Disliking Netanyahu should not mean supporting B’Tselem

Bibi might not be your cup of tea, but don’t drink poison trying to prove it.

Douglas Altabef

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There is something of a cottage industry in Israel focused on novel ways to show dislike, lack of support, or just plain contempt for the Prime Minister. Whether it is the endless series of investigations, or the weekly protests against him, there are no shortage of outlets for citizens to rise up and basically proclaim, “ABB (Anybody but Bibi)!” 

This past week this knee jerk anti Bibi-ism took a new, and self-destructive turn. After the Prime Minister most appropriately and directly laid blame for the collapse of the government’s previously consensually accepted deportation plan for illegal African migrants on the New Israel Fund (NIF), the NIF did what it does best: it played the role of the aggrieved victim, inviting other Bibi-haters to show their colors by – what else – making a donation to the New Israel Fund.

Recognize that making a donation to the NIF is a classic example of taking coal to Newcastle. It would be like making sure to remember George Soros’s Open Society Fund, or the Ford Foundation. In other words, it is giving money to those for whom money is like air to the rest of us.

This rush to burnish the armor of Goliath would be merely laughable if it weren’t for the reality of how that money is going to be spent. Israelis need to know that their slap at Bibi will be used to support the efforts of B’Tselem to have IDF soldiers refuse orders, and of course when they don’t, to accuse them of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Much of the tens of millions that the NIF raises each year goes to organizations whose mission is to overturn government policies, particularly as concerns the Palestinians.

This might include Breaking the Silence’s efforts to smear and libel IDF soldiers in the name of forcing the government to retreat from Judea and Samaria, or Machsom Watch and B’Tselem’s attempts at playing “Gotcha” with soldiers, hoping against hope to find them doing something, anything, that can be turned into a blanket condemnation of the enterprise of defending Israel. Then there is Adalah, which is hell bent on killing the Jewish character of the State by 1,000 cuts.

These and many others like them are long term favorite recipients of NIF largesse. There is a certain symbiosis at work here. Together with foreign governments which share the same goals and agenda, the NIF gives these organizations the resources to try to undermine the government at every turn, and the organizations in turn provide the NIF with deniability.

This was recently shown with great clarity when the NIF was repeatedly accused of supporting BDS, and tried to parry the accusation by saying that they were shocked, shocked by BDS, but on the other hand would not hold it against any of their grantees who had decided to engage in BDS in Judea and Samaria.

As we say in my native Bronx, you can’t make this stuff up. Who actually believes that there is a distinction between the convictions, if not the outright directives, of the NIF and their highly dependent grantees? Rest assured, if the NIF opposed BDS, wherever it was found, you would not hear a peep about it from their minions.

So, I strongly suspect, we will see the same thing here with the migrant issue. The NIF has acted with great hurt and grievance over the idea that they lobbied Rwanda to back out of their arrangement with the Israeli Government to accept migrants. What they did not tell you is what it is that their grantees have been doing.

It has already become evident that NIF grantees were active in the effort to subvert the deal, by, at a minimum sending a letter to the Rwandan government urging them to abrogate the deal. It would not come as a big surprise if we come to learn that more active lobbying with Rwanda had been pursued.

Again, who will believe the self-righteous denials of the NIF as to their innocence in this matter? This is manipulative cynicism at its finest, and of course the defense for it is that in the name of the “right course” all tactics are fair game.

Any Israelis who believe that the Prime Minister is the embodiment of all that they oppose should seriously ponder the implications of what they are saying when they embrace the NIF as a way to slap down Bibi. Do you really want to be supporting B’Tselem? Are you actually supportive of Breaking the Silence? Is Adalah’s agenda yours as well?

If the answer is of course not, then think again about where you are spending your shekels and expending your support. Bibi might not be your cup of tea, but don’t drink poison trying to prove it.

Douglas Altabef is Chairman of the Board of Im Tirtzu and a Director of the Israel Independence Fund. He can be reached at dougaltabef@gmail.com.