“It was a test for Norwegian society – whether this would be a peaceful protest or not.” All right. But it is also an ongoing test as to whether or not the freedom of speech will survive in Norway and the West in general. And the jury is still out on that.
Labels: Allyn Fisher-Ilan» Goldstone» Im Tirtzu» Naomi Chazan
defend and promote the views of New Israel Fund (NIF) president Naomi Chazan. Two weeks ago, an investigative study by the Zionist group Im Tirtzu revealed that the Goldstone report on the Gaza war had been seeded with defamatory claims against Israel by political NGOs financed by the NIF. The Im Tirtzu report and subsequent well-publicized, ill-tempered reaction from Chazan and the NIF has led to widespread panic in the anti-Israel NGO community and of course at their propaganda arm, Reuters.
Fisher-Ilan begins her damage control effort on behalf of Chazan by lumping together the NGOs funded by the NIF under the righteous banner "civil rights groups". So characterized, they are of course beyond reproach -- precisely the notion Chazan is peddling:
Got that? According to Chazan, and parroted by Fisher-Ilan, "human rights groups" must be above criticism or the foundations of a democratic society are at risk. Funny, we always had the impression that criticism was an essential component of a democratic society. Apparently, not when it is the left-wing being criticized.In an interview with Reuters, Chazan said she saw a "very, very dangerous process" under way in Israel, where human rights groups such as hers were increasingly targeted for criticism... "The very pillars of democratic society are being assailed and we have to be very concerned about that," said the former left-wing Meretz party legislator.
Yes, Israel has dismissed the Goldstone report as biased for any one of a hundred reasons and as Im Tirtzu has noted, 191 of 207 negative references to the Israeli army and government appearing in the report were supplied by organizations receiving NIF money. In view of the fact that the NIF bankrolls groups like Adalah which advocates for the return of millions of Palestinian Arab "refugees" to Israel -- neatly eradicating the Jewish state -- supporters of Israel might be on the right track criticizing the NIF for funding this type of anti-Israel activity.Goldstone's report found evidence of war crimes by both Israel and Hamas Islamists in the three-week Israeli offensive in Gaza, in which over 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed... But it put most of the blame on Israel, stoking worldwide criticism of the Jewish state's behaviour in the war. Israel has dismissed the report as biased and supporters are lashing out at left-wing groups who had a role in Goldstone's work.
Fisher-Ilan then takes a stab at persuading readers with the bandwagon logical fallacy:
Er, citing Human Rights Watch may not be the most effective way to make the case for democratic ideals. And as we noted here, these "peace activists" are anything but.Left-wing activists in Israel and abroad, joined by New York-based Human Rights Watch, have rallied behind Chazan, denouncing the criticism of her and the arrests of peace activists at recent protests as "an affront to democracy."
Then, there's a red herring:
As is the left-wing.The right wing is well represented in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition.
No. Israelis have been arguing for or against surrendering unallocated land won in a defensive war to a group of people sworn to their destruction for the promise of peace.Right and left-wing Israelis have been arguing for decades for and against withdrawing from occupied Palestinian land for peace.
Fisher-Ilan continues with another mischaracterization:
No. The probe is intended to expose and monitor those Israeli NGOs of any flavor that receive large sums of money from foreign governments and organizations.A separate Israeli legislative probe has been launched into funding for non-government groups, seen as targeting human rights organisations in particular.
Yes, after she threatened to sue the paper.The English-language Jerusalem Post, meanwhile, has cancelled Chazan's biweekly column.
Ah, but it has.Chazan criticised the Israeli government's refusal to cooperate with Goldstone and said Israel should launch its own investigation into the Gaza war
We recommend Allyn have a soothing Chamomile tea and catch up with her horoscope.
Labels: Goldstone» Naomi Chazan» New Israel Fund» NIF
Reading all the uproar over the New Israel Fund over the last week or so, I cannot help but wonder why so many people in the diaspora apparently didn't know that NIF supports organizations that seek to undermine Israel's existence as a Jewish state. I've known this for about 15 years! Maybe people finally noticed this time the NIF's position was so blatantly opposed to the Jewish consensus: Operation Cast Lead was a very popular war (over 90% Jewish approval), and at least in the US and in Israel, most people seem to understand that the Goldstone Report was hopelessly biased.
In any event, the diaspora is apparently quite up in arms over the New Israel Fund's support for organizations that provided biased, anti-Israel material to Goldstone.
Bar-Ilan University Professor Gerald Steinberg..., who also is director of NGO Monitor stated Wednesday, “NIF claims to provide broad support for different groups in Israel, but many of its actions promote a very narrow and radical agenda. The most politicized NGOs – including B’Tselem, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel — receive about 20 percent of NIF’s budget. They use these funds to manipulate Israeli politics, while exploiting human rights rhetoric to demonize responses to terror.”Writing in the Forward, Shmuel Rosner pretty much gets it right.
