Good Jews Who Do Not Know They Are Funding Extremists
Good Jews Who Do Not Know They Are Funding Extremists

In reviewing the most recently available financial report of the New Israel Fund, one can be amazed at some of their donors who - we hope - are not fully aware of the activities of the New Israel Fund (NIF), which provides nearly $27 million to radical left-wing and some openly anti-Israel organizations. 

While many donors use NIF purely as a “clearinghouse” whereby their funds are passed to “partner” organizations, by using NIF as a conduit donors are lending tacit support to issues which are dangerous to the State of Israel. Check the organizations who receive their funds and it is clear.

How many NIF donors support the viewpoints of Alma Biblash, the Executive Director of the Human Rights Defenders Fund (HRDF) an organization to whom the NIF authorized grants worth $332,625 from 2011-2013, and who has called Israel “racist,” and “murderous,” and described the country as a “temporary Jewish apartheid state.” Biblash supports Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns and promotes the Palestinian Arab ‘right of return.’

Knesset members have accused NIF of “lobbying and funding activities that are all part of a campaign to destabilize the IDF”, but one wonders during times like these how many of their donors are actually aware of the NIF partner organizations calling Israel a “temporary Jewish apartheid state.”

One of NIF’s largest donors, The Leichtag Foundation is devoted to “..Igniting and inspiring vibrant Jewish life, advancing self-sufficiency and stimulating social entrepreneurship in coastal North San Diego County and Jerusalem.”They believe in “supporting renewal in Jerusalem and building connections between San Diego and Israel.” No matter where they may stand on a two-state issue, it would be hard to imagine them supporting the radical extremism espoused by NIF.

Another 6-figure NIF donor, the Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund, announce vocally on the Internet that they are proud donors to the Friends of Israel Defense Forces, a great organization which provides supplies to IDF soldiers. 

Yet another major donor, Bob Arnow, is “a founder and former Board Chairman of The Jewish Week, General Chairman of the UJA-Federation, Chairman Emeritus of the Board of Governors of Ben-Gurion University, and Board Member of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.”  People involved with UJA, Ben-Gurion University and the JTA may not agree politically with a Likud Government – but surely would be quite concerned at the words of Deputy Speaker of the Knesset Yoni Chetboun that “The main goal of the NIF is to undermine the Israeli Army, by knowingly financing left-wing Israeli groups that try to get young Israeli soldiers prosecuted for war crimes.”

The list of good Jews who are NIF donors goes on and on – From Lela Goren, whose brothers founded Israeli tech company Radiant Systems to Dan Doctoroff to the Stella and Charles Guttman Foundation, who believe in “Arab-Israeli co-existence” but would not agree in harming the very essence of Israel as a Jewish state. 

Extremists of all sorts must be rejected, especially when it comes to the delicate and volatile Middle East. Funding NIF, even if they have some programs one can support with a clear conscience, also encourages extremists and helps lead to more bloodshed in the Middle East. Concerned donors should insist on giving directly to the charity of their choice – and not via an extremist organization like the New Israel Fund.

Ronn Torossian is a philanthropist, author and entrepreneur.

Note: The photo accompanying this article (click oped in the menu at the top of the main page to see it) is from an Israeli students' organization demonstration. The Hebrew says "We are persecuted by NIF."