By George Birnbaum
One of the more famous quotes of William Shakespeare, “Methinks thou dost protest too much,” gives insight into human nature. The louder or more vitriolic one protests, the more one is usually trying to distract from the truth. The response by the New Israel Fund’s Atlanta Council to the article co-written by Hank Sheinkopf, Ronn Torossian and myself is full of vitriol and protest that we say to NIF, “Thou dost protest too much.”
Even though the NIF Atlanta leadership claims to want “civil debate,” it launched a personal attack, including attacking my positions while representing them inaccurately.
Rather than resort to the baseless vitriol typical of NIF, we would rather stick to facts and truth.
Fact 1: The NIF council claims that we “hate NIF’s belief that a two-state solution is essential if Israel is to remain both a Jewish and a democratic state.” The reality is that while NIF positions itself in the United States as a moderate organization, in Israel it is shunned as extremists by the left, right and center.
From the Labor Party to the ruling Likud party, from fiercely secular Yair Lapid to the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, all say that a boycott of any sort against Israel is blatantly anti-Israel. NIF does not oppose a boycott of goods and services from the West Bank. The issue with NIF is that it works to destroy Israel as a Jewish state, not whether it supports a two-state vs. one-state solution. NIF works around the world against the Israel Defense Forces.
We accept political differences; we don’t accept boycotts against the state of Israel.
Fact 2: The NIF council claims that “Birnbaum, Sheinkopf and Torossian are promoting an extreme-right-wing agenda.” We stand with the state of Israel, and much like Haim Saban and Sheldon Adelson, who recently held a noteworthy conference to oppose a boycott, the three of us, who have many political differences, have only one agenda: We stand with the state of Israel.
Fact 3: The Atlanta council claims that NIF is against the BDS movement. The facts indicate otherwise. Before the Israeli Supreme Court, petitioners who sought permission to advocate boycotts of Israel were NIF-funded organizations, including Gush Shalom, Adalah — the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel.
Fact 4: NIF supports organizations that support the families of terrorists. When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered law enforcement to destroy the homes of the families of terrorists who had murdered Jews, Hamoked petitioned the Supreme Court on behalf of the terrorists and their families. Hamoked is a grantee of the New Israel Fund, which provided $688,901 worth of grants from 2008 to 2013.
Fact 5: Two other NIF-funded organizations — Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem — published well-publicized reports slandering the IDF’s conduct during Operation Protective Edge. These reports contribute to the delegitimization campaign against Israel and gives the international community false information to help level harsh criticism against Israel. Thus, for example, Fatou Bensouda, the head prosecutor at the International Criminal Court at The Hague, which is conducting a preliminary investigation into the events of Operation Protective Edge, noted that her office will use Breaking the Silence’s report.
Fact 6: Anyone who is confused about NIF’s intentions should apply an old adage in politics and criminal justice — “to get to the truth, just follow the money.” The simple truth is that NIF’s money trail leads to organizations, foundations and NGOs that directly harm Israel through BDS, anti-IDF movements and a general delegitimization of Israel in the international community. A simple review of some of the grantees that have received NIF money, and hence Jewish donor money, can be viewed at www.ngo-monitor.org/article/new_israel_fund.
Don’t take our word for it, and don’t take NIF’s word for it. Simply look up the facts and decide. Some of these organizations’ history, rhetoric and actions are in complete contrast to what NIF claims is its mission.
Our goal is simply to stand with Israel. All one has to do is review NIF’s grantee list to know that if you stand with Israel, you cannot stand with NIF.