In Australia, Danny Lamm, president of the State Zionist Council of Victoria, cancelled a meeting in Melbourne at which NIF head Naomi Chazan was due to speak, according to the Jewish Australian News Service. He said several NIF-funded groups are “alleged to have actively reinforced a worldwide propaganda campaign against Israel, using the vicious rhetoric of apartheid, using ‘lawfare’ to threaten Israel’s leaders and soldiers should they travel, and using and supporting boycotts, divestment and sanctions campaigns.”
Lamm pointed out the Council has no issue with the NIF’s principles. “We, too, very much want peace between Israel, the Palestinians and her Arab neighbors…. The Zionist Council of Victoria (ZCV) does not have a political argument with the NIF,” he said. Lamm asked, “How can the NIF support an organization like Adalah when, despite having as its mission the protection of Arab civil rights, routinely accuses Israel of implementing ‘apartheid’ and of committing war crimes?”
Writing in the generally pro-Orthodox and nationalist New York Jewish Week, investigative journalist David Bedein wrote, “The New Israel Fund, in its defense, says it does not support those who demonize Israel or call for divestment or boycott of Israel, and that it will not assist those who advocate the 'right of return' for Palestinians to reclaim land lost to them in 1948.”
Bedein then noted that NIF funds the Coalition of Women for Peace, whose keynote speaker, Naomi Klein, called for a boycott of Israel and sanctions against the Jewish State. He added that the NIF-funded Adalah group “expresses support for Sheik Raad Salah, the leader of the northern branch of Israel’s Islamic movement, whose incitement against Israel is legendary. Salah claims that there was never a Jewish presence on the Temple Mount and has called for an Intifada to protect Al-Aqsa from a Jewish plot."
Not long ago, when J Street, a new dovish Jewish lobby, was established in Washington, its supporters were complaining that the American Jewish debate over Israel had been muted, hushed by the Jewish establishment. We should have a debate about Israel as fierce and as vigorous as Israelis themselves have, those behind J Street kept saying. Why can Israelis air their differences with such force and we American Jews can’t? Why can’t we be as blunt and aggressive when we disagree with Israel’s policies?Rosner also refers to NIF's contributions to the Goldstone Report as 'unintended.' I would not go that far. While NIF may not have handed over material to Goldstone and may not have instructed the organizations it supports to do so, it was at least aware of the possibility that they might and did nothing to stop them. In legal terms, they were grossly negligent. At best.
Apparently, such comparisons work for the proponents of “open debate” only when they themselves benefit from it. They enjoy the intensity of the Israeli domestic debate, the bluntness of it, but only when it serves their goals. Now — when the dragon of Israel’s aggressive public discourse has seared the holier-than-thou New Israel Fund — fierce debate doesn’t seem as appealing.
Granted, the criticism of NIF was at times ugly in tone, too personal and quite disgusting in its use of tasteless images of NIF’s president, Naomi Chazan (the kinds of things one typically finds in fierce Israeli debates). But it is also a manifestation of real concerns and legitimate frustrations that Israelis have with the way liberal American Jews and their Israeli emissaries try to affect Israeli society.
Yes, it was a blunt message: NIF, we don’t like how you strengthen organizations that we find harmful to Israel. We don’t like that your grants support anti-Zionist Arab groups, that you help people who busy themselves bad-mouthing Israel and its policies around the world, that you have too many friends who seem to think that Israel can do no right, that you seem quite unmoved by the anxieties of Israelis who worry about the likes of the Goldstone Report and quite unready to share the burden of rebutting unfair criticisms of Israel.
I don’t expect NIF and its beneficiaries to enjoy such a message. But this isn’t McCarthyism. It’s telling the NIF crowd the blunt truth, and maybe, hopefully, making them realize that while they’re busy making their liberal benefactors abroad happy, they’ve lost touch with Israelis.
The dire predictions about the future of Israeli democracy are being propagated by those who got tired of trying to persuade Israelis and rally them to their cause — the real “democratic” way. Instead, they have decided to force Israelis into submission by way of marshaling external pressure. While this approach may succeed in frightening their allies abroad, it’s not going to win them many new friends at home.
Read the whole thing. (There are other things there with which I don't agree, but he got the NIF part right).
By the way, the Im Tirtzu report is now available online (133-page pdf) (Hat Tip: Daled Amos).
@EstherK things every Jew should know about @newisraelfund http://is.gd/3lua8- http://is.gd/3luc3 - http://is.gd/3luf9 - http://tr.im/ySwB
12:35 PM Sep 16th, 2009 from web in reply to EstherK
12:35 PM Sep 16th, 2009 from web in reply to EstherK
Joel Fishman (in today's Makor Rishon)
...the NIF must be viewed as an important link and conduit in a cultural and political network whose real purpose is to undermine the Jewish State and replace it with another entity. The NIF is neither democratically elected nor does it represent a constituency. Although its professed goal is to "strengthen democracy" in Israel, the nature of its activities does not support this claim...
...The New Israel Fund is much more than a charitable foundation. It wages political warfare and operates as a front organization "that serves as a cover for aims and activities other than its professed ones...Like other front organizations that avow one goal, but seek another, the New Israel Fund claims it strives for social justice and progressive change in Israeli society. Yet they conceal the ultimate goal, namely, The New Israel, which can only be achieved by destroying Israel as we know it.
