Monday, February 01, 2010

Im Tirtzu's Attack on the New Israel Fund

Im Tirtzu, a right-wing student organization who for some reason insists on calling itself a centrist movement, has started a campaign against the New Israel Fund and its chairwoman, former MK Prof. Naomi Chazan. In ads in newspapers and online, Im Tirtzu claims that 92 percent of the negative claims against Israel and the IDF in the Goldstone Report whose source is Israeli, came from organizations funded by the NIF. They invite people to read a report they prepared, and I assume they hope people won't actually read the report. I read it, and checked out some of their refrences to the Goldstone Report.

They're careful to say it is 92% of negatives claims against Israel made by Israeli organizations, but most people who read it would think it is a whopping 92% of all claims, which isn't the case. Remember, that NIF sources are less than 14% of the whole sources of the Goldstone Report. The Palestinians' claims would still be there even if it weren't for NIF-funded organizations.

Now, how did they get to the exact 92% figure. They took 191 references to NIF sources (including "New Profile", which Naomi Chazan has already said is not affiliated with the NIF), plus 56 references to non-NIF Israeli organizations. At this stage, the NIF is responsible for only 77% of the references. That isn't bad enough, so Im Tirtzu needed to increase the percentage. What did they do? They split the 56 non-NIF references to those who are either supportive of Israel or neutral (40) and those who criticize it (16). So those critical of Israel are now 191 NIF sources (92%) and 16 non-NIF sources (8%). But wait, why didn't they perform a similar split between NIF sources criticizing Israel and those supporting it? I noticed that at least a few of the NIF sources they listed actually talk about life under the threat of the Qassams. If I had the time to go over all the references, I'm sure I'd be able to find more NIF sources in the Goldstone Report that are either supportive of Israel or neutral.

I have to say that I'm not too thrilled with the organizations that did give the Goldstone Commission certain one-sided information, but it's their right to give the Commission information as they see it. This McCarthyist campaign by Im Tirtzu is disgusting.

The New Israel Fund has many great programs in Israel, most of them not related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I would hate to see them lose contributions because of this slanted report.


  1. I like this post up to the point where you write:

    I have to say that I'm not too thrilled with the organizations that did give the Goldstone Commission certain one-sided information [...]

    Ah yes, the eternal and nonsensical clamour for 'balance'. So if the NIF found proof of this or that wrongdoing by the IDF it would be required to 'balance' that with some wrongdoing by Hamas, all in the name of, erm... 'balance'?

    The Truth isn't a profit-and-loss sheet, it doesn't require balancing...

    It's a great fallacy that to every story there are two sides: often that is not the case and where it is, often the two sides aren't equivalent at all.

    It's a great ploy by Zionism at its supporters to try and 'share' the blame but in most cases the blame lies squarely with the perpetrators.

  2. Bad phrasing on my part. At least some of the organizations also provided information that wasn't negative towards Israel, so one-sidedness isn't really the problem.

    I think Israeli organizations should fight within the Israeli system - politically and through lawsuits - and not by providing information to other govenments and inter-governmental organizations. Just my own preference. They have a right to use tactics I don't like. In their defense, though, a lot of the sources coming from these organizations actually weren't provided directly to the Goldstone Commission, but were existing reports and lawsuits.

  3. E-man, thanks for the positive post!

    There are over 450 Israeli sources cited in the Goldstone report and NIF's grantees are only 16 of them. The others include Israeli generals like IDF Northern Commander Gadi Eizenkot, MK Eli Yishai, and IDF Colonel Gabriel Siboni -- quotes pulled from the pages of Maariv itself (oh my!).

    Our grantees DO work with in the Israeli system and were the first to appeal to the Israeli government for an independent investigation, like those after the Sabra and Shatila incidents in the First Lebanon War. This is what human rights groups do, and a democracy without them isn't democracy.

    Even ADL head Abe Foxman himself said in the New York Jewish Week that Im Tirtzu’s campaign is an "outrageous is absurd to blame Goldstone on NIF.”

    We’ve asked all supporters of NIF and democracy to email Prime Minister Netanyahu to put a stop to the right-wing ministers trying to defund NIF in the Knesset. Please share this link far and wide: