Does NIF support organisations that promote the global BDS campaign? - New Israel Fund Australia

Does NIF support organisations that promote the global BDS campaign?

No. NIF does not support BDS for a number of reasons, including:

  • Elements of the BDS movement have been critical of Israel's right to exist as a democratic home for the Jewish people, contravening the Jewish people's right to self-determination. While it is appropriate to criticise institutional issues facing non-Jews in Israel, we oppose attempts to undermine the right of the Jewish people to a homeland, which are, in any event, counterproductive.
  • The source of the most significant and reliable evidence of the injustice of the continued occupation are Israeli organisations, including B’Tselem and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, funded by NIF. Boycotting Israeli organisations which are fighting the occupation undermines the objective of ending the occupation.
  • The boycott applies to artists and academics, who are amongst the most articulate critics of the occupation, providing a highly effective voice of opposition. Their voices are integral to mobilising the Israeli (and global) public to oppose harmful policies against Palestinians.
  • Significant voices in the Israeli public sphere support an end to the occupation. Their voices need to be harnessed and heard by the Israeli government. A boycott is likely to result in Israelis with moderate views feeling under siege, hardening their attitudes toward the occupation.

NIF also does not support a boycott of settlement goods. No grantee of the New Israel Fund promotes a boycott of settlement goods.

NIF supports the civil right of Israeli citizens, like citizens in any other country, to express their political, ethical or other values in deciding how they wish to spend their money. NIF will therefore not restrict funds to an organisation that chooses not to purchase goods produced across the Green line.

In April, 2015, Israel’s High Court of Justice upheld the so-called ‘Boycott Law’ which makes it illegal for Israelis to advocate for a boycott of settlement goods along with offences and penalties. The law also enables any Israeli advocating such a boycott to be sued for damages.

NIF opposes the law. A number of NIF grantees initiated the challenge to the law in the High Court on the basis that it unduly restricts freedom of speech and impinges on the civil rights of Israelis to spend their money as they wish.

Further, NIF takes the view that the effect of the law is to blur the distinction between Israel proper and the occupied West Bank territory as has been unjustifiably done by some of Israel’s worst critics. On the occasion of Yom Ha’atzmaut 2015, NIF CEO Daniel Sokatch wrote that:

“As we all know, Palestinians living under Israeli rule in the West Bank do not enjoy the same rights as the Israeli settlers there. While Israel proper is a democracy, nobody can credibly argue that this is true in the territories. By blurring the distinction between Israel and the occupation, as this law insists on doing, the Knesset (and now the High Court too) are contributing to the acceleration of Israel’s delegitimization on the world stage.”