The logical outcome of this program is a coup d'Etat through a process of discrediting the Zionist ideal, gutting its political and social institutions, and disfranchising the current middle-class holders of power in Israeli society...
The problem of the New Israel Fund is that by providing information to the Goldstone Report in cooperation with its allied organizations, it succeeded in drawing attention to its formidable strength and its successful penetration within Israeli society. If any good is to come from this unhappy and dangerous experience, it is that we should grasp the true objectives of these groups and the real threat they represent to the stability of Israel's society, to its legally constituted democracy and to our future as a Jewish state. For years it has been almost axiomatic that the "extreme right" is a lethal danger to the state. The lesson which we should learn from the recent and dramatic disclosures of the Im Tirtsu report is that the well-organized and affluent radical left may represent an even more perilous threat to the State of Israel.
NGO MonitorFebruary 09, 2010
- NIF-funded groups and their publications were featured centrally in the Goldstone report, which focused on alleged Israeli “war crimes” in the 2009 Gaza war. The report referenced B’Tselem more than 56 times; Adalah, 38; and Breaking the Silence, 27.
- Many of these citations referred to speculative issues unrelated to the conflict in Gaza, seeking to brand Israeli democracy as “repressive” and to widen the scope of the condemnations.
- Since the initial publication of the Goldstone report on September 15, 2009, these NIF-supported NGOs – including B’Tselem, ACRI, Gisha, PHR-I, and Yesh Din – have continued supporting Goldstone and lobbying the governments of the United States, the European Union, and others to legitimize the report’s extreme biases and endorse its recommendations.
- In response to the controversy over their support for Goldstone, these organizations and the NIF launched an offensive against critics. NIF supporters accused NGO Monitor of “silenc[ing] expression,” and being “extremist,” “incendiary,” the “rotten fruit of Israeli democracy,” and “McCarthyite.”
- In addition to involvement with Goldstone, several organizations funded by NIF, including Adalah, campaign against the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish democratic state. Others such as Mossawa and Coalition of Women for Peace are active in worldwide boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaigns targeting Israel.
- The political impact of NIF-supported NGOs, based on NIF’s annual budget of $32 million, is bolstered by additional funds from European governments and church groups that allocate funds to the same recipient organizations.
Introduction:The New Israel Fund (NIF) supports more than 100 organizations involved in a wide range of areas in Israel, including political activism related to the Arab-Israeli conflict.As highlighted recently, NIF-funded groups and their publications were featured centrally in the Goldstone report, which focused on alleged Israeli “war crimes” in the 2009 Gaza war. During the fighting, as shown in NGO Monitor analyses, these NGOs issued daily reports claiming to document Israeli “human rights” violations. NGO officials, widely quoted in the media, lobbied intensively for an international inquiry.After the Goldstone commission was established, three major and long-time NIF grantees (Public Committee against Torture in Israel, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, and Adalah) participated in a May 2009 NGO “town hall meeting” in Geneva that helped shape the course of Goldstone’s ”investigation”. In addition, seven NIF-funded NGOs (including the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Gisha, HaMoked, and Yesh Din) submitted a joint statement to Goldstone, and a representative from PCATI “testified” at the July 2009 Goldstone hearings, referring to “collective punishment” and “[Palestinian] martyrs.”The resulting Goldstone report referenced B’Tselem more than 56 times; Adalah, 38; and Breaking the Silence, 27. Significantly, many of these citations referred to speculative issues unrelated to the conflict in Gaza, seeking to brand Israeli democracy as “repressive,” and to widen the scope of the condemnations and the resulting political campaigns.In turn, B’Tselem, Adalah, and PHR-I, among others, have lobbied Israeli and foreign governments to support Goldstone’s report and its recommendations. Adalah, for example, joined the Palestinian NGOs Al Mezan, Al-Haq, and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) in a press release urging countries to “re-evaluate their relationship with Israel.”In response to the controversy over their support for Goldstone, these organizations and the NIF launched an offensive against critics, including NGO Monitor, that brought the relationship to light. Through coarse smears, NIF supporters accuse NGO Monitor of “silenc[ing] expression,” and being “extremist,” “incendiary,” and the “rotten fruit of Israeli democracy,” and “McCarthyite.”NGO Monitor’s many calls for debates with NIF officials and grantees have been rebuffed. In July 2009, an NIF employee posted a vulgar cartoon on his blog directed at NGO Monitor President Gerald Steinberg in July 2009, and in 2008 another NIF grantee frivolously sued NGO Monitor for libel – apparently, to quash reporting and public debate on its activities.In addition to involvement with Goldstone, several organizations funded by NIF campaign against the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish democratic state, and are active in worldwide boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) and similar campaigns targeting Israel.NIF has justified its funding decisions, claiming to promote pluralism and dialogue, and to support free expression of differing views in Israel. In contrast, NGO Monitor’s research demonstrates the damage to democracy resulting from these NIF-supported NGO activities, and the lack of effective guidelines in NIF’s funding processes. From correspondence, it is clear that many NIF donors, both individuals and via Jewish federations, are unaware of these political campaigns.The political impact of NIF-supported NGOs, based on an annual budget of $32 million, is increased via additional funds from European governments and church groups that allocate funds to the same recipient organizations. Through the media, via legal processes, and elsewhere, NIF grantees are therefore in a position to manipulate the marketplace of ideas to a degree that is entirely disproportionate to the general level of support for their agendas.This preliminary report presents an overview of how NIF-funded NGOs contributed to the Goldstone Report and promoted it after publication. Also included are brief summaries of the activities of 20 NGOs funded by NIF.
