Thursday, February 11, 2010

More on the NIF

Israel Harel - the Right-wing fig leaf at Haareta, as Naomi Hazan was the Left-wing fig leaf at the Jerusalem Post - doesn't like the NIF. He backs this up with some interesting data, none of it related to the Goldstone Report.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is a really good article. I hope it will stimulate some good discussion.

Nycerbarb

Victor said...

In Yaacov's absense, some of you may have seen that Jeffrey Goldberg has been on a strange, anti-Likud binge recently, where he does not debate ideas, or examines context, but simply castigates the general ideology of Likud as somehow unacceptable. (Likud-bashing has become fashionable, for which I blame only Likud, but that's another story.)

Well, today, he followed that up with a piece about the NIF situation, finally. And what do you know, Likud is to blame again! You see, as he tells it, the NIF and the radical Israeli organizations it funds are merely pro-civil liberties and anti-Likud!

I'm not even a fan of Likud, but how much nonsense can one take?! Well, I had enough of dem apples, so I wrote him back:

-----------------

Mr. Goldberg,

NGO-Monitor has a listing of the controversial Israeli organizations funded by NIF, along with comprehensive, referenced listing of their positions on issues of import.

According to NGO-Monitor data, NIF funds a substantial number of radical groups that seek not a peaceful "two-state solution", or "civil discourse", but the radicalization of the Israeli Arab population, the international delegitimization of the State of Israel and the Zionist movement, and the destruction of the State. These are not anti-Likud positions, and to frame them as such is negligent. Kadima's Olmert did not launch the Gaza war? Labor's Barak did not plan and oversee the war's conduct? Leveraging the Gaza war to punish and weaken Israeli society and Israel's international posture is the prime focus of Israel-based organizations funded by the NIF. Your focus on "anti-Likud" not only misses the point, it distracts from a completely sensible debate about the role and motivations of American Jews in funding anti-Zionist organizations.

That American Jews such as yourself support the NIF, and believe its funding activities to be in line with your values, is the issue that Im Tirzu has forced. If American Jews want to support groups that seek to eliminate Israel as a Jewish state, and threaten Jewish-Arab coexistence within that State, that is their right, but they should at least know what their money (what your money) is funding. No longer is it sufficient to delude yourself that your yearly check advocates for "civil liberties" in Israel. The evidence is there, in front of you.

You may also be interested in a timely Haaretz article on the subject.

-------------------

Goldberg is an insider, I get it. He's had "numerous arguments with [NIF's] former director, my friend Larry Garber", and he came off reassured, a long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, that NIF is good for Israel. His knee-jerk response is to blame it all on those Likud hatemongers for stirring up trouble. Fine. But HRW also used to be good for Israel. So was Amnesty International. Sometimes, things change. Organizations change. Maybe it's time to take another look at the evidence.

Anonymous said...

Victor
thanks for your message to Goldberg - I had just before read his post and it made me shiver - something is going terribly wrong there. It is always Israel has to this and Israel has to that and if I were a reader on the Palestinian side I would conclude, well if even the Americans say, that Israel must first do this or that, then I can take my time and wait for the goodies to come my way.
... and as these media stars are not likely to ever say something like "oops got it wrong" their never saying what the others have to do will go on and on and on - after all their livelihood depends on to always know "it" better than the dumb rest of us and to tell Israelis what they have to do sells probably better than criticizing the other players.
Silke

Victor said...

Silke, you nailed something I've been "ruminating" about for a while. The standard is so terribly low for Palestinians. I mean, really, as long as they don't kill too many people, including their own, and don't steal too much foreign aid, they can have anything they say they want, and no diplomatic position they can take is off the table.

Because, if we don't give them everything they want, they'll just go back to killing to get it?

Talk about meeting and exceeding low standards!

Barry Meislin said...

It's not so much about low standards. It's about Palestinian strategy:

Attrition.
Rejection.
Delegitimization of Israel.
Along with violence or threats of violence to be added when necessary. Shaken. Stirred.

All the while receiving huge amounts of international aid (significant amounts of which often going into somebody's private pockets), huge amounts of international sympathy for their oppressed plight, and further and accelerated delegitimization of Israel.

For the Palestinians, this is win-win-win...

...since the goal of the Palestinians is Israel's erasure.

Some point to consider:
1. From the point of view of Palestinians, Israel is an illegal state that should never have been created in the first place and that will eventually collapse. The only questions are how and when that collapse will occur.

