Support for NIF is Support for the Southampton Anti-Semitic Conference

NIF supports anti-Israel organizations and it is about time US donors start examining where their money is going, even if the organization has a name that includes the word "Israel".

Tags: NIF BDS Adalah
Ronn Torossian

OpEds Ronn Torossian
Ronn Torossian

Shame on New Israel Fund Donors: Alisa Doctoroff, Jewish Communal Fund & Others Help Support Anti-Semitic UK Conference

The headline of the UK Telegraph reads “University's 'anti-Semitic' Israel conference condemned”, describing the conference which will be held on April 17-19 at The University of Southampton in the UK. Reading on in that article, one learns that Critics have said the conference – International Law and the State of Israel: Legitimacy, Responsibility and Exceptionalism – would be a ‘one-sided’ exercise in Israel-bashing and provide a platform for anti-Semitic views.”

Jewish leaders in the UK including the Board of Deputies of British Jews and UK Zionist Federation have naturally pushed to have this event cancelled. They wrote that this conference appears “to surpass the acceptable,” and “it sets out explicitly to question the very legitimacy of a member state of the UN.” Allowing the conference would be “a perverse, existential attack on a state”, and they accused Southampton’s Law School of “being used as an academic platform to advance not just legitimate Palestinian national rights, to which we have no objection, but rather to blacken, demonize and delegitimize the very right of existence of the State of Israel.”

They are absolutely right. 

The university's website advertising the conference notes that the event will question the both the legal and moral right of the state of Israel.”  That is what anti-Semites do – they hate Jews and they hate Israel. 

While it is worth condemning the countless Jew-haters who are participating, I believe more condemnation is due to the Jewish leaders who support – even tacitly – heinous activities like these.

Speakers at this event will discuss the end of Israel as a Jewish State, and the need to boycott Israel. And participating speakers also include at least one organization which is funded by the New Israel Fund (NIF). 

Donors to the NIF are therefore responsible, as events like this cost money.

Sawsan Zaher, Senior Attorney at Adalah, which received $1,673,634 in funding from the NIF between 2008-2013 will speak at the anti-Semitic conference. Adalah maintains a “Discriminatory Laws in Israel” database on its website, and supported a 2008 “lawfare” case against Israeli officials. Zaher has stated that Israel’s discriminatory laws constitute “apartheid.” 

In response to criticism, NIF’s spokesperson, Naomi Paiss, tweeted that NIF-funded organizations have the right to make their own decisions. 

Indeed they do, but the donors to NIF also have the right to stop funding this anti-Semitic behavior. 

American Jewish leaders and organizations who, by donating to NIF, help fund these issues and these causes, must explain their actions. This is not a right-wing issue or a left-wing issue; it is something which is outside the bounds of acceptability.

The State of Israel is under assault by a delegitimacy campaign that includes slandering the IDF and calling for a boycott against Israel. This campaign is partially financed by Jewish money that comes from American foundations and private donors who support Israeli organizations that are active in this campaign.  One of the major foundations behind this is the New Israel Fund.

The reality is that Alisa Doctoroff, President of UJA-Federation is a supporter of the New Israel Fund.  The reality is that Karen R. Adler, President of the Jewish Communal Fund is supporter of The New Israel Fund.  Charlene Seidle, of the Leichtag Foundation also serves as President of San Diego’s Jewish Community Foundation and is a supporter of The New Israel Fund.  These people must rethink their donations and support or be condemned.

Irwin and Joan Jacobs made a $133-million pledge to establish the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute at Cornell NYC Tech. This is great for Israel - but how can they also give to New Israel Fund? The Edith and Henry Everett Foundation is the Chair of American Friends of Israel Sci-Tech Schools, and the Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund donate to the Friends of Israel Defense Forces, and also donate to NIF. 

The JCRC of NY also stands with NIF by refusing to dis-allow them to march in the annual Israel Day Parade even though many organizations supported by the NIF play an active role in promoting the delegitimization of Israel in general and the IDF in particular.

Israeli academic, Professor Gerald Steinberg said that the New Israel Fund is an organization that “..claim[s] to support Israel and human rights principles, [while] they enable the highly destructive activities that do the opposite. By the time these funders acknowledge this failure and end their support, the damage will be done.”

Those who support New Israel Fund help fund their partner organizations which call Israel a “temporary Jewish apartheid state.”  Those who oppose what the UK Telegraph described as a “University's 'anti-Semitic' Israel conference”, must also urge donors to The New Israel Fund to stop donating money.