NGO NIF Grants 2006-2008 Estimated European government funding 2006-2009 Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) $2,371,443 $642,923 Adalah $1,045,292 $915,703 Ir Amim $958,237 $1,241,439 Bimkom $923,221 $1,206,959 Women Against Violence $794,500 Unknown B'Tselem $785,285 $3,086,243 Mossawa $517,642 $422,895 Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I) $503,537 $869,245 HaMoked $499,765 $2,648,056 Mada al-Carmel: The Arab Center for Applied Social Research $450,000 $89,089 Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP) $285,509 Unknown Galileel Society $257,500 $114,457 I'lam Center $229,700 n/a Breaking the Silence (BtS) $200,855 $409,139 Machsom Watch $165,198 $356,329 Al-Ahali Association $104,054 n/a Arab Forum for Sexuality, Education, and Health $72,408 Unknown Al-Yater Association $50,000 Unknown Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) $48,888 $928,335 Gisha $35,625 $735,094Written submissionA group of Israeli NGOs –ACRI, Adalah, Bimkom, Gisha, HaMoked, PHR-I, PCATI, and Yesh Din – submitted a one-sided written statement to the Goldstone Commission (June 30, 2009) that does not address alleged Hamas war crimes, “but rather offers our own distinct perspective – human rights violations for which Israel must be held accountable.” This NGO document makes entirely speculative assertions about the motivation for the IDF operation against Hamas, claiming that “[t]o the extent that this was planned as a punitive operation which main purpose was not the achievement of actual military objectives, but the inflicting of deliberate damage as a deterrent and punitive measure” – despite their lacking requisite information to make such an assertion.The submission accuses the IDF of having “deliberately and knowingly shelled civilian institutions,” supporting the coalition’s incorrect legal claim that “Israel deviated from the principle that allows harm only to military objectives, and carried out strikes against civilian sites in an effort to achieve political ends.” References and evidence are missing for many accusations, such as the allegation that “[m]any prisoners … were held in pits in the ground … apparently dug by the army”; details are sourced to “information in our possession.”NGO support for GoldstoneSince April 2009, when Judge Richard Goldstone was appointed to lead the UN Human Rights Council’s fact-finding mission into the Gaza war, NIF-funded NGOs were among those that led the campaign demanding that the Israeli government cooperate with the investigation, supporting misleading claims that the mandate was “balanced” and the panel was fair.In turn, Goldstone bolstered the credibility of these groups by relying heavily on their publications, uncritically repeating claims, calling NGO activists to “testify,” praising their “high professional standard” while working in “extremely difficult circumstances,” and defending them against alleged “repression” from the Israeli government.Since the initial publication of the Goldstone report on September 15, 2009, and throughout the proceedings at the UN, these NIF-supported NGOs have continued supporting Goldstone and lobbying the governments of the United States, the European Union, and others to legitimize the report’s extreme biases and endorse its recommendations.B’Tselem, which receives a substantial percentage of its budget from NIF, the EU, and European governments, has been campaigning against the IDF and demanding an “independent and credible investigation” of the Gaza war since January 2009, urged Israel to cooperate with Goldstone, and “provided assistance to the investigative staff of the Goldstone mission from the beginning to the end of its research.”Disingenuously, and erasing her own role in the process, B’Tselem Executive Director Jessica Montell claimed that “Israel has only itself to blame” for the report’s conclusions and recommendations. She also stated that Israel was “shoot[ing] the messenger and bury[ing] its head in the sand.”When the report was released, B’Tselem mildly criticized Goldstone for “framing of Israel’s military operation as part of ‘an overall policy aimed at punishing the Gaza population for its resilience’” and “the very careful phrasing regarding Hamas abuses.” However, this NIF-funded political NGO continues to “advocate for ... its principal recommendation: that Israel investigate suspicions that its forces breached international humanitarian law.”Other NIF grantees – Adalah , ACRI, B’Tselem, Gisha , HaMoked , PHR-I , PCATI, and Yesh Din – issued a joint statement calling on Israel to “take the report seriously” and “cooperate with an international monitoring mechanism that would guarantee both the independence of that investigation and the implementation of its conclusions.”• Adalah (NIF grants authorized in 2006-2008: $1,045,292) advances “war crimes” charges against Israel at the UN Human Rights Council, in reports cited in the media, in Israeli courts, and in campaigns conducted with other political NGOs. Adalah officials promote the false claim that “the Israeli legal and judicial systems have consistently failed in providing any legal remedies to the Palestinian people.” Adalah, itself, has prevailed several times in cases filed in Israeli courts.
