By Ronn Torossian
With the seeming unrelenting rise of anti-Semitism and anti-Israel advocacy, charitable individuals need to be even more vigilant of whom they are trusting with their money when it comes to Israel-related donations. Well-intentioned supporters of Israel must understand that they are prime targets of a well-organized anti-Israel apparatus that disguises itself as a positive force for Israel’s future.
The New York-based New Israel Fund (NIF) non-profit raises money to support groups and projects in Israel, but many of its grantees are actually undermining Israel’s government, economy, and military. The organization’s façade is supportive of Israel, funding some truly useful and humanistic causes, but the bulk of its funding supports underhanded projects that chip away at Israel’s foundations.
Proud supporters of Israel, concerned about the wellbeing of the Jewish state and its citizens, need to understand the NIF’s true intentions, which are not completely different from those of some of the Arab groups influencing Palestinians. NIF’s underlying mission is to weaken the state of Israel through supporting initiatives focusing on economic boycotts and delegitimizing Israel’s military and leaders. It funds just enough humanitarian programs to gain support and positive recognition, then uses its money and influence to back groups and programs that shake the stability of the Jewish state.
Israel has enough enemies; it must not bear the NIF creating more. Many donors certainly agree with parts of the NIF’s agenda that are important, like social justice for all people and furthering women’s rights, and the name of the organization and its few grants to important causes explain how these donors are undoubtedly unaware of where their money is going. In fact, many would not support the majority of NIF activities if they knew more about what the NIF was involved in.
The NIF’s grantees push economic boycotts, even though NIF itself claims not to do so. NIF fiercely challenged Israel’s anti-boycott law. Fortunately, they lost that battle. They granted money to many organizations that have expressed anti-Israel views, including the Human Rights Defenders Fund, Physicians for Human Rights, Breaking the Silence, B’Tselem, and Adalah. Each of these organizations has done their part to damage Israel’s morale, provoke anti-Semitism disguised as anti-Israel sentiment, and promote ideologies that would seriously undermine the foundations of Israel. The NIF has been fooling donors into paying for Israel’s deconstruction.
Following last year’s Operation Protective Edge, organizations heavily funded by the NIF released reports that were covered by Arab media, shining a negative light on Israel. Breaking the Silence, a prominent partner of NIF, released a report that alleging that Israeli army commanders sought to kill Palestinian civilians. Physicians for Human Rights claimed that Israel infringed on human rights and international legal norms during the Gaza war.
With the release of these reports, the NIF’s funds are being used to accuse Israel of methodically endangering innocent Palestinian children and adults, and to recommending that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) be considered alongside terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, and Islamic State. In reality, the IDF is one of the most humanitarian armies in the world and goes to great lengths to avoid civilian casualties. The NIF is damaging the IDF’s image by ignoring blatant war crimes against Israel such as Hamas’s “human shields,” rockets from Gaza, terror attacks against Jews, and the basic fact that the Hamas charter calls for Israel’s destruction.
Recently, the illusory agenda of the NIF has become increasingly involved with funding the boycotting of Israel. On June 3, Stephane Richard, CEO of the French telecom giant Orange, said he wished to terminate the company’s ties with Partner Communications, Orange’s cell phone service operator in Israel, supposedly due to Partner’s work in areas beyond Israel’s pre-1967 borders. A report written by several NGOs was used to pressure Orange in France. “Who Profits from the Occupation?”—one of the NGOs leading boycotts of Israel in Europe—accuses Partner of aiding Israel’s efforts during Operation Protective Edge by participating in the “Adopt a Soldier” project and offering discounted cell phone service rates to IDF soldiers. Orange has since rescinded that boycott call, but “Who Profits” has persuaded other companies to withdraw their investments from Israel. “Who Profits” is a project launched in 2006 by the Coalition of Women for Peace, an organization that was—surprise!—largely funded by the NIF.
The NIF supports groups like Machsom Watch, Mossawa, and Social Television-Syncopa— organizations that have dangerous anti-Israel agendas. The insidious nature of the NIF must become more public.
Ronn Torossian is the CEO of a leading New York PR firm. He is a lifelong New Yorker and author of best-selling PR book “For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations.”