Noah Pollak on Foreign-Funded Israeli NGOs


During the past decade, as the New Israel Fund and European governments have funded and fueled the delegitimization war on Israel, critics have argued the NGOs they support have no real constituency in Israel; that they represent foreign interests; that they are funded — all told, the sum is around $100 million per year — almost entirely by foreign foundations and European governments seeking to impose their agendas; that they seek to overturn the democratic choices of the Israeli people; that they foment external pressure and “lawfare” to prevent Israel from protecting herself from threats; and that the groups’ activism is motivated not by the claimed values of human rights and international law, but by varying degrees of anti-Zionism and solidarity with Arab interests and leftist anti-Israel activism.

At every turn, the NGOs have angrily denied these charges and smeared those who made them as being (take your pick) anti-peace, anti-human rights, anti-democracy, or extremist right-wingers attempting to silence dissent.

It is a remarkable moment in this battle to see the NGOs admit in private [via Wikileaks] the same things they slander their critics for saying about them in public.

FWIW, I head an email exchange with the head honcho of NIF a few months ago. I asked whether it’s true that the New Israel Fund funds Arab organizations that support divestment from and boycotts of Israel. His response was that you can’t expect Israeli Arabs to accept the “Zionist narrative,” as if there’s no difference between making an Arab citizen of Israel into a Zionist, and requesting, as a condition of funding, that he not try to undermine the liberal democracy in which he is living. [UPDATE: With the understanding that NIF’s stated goal is to improve Israel by “strengthening democracy and advancing social justice and religious pluralism,” not undermine it.]

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