Israeli media goes after New Israel Fund: “responsible for Goldstone Report”

Posted: January 31st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: elections, In the News, media, Polls, The Right, the US and us | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments »
the anti NIF add from Sunday's Jpost

the anti NIF add from Sunday's Jpost

The New Israel Fund (NIF), the American based progressive organization that sponsors social justice projects in Israel, is the victim of a new smear campaign launched by the right-wing movement “Im Tirzu” (אם תרצו) and picked up by Israeli media. Im Tirzu, together with right-wing MK’s and even IDF and Shin Beit seniors, are demanding Knesset and government actions that will prevent the NIF from transferring funds to Israeli human rights and peace organizations – and possibly even ban the organization altogether.

Im Tirzu’s campaign against NIF started in the cover story of Maariv’s political section this weekend. An article by Maariv’s senior political correspondent, Ben Caspit, quoted a claim put forward by Im Tirzu, according to which human rights and peace groups are responsible to more than 90 percent of the evidence against Israel in the Goldstone report. This was a gross misrepresentation of the facts to begin with, because as even Im Tirzu’s representatives admit, the Goldstone report was based mainly on evidence collected form Palestinians and international sources. From the data provided by Israeli sources, 42 percent came form human rights groups.  It didn’t bother Mr. Caspit to make it sound like it was Israeli NGO’s who were behind the entire report.

Israel’s image is at an all-times low. International pressure is mounting, and with it the calls for boycott. All this was fueled by the Goldstone report, which was in itself fueled by Israeli sources. The funding for these sources is provided by, amongst others, the NIF. The question is whether the New Israeli Fund is indeed for Israel.

Caspit mentions 300 grassroots and social organizations receiving funds through the NIF, and asks: “is all this activity just intended to serve as a front for radical subversive activity, acting against the very foundations of the state?”

Caspit never bothered to call anyone in the INF or other NGO’s to discuss this story. The fund was only given a few words of official comment at the bottom of the article, and the notion that “more than 90 percent of the Goldstone report is based on Israeli sources” has become a “fact” used by the mainstream media.

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During the weekend, Im Tirzu activists demonstrated in front of the house of former MK and the chairman of the NIF, Naomi Hazan. They were dressed with Kafia’s and carried signs saying “I hate the IDF, and I support Naomi Hazan.”

Today (Sunday), the popular host of channel 2 news, Avri Gilad, interviewed on his morning show one of the heads of Im Tirzu, and while doing so, referred to this demonstration as a left wing one against the IDF. “The signs say it all,” Gilad said. “They hate the IDF.” Had channel 2 bothered to check the clip before airing it, or to host in their studio someone from the NIF, they would have found out immediately that this is a right wing hoax. But Gilad was in such a rush to denounce the left, such details never bothered him, and he even repeated his mistake on his radio show on the IDF station.

You can watch the interview here. The protest comes after 4:40 min.

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Today, Im Tirzu wrapped things up in a Der Strumer-style add at the Jerusalem post aimed against Naomi Hazan and the NIF (shown above). Meanwhile, in Maariv, Ben Caspit reported that the Knesset will discuss “the involvement of the NIF in the Goldstone report”. MK Yisrael Hasson  (from opposition party Kadima!) called to investigate all NGO’s “which aid Hamas with their activities.”

As Didi Remez pointed on Coteret blog, Maariv’s story this morning reveals that even IDF and Shin Beit officials are involved for sometime in efforts to introduce measures against Israeli human rights organizations:

Now it turns out that the materials exposed on the weekend are familiar to the IDF authorities and the legal authorities in Israel. Some of them were given half a year ago to the Military Advocate General Brig. Gen. Avichai Mandelblit.

He checked the material and gave it to the Atty. Gen., with a recommendation to open an official investigation. No such investigation has been made so far. The Israel Security Agency [Shin Bet; GSS] is also familiar with the material and the sensitive issue. Taking action against this is not simple because NIF is a registered association in the US. Also, it is noteworthy that a large part of the fund’s activities in Israel are devoted to social and public issues of the first order.

At the time of writing, following Maariv, other right wing media organizations in Israel are joining the campaign, and even the Examiner is now claiming NIF and Naomi Hazan (“former Member of Knesset for the semi-Marxist Meretz Party”, as they refer to her) are in fact front men for Hamas.

I will report more on this issue in the next few days.


5 Comments on “Israeli media goes after New Israel Fund: “responsible for Goldstone Report””

  1. 1 alan said at 3:33 pm on January 31st, 2010:

    reminds me of the acorn witchhunt

  2. 2 IsraeliMom said at 10:11 pm on January 31st, 2010:

    What a strange choice though of someone to pick on. Hazan isn’t even radical-left. She’s an admirable woman and an asset to Israel in so many ways.

    Is there actual proof that Hazan personally contributed to the Goldstone report? because if there is, this would make me take the report much more seriously. That woman knows her stuff.

  3. 3 Noor al Haqiqa said at 1:01 pm on February 1st, 2010:

    Why not just own up to what the rest of the world saw and get to work with a clear slate to repair some of the damage done.

    Or is that just too easy? It is much easier to blame others for their own crimes, finger pointing is just so futile when the cat is only out of the bag, don’t you agree?

    At this point, nothing will undo the damage done. No amount of damage control can put the truth under wraps again. It matters not who paid for it at this junction and going after them in such a manner is rather like blaming them for your actions.

    This black eye will not disappear easily, too many vessels were broken.

  4. 4 Michael LeFavour said at 4:57 pm on February 1st, 2010:

    “Why not just own up to what the rest of the world saw and get to work with a clear slate to repair some of the damage done. ”

    The problem with that ridiculous statement is that the world did not see it. The Arabs calling themselves Palestinians are selling the usual snake oil. All the perfume and tinsel will not hide the smell and look of the rotting dog carcass underneath, which is the lie that the IDF did anything wrong.

  5. 5 Jerry Goodman said at 8:07 pm on February 2nd, 2010:

    I do not really know Ms. Hazan but this story essentially reports a discredited Ma’ariv story by Caspit, and an absurd quote from the Examiner. Is there any proof cited for the allegations? None. Is there an anti-democratic trend beginning among right wing media? Is there a move to suppress dissenting views, by smearing a person who is committed to a Jewish and democratic state but with a different vision of that state? Shame.