In 2007, Adalah proposed a constitution for Israel that calls for replacing the Jewish framework of the state with a “democratic, bilingual and multicultural” framework. This “Democratic Constitution” – based on the concept of “a one-state solution” – would permit Jewish immigration for “humanitarian reasons” only.Adalah campaigns against national community service for Arabs in Israel, even within the Arab sector, although such service is widely supported by Israeli Arabs. In a 2005 publication, for instance, Adalah claimed “national/military service in Israel . . . constitutes the Jewish Zionist identity” and forces Arabs to “to submit to a rationale that further grounds discrimination and oppression.”Adalah officials, in conjunction with radical Palestinian NGO Al-Haq, wrote and edited large portions of a May 2009 publication, initiated by anti-Israel ideologue John Dugard, entitled “Occupation, Colonialism, Apartheid?: A re-assessment of Israel´s practices in the occupied Palestinian territories under international law.” The document refers to Israeli occupation as a “colonial enterprise which implements a system of apartheid.”
Goldstone excerpt: “Not allowing prisoners to use the telephone “violates detainees’ right to dignity and their right to family life, and ‘transforms their imprisonment to a humiliating and degrading experience that contradicts international norms and conventions.” (para. 1458)
• Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP) (grants authorized in 2006-2008: $285,509) is a highly politicized umbrella organization that systematically condemns Israeli policies. CWP projects include Machsom Watch (grants authorized in 2006-2008: $165,198) and others that use “apartheid” and “Naqba” rhetoric to delegitimize Israel.
CWP is responsible for the “Who Profits?” divestment project tracking Israeli and international corporations that allegedly “are directly involved in the occupation.” Who Profits? influenced the anti-Israel divestment campaign in Norway and a similar project in the UK.
In 2009, CWP published an article asking: “How is it that our consolation is that we hurt, we demolished, we killed? ... . The truth is that we really do like wars, that's our language, that's our culture ... we will find all the explanations in the world to justify any war. Even this one, the spare one, in Gaza.” During the war, CWP joined the “Remove the Siege-Stop the War” coalition, and organized protests against Israeli policy. It also participated in public commemorations of the “59th anniversary of the Naqba” on Israel’s Independence Day in 2007.
Goldstone excerpt (Machsom Watch): “The restriction on the ability to move freely, without obstacle or delay, or without another person’s authorization, is often perceived as a humiliating experience.” (para. 1509)
• Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I) (grants authorized in 2006-2008: $503,537) supports often violent protests at the security barrier near Bil’in as an “act of solidarity with the people who fight against the occupation and the building of the wall.” PHR-I campaigned in international forums against Israel’s actions during the Gaza War, appearing before the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and lobbying the European Union to support condemnations of Israel. This NGO was a major source of accusations contained in the Goldstone report.
Goldstone excerpt: “The Mission also investigated and confirmed allegations about the use of weapons whose potential long-term impact on individual victims’ health raises concern. They include allegations of the use of weapons containing chemical pollutants such as tungsten and white phosphorus.” (para. 1258)
• Breaking the Silence (BtS) (grants authorized in 2006-2008: $200,855) says it “voices the experiences” of Israeli soldiers “in order to force Israeli society to address the reality which it created.” Although claiming to target “Israeli society,” this NGO’s lobbying and media advocacy focus on international audiences. Amos Harel wrote in Haaretz: “Breaking the Silence ... has a clear political agenda, and can no longer be classed as a ‘human rights organization.’”
In addition to collecting anonymous testimony from soldiers some of it based on hearsay and widely cited as evidence of “war crimes” in Gaza by publications including the Goldstone report BtS conducts tours to Hebron and the South Hebron Hills to support its claim that in Hebron there is “a reality of Apartheid and a kind of ‘ethnic cleansing.’”
Goldstone excerpt: “Breaking the Silence issued a statement in which it accused the Foreign Ministry of a ‘witch-hunt’, saying that it testified to the erosion of the ‘democratic culture’ in Israel.” (para. 1731)
• B’Tselem (grants authorized in 2006-1008: $785,285) “acts primarily to change Israeli policy in the Occupied Territories,” a political objective bolstered by B’Tselem’s office in Washington, DC, which brings its agenda directly to U.S. officials. While widely considered Israel’s premier human-rights organization, B’Tselem has faced serious criticism for its misrepresentations of international law, inaccurate research, skewed statistics (including casualty lists), and selective coverage of violations against Israelis. These problematic methodologies reinforce the Palestinian narrative of victimization and portray Israel as the sole impediment to peace.
Goldstone excerpt: “In the face of the recently increase in violence by the Israeli security forces in the West Bank, B’Tselem stated that condemnations by Ministers and other officials “remain solely declarative. Security forces, meanwhile, misusing their power, continue to abuse and beat Palestinians, among them, minors … . If a message is sent to security forces, it is that even if the establishment does not accept acts of violence, it will not take measures against those who commit them. The effect of such a message is that the lives and dignity of Palestinians are meaningless and that security forces can continue, pursuant to the function they serve, to abuse, humiliate, and beat Palestinians with whom they come into contact.” (para. 1405)
• Bimkom (grants authorized in 2006-2008: $923,221) aims “to achieve the right to equality and social justice in matters of planning, development, and the allocation of land resources” and to “[assist] communities and minorities affected by social and economic disadvantage.” In reality, Bimkom promotes the Palestinian narrative. Activities include a campaign against the security barrier; petitions against “collective punishment” in Gaza; and input to press releases, reports, and a website detailing allegations of Israeli “violations” during the fighting in Gaza – most of which involved issues outside Bimkom’s remit and stated mandate.
