Im Tirtzu Calls on Rivlin to Cancel Speech

Im Tirtzu calls on President Reuven Rivlin to cancel speech at Haaretz event sponsored by 'organization hounding IDF soldiers.'

Ornit Atzar, Cynthia Blank,

President Reuven Rivlin
President Reuven Rivlin
Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash 90

The Im Tirtzu group called on President Reuven Rivlin Monday to cancel his participation in Haaretz's Israel Democracy Conference sponsored by the New Israel Fund (NIF). 

In 2010, Im Tirtrzu was the first to publish a document showing financial links between the NIF and several organizations who contributed over 90% of the Israeli testimonials in the UN's infamous Goldstone Report. 

Representatives from Likud and Jewish Home, as well as the Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett and Shas Chairman Aryeh Deri, have already backed out of the event, upon learning the NIF was one of the sponsors.  

A week ago, during a visit to Hevron (Hebron), Rivlin made clear he had no plans to give up his speech at the conference, or to cave in to demands from the Left or the Right. 

"Organization on the Left asked me to boycott the trip to the Jewish community in Hevron. Organizations on the Right are asking me to boycott the Haaretz conference on democracy. I did not cancel my visit to Hevron and I will not cancel my participation in the Haaretz conference," Rivlin stated. 

In its letter to Rivlin, Im Tirtzu tried to highlight the distinction between the two events, noting "the Cave of the Patriarchs [located in Hevron] is the cornerstone of the Jewish people's heritage. The Haaretz conference will be held in partnership with the New Israel Fund."

"The NIF supports organizations that delegitimize and tarnish Israel's reputation both home and abroad by accusing IDF soldiers of war crimes, creating international pressure on Israel, and attempting to change the Jewish-democratic character of the state from within," Im Tirtzu charged. 

Continuing, Im Tirtzu stated, "the NIF supports organizations seeking to prosecute soldiers for war crimes and it is therefore not appropriate that the president of the Jewish state open a conference sponsored by an organization hounding IDF soldiers." 

Matan Peleg, the CEO of Im Tirtzu, said, “We call on the President to distinguish completely the legitimate debate between Right and Left from the struggle for the identity and future of Israel."

"We have a moral obligation to condemn outright the President’s participation at a conference supported by the NIF, a supporter of organizations that seek to erase the Jewish and democratic identity of Israel," Peleg argued. 

"It is no wonder that MKs from Jewish Home and Shas canceled their participation for just these reasons."