.
"This year, the regular stiflers of expression decided that they don't feel like seeing us in the march. You guessed it. Yes, Im Tirtzu, the Mida website, Minister Naftali Bennett. All the usual suspects.
"So what do they do? The scream and screech wherever they are given a platform, publish recycled reports from 2010, and claim that their truth is the one and only truth. In the end, what do they cause? A historic and unprecedented rift between Israel and world Jewry...”
"Suddenly it is so critical for them that the NIF, J Street and B'tselem stay out of the march. What march? The annual march for support of Israel! Not the march for supporting Al Qaeda, the march for supporting Israel. Now they are trying to harm it, too. Have you gone nuts?
"So, to the hollow marionettes of Im Tirtzu, to Mida's 'journalists,' to the censors at the Jewish Home, we say today – put a reminder in your calendar for 11 a.m. on June 2, a few hours after the march: here, on this very page, we wil upload a picture of the people who love and support us, marching in Manhattan with our message...”
Im Tirtzu, a longtime opponent of the New Israel Fund, recently joined the ongoing campaign by Zionist groups in the United States that are trying to keep the fund and the groups it supports out of the Celebrate Israel parade.
Im Tirtzu, which has focused on Israeli campuses until now, has launched a large scale public diplomacy campaign against the NIF that focuses on social networks, and on English and Hebrew news publications that cater to Jewish and Israeli-expatriate communities in North America. The campaign's pamphlet and advertisements portray the NIF as a wolf in sheep's clothing.
The pamphlet 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.”