Goldstone excerpt: “In a recent report reviewed by the Mission, Bimkom concluded that the Israeli Civil Administration applied ‘a deliberate and consistent policy in Area C with the goal of restricting Palestinian construction and development and limiting its spatial dispersion.’” (para. 1539)
• Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) (grants authorized in 2006-2008: $48,888) claims to campaign against torture and for prisoner rights. PCATI’s reports condemn alleged Israeli abuses, and its officials appear before international frameworks to promote anti-Israel agendas. In 2009, a PCATI official testified in Geneva before the UN’s Goldstone inquiry on the Gaza war, referring to Israel’s “unacceptable collective punishment” and to Palestinian “martyrs.” In a 2009 report submitted to the UN Committee Against Torture, PCATI accused Israel of attacks on “civilians and civilian objects” during the Gaza fighting. The group appears to have participated in only one statement in support of Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier kidnapped by Hamas in June 2006 and consistently denied his rights under the Geneva Conventions.
Goldstone excerpt: “A PCATI lawyer representing detainees, Mr. Bader, who spoke at the Mission’s public hearings in Geneva, interviewed a number of the detainees in Israeli prisons and relayed their testimonies. These include stories from prisoners who said they were used as human shields or held in sandpits.” (para. 1110)
• Gisha (grants authorized in 2006-2008: $35,625) promotes the false claim that Gaza remains “occupied” under international law, and that Israel has a legal obligation to grant unfettered “freedom of movement” to Gaza residents. Gisha’s claims were quoted in the Goldstone report in order to accuse Israel of enacting policies “in the pursuance by Israel of political goals at the expense of the civilian population, in blatant violation of international humanitarian law.”
Gisha’s highly publicized 2008 campaign condemning Israel for barring Palestinian students’ travel from Gaza to Israel and to the United States under the Fulbright program erased Israel’s legitimated security concerns. Indeed, most of these “students” were refused entry by the American government on security grounds. In addition, in frequent condemnations of Israeli policy on Gaza, Gisha has largely ignored the tons of humanitarian aid provided by Israel despite massive rocket barrages from Gaza.
Goldstone excerpt: “Gisha call[s] this regulation an additional measure in a deliberate Israeli policy to deepen the separation between the West Bank and Gaza ‘in the pursuance by Israel of political goals at the expense of the civilian population, in blatant violation of international humanitarian law.’” (para. 1527)
• HaMoked (grants authorized in 2006-2008: $499,765) accuses Israel of “war crimes,” with only a token reference to Hamas’ “sporadic” rocket fire against Israeli civilians. HaMoked called the Gaza war a “punitive operation,” and promoted the unverified claim that “[m]any prisoners … were held in pits in the ground … apparently dug by the army.” During the Gaza war, HaMoked distorted international law to criminalize Israeli actions, falsely claiming that “phosphorous and cluster bombs” are “illegal weapons prohibited by International Humanitarian Law.”
• Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) (grants authorized in 2006-2008: $2,671,443) has a wide agenda in Israel, but frequently employs rhetoric that contributes to demonization and delegitimization. For example, its 2008 annual report labeled Israel’s policies in the West Bank “Apartheid,” and ACRI representatives have referred to “institutional racism” in Palestinian forums. Many legal claims in its reports are distortions or selective interpretations of international humanitarian law.
Goldstone excerpt: “In a report reviewed by the Mission, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel stated that, in Jerusalem “discrimination in planning and building, expropriation of lands, and minimal investment in physical infrastructure and government and municipal services - these are concrete expressions of an Israeli policy designed to secure a Jewish majority in Jerusalem and push Palestinian residents outside the city's borders.” (para. 1536)
• Ir Amim (grants authorized in 2006-2008: $958,237) focuses on “legal advocacy aimed at halting or mitigating unilateral actions that harm the fabric of life in Jerusalem, and create obstacles to reaching an agreed-upon future for the city and the region.” In reality, Ir Amim advocates and campaigns exclusively for the Palestinian narrative on Jerusalem, adopting the offensive PLO rhetoric of “Judaization”, and directing these efforts at influencing foreign journalists, diplomats, and opinion-makers.
Jerusalem Moments, a film series produced by Ir Amim, was described Jerusalem Post Editor David Horovitz as “an exercise in the bludgeoning documentation of Palestinian victimhood and of allegedly mindless Israeli cruelty and aggression,” and a “skewed misportrayal.”
