At the end of his recent AJT opinion column titled “BDS, NIF and the Race for Governor” (Dec. 1), Mitchell Kaye writes, “It is time to ask local NIF leaders where they stand.”
We’re glad he asked so that we can answer.
We, the members of the Atlanta Regional Council of the New Israel Fund, stand behind NIF in its now almost 4-decade-old mission to empower those in Israel who struggle daily to build a society as envisioned by its founders: a Jewish and democratic country that protects the rights of all its residents.
We have no doubt that Kaye cares for Israel’s well-being as much as we do — a group that includes people who have lived in and are citizens of Israel, who have served in the Israel Defense Forces, whose children live in and have served in the IDF, and who own homes in Israel.
Kaye no doubt knows this, and, as such, it is particularly troubling that he would propagate the half-truths, misrepresentations and outright lies about NIF that originate from the Israeli version of the alt-right media — “alternative facts” that have time and time again been debunked.
Most important and insidious, Kaye would have you believe that NIF supports the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, a claim that has been repeated by alt-right Israeli media for years despite being disproved over and over again. As stated unequivocally on its website, nif.org, NIF does not support BDS and will not grant funding to any organization that does.
Kaye also mentions a recent investigation involving Breaking the Silence but omits the fact that the investigation included significant lapses, for which it was roundly criticized as inherently political and not credible.
Breaking the Silence is a unique organization that creates a space for Israeli soldiers who have served in the West Bank or Gaza to talk about their experiences. Their stories are often hard to hear, but they’ve proved their integrity in the face of those who would prefer that they not be heard.
Ironically, Kaye’s column can have a positive consequence if it opens the eyes of those who truly love Israel to the fact that disdain for truth, for honest media and for civil society has permeated the seats of power in the Jewish state just as it has the current American administration and its alt-right allies.
We are therefore particularly appreciative of the support NIF lends to The Whistle, a recently created, data-driven, nonpartisan nongovernmental organization that works to promote a fact-based political culture in Israel. We encourage Kaye and all other AJT readers who care about Israel and who care about the truth to learn more at thewhistle.co.il.
As much as anything else, NIF stands for truth. And we stand behind NIF.
The members of the Atlanta Regional Council of the New Israel Fund are Steve Berman, Lois Frank, Leah Fuhr, Jan Jaben-Eilon, Robin Kramarow, Judy Lipshutz, Charles Miller, David Minkin, Glenda Minkin, A.J. Robinson, Shai Robkin, Harry Stern and Charles Taylor.