A motion to investigate the New Israel Fund (NIF)by Israeli MK Otniel Schneller was withdrawn because of “intense pressure.” Other MKs may try to hold hearings, but if anyone does take up the issue, it won’t be easy. Investigating the NIF will expose not only Kadima, Labor, and anti-settlement and anti-Israel organizations, but their connections to Israeli politicians — especially President Shimon Peres, his Peres Center for Peace, and its supporters.
The Peres Center has quietly backed NGOs through a network of relationships and meetings. It organized a conference of Palestinians and anti-Israel NGOs in Florence in June 2007, which included B’Tselem, Rabbis for Human Rights, Israeli Committee Against House Demolition, Yesh Din, Peace Now, and others. Ron Pundak, president of the Peres Center, was the host. Former MK Avrum Burg, a founder of Peace Now who recently urged Israelis to acquire foreign citizenship, gave the keynote.
The Peres Center supports a host of NGOs, like the Palestinian-Israeli Peace NGO Forum, and other organizations that demonize and delegitimize Israel. Peace NGO organizes demonstrations against Jews living in eastern Jerusalem, like those in Sheikh Jarrah.
The NIF works with the Council for Peace and Security, a small but vocal group of anti-settlement former IDF officers and prominent Israelis, including former Justice Aharon Barak.
Of the 123 NIF grantees, half are Arab or pro-Arab organizations with political agendas.
The NIF is funded by many foundations (in addition to multi-million dollar Ford Foundation grants). These include Bronfman, Cummings, Blaustein, Dorot, Kaplan, Sandler (ex-owners of Global West banks and major supporters of Human Rights Watch), Arnow, and others.
The NIF International Council — composed of prominent individuals, most of whom oppose Israeli settlements — includes former U.S. Secretary of State Martin Indyk; Yoram Peri, former advisor to Yitzhak Rabin and ex-editor of Davar; Yehudit Karp, former deputy attorney general; Professor Mordechai Kremnitzer, VP of the Israel Democracy Institute; and former Minister of Justice David Libai.
PM Netanyahu may or may not order an investigation, but this would be limited, since his coalition and their supporters include some of the very people who would be exposed.
Many NIF-sponsored NGOs advocate what is called an “alternative narrative”: Israel (i.e., Jews) is illegally occupying and stealing Palestinian land; Israel is a racist, apartheid country; Israel persecutes, oppresses, and humiliates Arab Palestinians, the “indigenous people of Palestine,” which was invaded and occupied by European Jews; Israel deprives Palestinians of dignity and justice and subjects them to daily humiliation.
Through their extensive influence in business, finance, media, and politics, the NIF and the Peres Center have created an interlocking directorate of anti-settlement NGOs and their supporters around the world. With mega-funding, media influence, and political support, they can distort issues and promote agendas behind the scenes. Camouflaged as “human/civil rights/peace organizations,” pro-Arab NGOs are engaged in presenting false and misleading information that serves to demonize and delegitimize Israel. This does not mean that all individuals involved support anti-Israel activities, but they sit at the same table and provide them with an aura of respectability and authenticity.
Wielding enormous influence in Israeli society, this elite group influences higher education and policymaking, shuttling back and forth between government, academia, business, and the legal profession. They are the enablers that allow anti-Israel NGOs to function, and — aided by a compliant media — to assert their agenda.
With the rise of post/anti-Zionism among Israelis, and the struggle between Israelism and a more pronounced Jewish ideology, the attraction of religious Zionism threatens the dominance of the secular elite. In order to preserve their power nexus, that elite seeks to crush all opposition. They can do this physically by destroying settlements or ideologically by portraying Jews who live there as fanatical, anti-human/civil rights, oppressive, cruel, violent, and uncompromising.
The NIF and the Peres Center for Peace are leading this crusade.