I wanted to let you know about recent attacks against the New Israel Fund.
As you know, our support for liberal democracy, freedom of expression, and human and civil rights have made us a target for the far right in Israel. In this election season -- when so many incumbents are running from their records -- tarring NIF can serve as a convenient distraction. Several hardline politicians backed out of a conference on democracy run by Haaretz because of NIF’s co-sponsorship, prompting the publisher of Haaretz to print this two-page spread praising our work. Both the Likud and the Jewish Home campaigns have directly gone after us (although a lawyer for the Likud later issued an apology). A settler group also produced this slick and disgusting video alleging that we are funded by anti-Semites.
Sadly, these baseless attacks have spread to Australia as well, where right-wing blogs and radio shows have posted articles that twist NIF’s record and urged the community to “ostracise” NIF.
I would very much like to ignore these articles rather than give them undeserved publicity. However, prominent community leaders have escalated these smears in the past week, promoting ads being run in the US by the leader of a hate group profiled by the Anti-Defamation League, placing enormous pressure on cross-communal events to have NIF representatives withdrawn, and hounding our supporters and donors.
Given what’s happening, I thought it was important to share some details of this campaign with you.
You should know that NIF is on top of this. Our efforts in Australia continue undeterred to bring together people who care about Israel and believe in progressive values, to pool their resources, and to invest in critical work on the ground -- work to realize Israel’s founders’ vision of Israel as a liberal democracy.
It is very regrettable that NIF is forced to defend itself against baseless allegations. We prefer instead to maintain focus on what we do best, activities that led the leader of Israel's Zionist Camp, Isaac ‘Buji’ Herzog, to publicly describe NIF as “gift to the people of Israel.”
We are still running our exciting new program for young Jewish leaders to change the community conversation, the Naomi Chazan Fellowship, and later this year we are bringing two exciting guests to spark new and interesting discussions about Israel.
If you have received these e-mails or been pressured by people whose aim is to quash discussion and delegitimise progressive voices, we ask that you stand tall. Collectively, our voices for social justice, democracy and human rights will remain strong.
Thank you for everything you do.
President, NIF Australia
P.S. We're still holding our post-election event next Wednesday with Naomi Chazan. Join us at Shalom College, or via webinar, and show your support for NIF, and for democracy in Israel.