• Mada al-Carmel, the Arab Center for Applied Social Research (grants authorized in 2006-2008: $450,000) helped compose the “Haifa Declaration,” a document that calls for a “change in the definition of the State of Israel from a Jewish state” and accuses Israel of “exploiting” the Holocaust “at the expense of the Palestinian people.” This NGO – in partnership with Women Against Violence (grants authorized in 2006-2008: $794,500) and the Arab Forum for Sexuality, Education and Health (grants authorized in 2006-2008: $72,408) – launched the “My Land, Space, Body and Sexuality: Palestinians in the Shadow of the Wall” campaign. This project was publicized with a poster portraying an Israeli soldier reaching suggestively toward a Palestinian woman, alongside the caption: “Her husband needs a permit to touch her. The occupation penetrates her life everyday!” An NIF-UK official defended the poster: “NIF will continue to support them in the interests of sustaining [Israel’s] vibrant democracy.”
In 2008, Mada al-Carmel organized a conference [link broken] entitled, “Sixty Years of Nakba – Homeland as Exile: Loss, Alienation and Forms of Resistance,” as part of its agenda to “to ensure the regaining of usurped rights for the Palestinian people.”
• Mossawa (grants authorized in 2006-2008: $517,642) claims in its mission statement to focus on changing “the social and political status of Arab/Palestinians in Israel in an attempt to gain minority recognition and rights, without sacrificing their national and cultural rights as Palestinians.” In contrast, Mossawa’s main activities utilize terminology such as “racism” and similar pejoratives to describe Israel’s policies.
In a November 2006 position paper proposing a constitution for Israel, Mossawa called for the eradication of the Israeli flag and national anthem, the right of the Arab minority to have a veto over matters of national import, and the immediate implementation of the Palestinian “Right of Return.”Mossawa joined other NIF grantees in a May 2009 letter to the Norwegian Government Pension Fund (NGPF), calling “upon the Norwegian people to join us in our efforts and to stop investing in the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory.” The letter accused a number of Israeli and international corporations of “provid[ing] specifically designed equipment for the surveillance and repression of [the] Palestinian population through restrictions of movement and collective punishments.” In September 2009, the NGPF adopted a policy of divestment from Israeli firms.• Ittijah is a highly visible coalition of Israel-Arab political organizations, including some NGOs funded by the NIF. (Ittijah does not receive direct funding.) Representing these member groups, Ittijah played a key coordinating role at the NGO Forum of the 2001 Durban Conference, which adopted the BDS strategy. Similarly, in preparations for the Durban Review Conference (April 2009), Ittijah led Palestinian “civil society” in a campaign to “boycott Israel, to impose sanctions and to label it as a colonial racist state under the Motto: Zionism is Racism -- Israel is an Apartheid.” During the Gaza fighting, Ittijah employed rhetoric comparing Israeli responses to terror to the Nazis, accusing the IDF of turning Gaza “into an extermination camp in the full whole meaning of the word, and in the whole full historical relation of it.”
NIF funding for Ittijah members for 2006-2008: Adalah (see above), $1,045,292; Al-Ahali Association, $104,054; Al-Yater Association, $50,000; Galilee Society (see below), $257,500; I’lam Center, $229,700; Mada al-Carmel (see above), $450,000.• Galilee Society (grants authorized in 2006-2008: $257,500) operates a database project, “Rikaz,” which has a stated aim of “contribut[ing] accurate and compelling facts to advocacy campaigns and initiatives [in Israel and internationally] on behalf of the Palestinian community.” This NGO publicizes “statistics” claiming to indicate “systematic discrimination” against Arabs in education, employment, labor, living standards, social indicators, and health. Galilee Society is a member of Ittijah, which calls for boycotts of Israel under headlines proclaiming that “Zionism is Racism” and “Israel is an Apartheid state.”
Notes:“Submission of Human Rights Organizations based in Israel to the Goldstone Inquiry Delegation,” June 2009, p. 3.
 Ibid., p. 6.
 Ibid., p. 8.
 Ibid., p. 9.
 Ibid., p. 10.
 In fact, the Goldstone report chapters containing the allegations regarding illegal use of these weapons did not produce independent “confirmation,” but rather relied on selective testimony and unverifiable claims by witnesses, including unnamed “Palestinian and foreign doctors” working in the Shifa hospital. (para. 49).
Bush had the same policy as Obama on Iran, and Obama is lying about that and is trying to present Bush as Hawkish, but the truth is Bush and Obama did the same exact thing. The fact that Bush's actions failed is no reason to do it that way again and Obama unlike Bush can not claim that intelligence leads him to believe that Iran is not developing a bomb.
In the middle of ripping President Obumbler some new body parts for his handling of Iran over the past year, Jonathan Tobin lets fly some justified criticism of former President Bush.The defense for Obama’s feckless diplomacy put forward in the Times article is that Obama had to spend at least a year trying diplomacy so as to convince the world that he tried engagement after the confrontational Bush years. Blaming Bush is Obama’s all-purpose political tactic on all issues, but it won’t wash here. Bush not only failed to confront Iran; he also outsourced our diplomatic efforts on the nuclear issue to France and Germany in his second term. The utter failure of his engagement effort was clear by Bush’s last year in office, but rather than face the issue and take action, he decided to pass it off on his successor. This James Buchanan–like approach to a critical issue was one of Bush’s genuine failures, and the fact that he spent 2008 similarly vetoing any Israel action on Iran only makes Obama’s dedication to the same cause both ironic and scary. But however badly Bush blundered on Iran, the idea that we needed an additional year of diplomatic failure to justify subsequent action is a joke.Tobin's right on all counts. Granted, Bush was confronted with the false and misleading 2007 National Intelligence Estimate on Iran, but one had the sense throughout 2008 that the NIE was false (and Israel repeatedly presented evidence that it was false) and that the Bush administration was using it as an excuse to avoid dealing with a difficult problem.
I expect that 30-50 years from now, it will come out that the NIE was invented by forces in the intelligence agencies who did not want to see Bush act. Still, that's no excuse.
But whatever Bush did or did not do, Obama has only made things worse.
Labels: Mamilla Muslim cemetery» SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTER JERUSALEM
Following Arab "claims" that the Simon Wiesenthal Center's planned Museum of Tolerance in west Jerusalem is supposedly built on a Muslim cemetary, the MSM has launched a smear campaign. First:
(IsraelNN.com) A group of Arabs joined by European human rights activists have joined forces to demand that the United Nations halt the building of a Jewish "Museum of Tolerance" on a plot of land they say is an ancient Muslim cemetery.It's obvious they just don't want one built even near the cemetary. And by the way:
This is just the latest in a series of attacks made on the project, which is run by the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, since 2004. Islamic groups and various Arabs have complained that the museum is slated to be built on the Ma'aman Allah (also known as Mamilla) cemetery. They say the burial site contains thousands of graves and dates back hundreds of years. Some gravestones are present today in the area.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center replied to the Arab outcry by saying the museum would be built adjacent to the cemetery, on a plot which is currently a parking lot. The Center said the parking lot, which was built 50 years ago, was not protested at the time of construction.
The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem has allowed building over gravesites in the past, according to a report by the Associated Press.Jewish/Christian cemetaries, to be sure.
Some of the most distasteful MSM attacks have been from the UK Times, The Examiner, Metro Santa Cruz, McClatchy, and another from the Los Angeles Times, which even perpetuates the lie that "palestinians" were expelled, and not a single mention of those Jews who were driven out of Jerusalem's Old City and such places during 1948. At least they allow for a counterpoint made by Marvin Hier about the real location:
Listening to the few vocal opponents of our Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem project -- among them the notorious Sheik Raed Salah, leader of the extremist Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel -- you would never know that the Israeli Supreme Court deliberated for almost three years before unanimously rejecting all their claims and authorizing the Wiesenthal Center to begin construction. Just six weeks ago, Chief Justice Dorit Beinish also rebuked those who re-petitioned the Supreme Court for an "abuse of court proceedings," ordering them to pay professional costs.And that's just another sign of how this only stems from anti-semitism.
Still, our opponents would have you believe that in the name of tolerance, our bulldozers actually have invaded the adjacent Mamilla Cemetery, desecrating ancient Muslim tombstones and historic markers.
They don't want you to know the real facts. The museum is not being built on what can rightfully be called the Mamilla Cemetery, but on a three-acre site in the heart of West Jerusalem that, for more than half a century, served as the city's municipal car park. Each day, hundreds of people of all faiths parked in the three-level underground structure without any protest from Muslim religious or academic leaders or interest groups. Additionally, telephone and electrical cables and sewer lines were laid deep below ground in the early 1960s, again without any protest.
As the Supreme Court noted in its ruling, "for almost 50 years the compound has not been a part of the cemetery, both in the normative sense and in the practical sense, and it was used for various public purposes." It also noted: "During all those years no one raised any claim, on even one occasion, that the planning procedures violated the sanctity of the site, or that they were contrary to the law as a result of the historical and religious uniqueness of the site. . . . For decades this area was not regarded as a cemetery by the general public or by the Muslim community. . . . No one denied this position."
In fact, the entire area of the Mamilla Cemetery had long been regarded by Muslim religious leaders as mundras -- abandoned. A cemetery not in use for 37 years is considered mundras and without sanctity. That explains why in 1946 the most prominent Islamic religious figure of the day, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, presented plans to build a Muslim university on a large portion of the Mamilla Cemetery itself (a rendering of which we presented to the court). Today, the concept of mundras is widely accepted and practiced in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the Palestinian territories and throughout the Arab world.
Recent critics such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Americans for Peace Now and the Center for Constitutional Rights argue that the Museum of Tolerance should abide by a higher standard than the letter of the law. We do, as the above quote from the court confirms. When we first heard of protests against our plan, in January 2006, our lawyers attempted to meet with Salah but were rebuffed. Once a legal case was filed, the Supreme Court's mediator tried, but fared no better. We offered solutions to build without disturbing the bones -- also rejected. We offered to restore the neglected and virtually abandoned nearby Mamilla Cemetery -- not interested.
The Jerusalem Post also makes clear the real picture here, as does the Jerusalem Dispatch. Those MSM publications who've lent themselves to the attacks here should retract and apologize for helping cause all the trouble they're going to cause.
A handout photo of the site of the proposed Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem. (Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum / October 2000)
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