2. Regarding Jews, not only are they a people to be despised; they aren't even really Jews. Modern Jews are a fabrication of International Jewry for the purpose of thwarting Palestinians and Arabs---and duping the world---as a whole. There was never a temple in Jerusalem. Most Jews were Khazar converts, etc. There never was a significance Jewish presence in the Holy Land. Jesus was a Palestinian. Israelis have been promoting falsified archeological evidence to promote their lies. Etc.

3. Regarding negotiations, the Palestinians have successfully persuaded Israelis and much of the world that they are negotiating with Israel. This is a fiction, however. What they want---the erasure of the Zionist Entity---is not something that Israel will readily agree to. Nor are Palestinians ever going to agree to what Israel wants: a non-belligerent, viable state in most of the West Band and Gaza, recognizing Israel's security concerns and recognizing Israel as a Jewish State.

In a nutshell, there is absolutely nothing to agree to.

But Israel's "partners in peace" are "negotiating" to maintain the illusion that they do want to come to some kind of agreement, all the while insisting that Israel return to the May 1967 borders; that Israel relinquish East Jerusalem; and that Israel allow Palestinians to return to their homes within 1949-1967 Israel. Nor are these demands merely tough starting positions that are "open to negotiation", as many Israelis and others have wished to believe. No, these demands are precisely what the Palestinians want.

But why would the Palestinians demand something that Israel could not possibly agree to?

The answer:
1. To sustain the illusion that there are negotiations.
2. To ensure that such negotiations fail; keeping in mind that when such negotiations fail, Israel is always the party that receives most if not all of the blame, resulting in further criticism and delegitimization of the Jewish state; moreover, with each failure, the Palestinians are rewarded by more international aid either to induce them to continue negotiating or to assuage the fear/threat that without such massive infusions, Palestinian society will break down (and make further war inevitable).

Quite an admirable system they have going, actually...

As an aside (even if it is the crux of the matter), one must also keep in mind (even though one would often rather not) that the legitimization of Israel as the Jewish State is something that no Palestinian leader will do.

(continued in next post)

Barry Meislin said...

Part 2

But how does ensuring that negotiations fail help the Palestinians? Such a claim sounds preposterous!

The answer:
1. For the Palestinians, there is nothing that Israel can really "offer," since all of Israel belongs to Palestine.
2. Regarding I-P negotiations (and it is absolutely necessary to belabor the point), any lack of progress is, essentially, always blamed on Israel. It is blamed on Israel by its erstwhile allies, by Israel’s own citizens (or it was until many of the voters began to wise up). Keeping in mind that the attrition, the uncertainty, the dread has had and will continue to have a very distressing effect on Israelis and Israeli society.

And the kicker:
3. Because negotiations will never succeed, can never succeed, the Palestinians and their erstwhile supporters will be able to follow two tracks:
a) They will say: We have shown that, in spite of our willingness, negotiations with Israel simply do not work. Thus we have amply shown that the only language Israelis understand is force. The only way to achieve justice is at the end of a gun (or rocket, mortar, missile, scud, etc.). This track is meant to promote the following responses:
* More money from panicked Western countries to the Palestinians, to “persuade” them to avoid hostilities.
* More pressure on Israel to be more "flexible" in the "negotiations."
* Greater understanding by the world's fair-minded citizenry of the need of the Palestinians---after all these years exasperated, desperate and continually oppressed---to fight Israel in battle, to rocket Israel's cities, to blow up Israel's citizens, to "die for peace," etc.

b) They will say: We have shown that, in spite of our willingness, negotiations with Israel simply do not work. Thus the only remaining option is a one-state solution.
* A one-state solution is the only really democratic solution for the region (the Palestinians being experts when it comes to democracy).
* A one-state solution is the only really fair solution given the long history of conflict between the two peoples (the Palestinians being experts at fairness).
* A one-state solution is the only reasonable solution for this intractable stalemate, caused---as everyone well knows---by Israeli intransigence (the Palestinians being experts at reasonableness).
* A one-state solution is the only just solution, since it will end the long and intense suffering of the Palestinians as well as put an end to the injustice of Israel's creation (the Palestinians being experts at justice).

So there you have it. How can anyone justify opposing what is "democratic," "fair," "reasonable" and "just"? How can anyone continue to support the existence of the State of Israel?

The Palestinians are patient. Victory is in sight. And if they don't get what they want today or tomorrow, well that just means more cash in international handouts, more sympathy for their simply indescribably awful state of oppression, and further delegitimization of Israel.

Win, win, win. Until victory.

Victor said...

Barry, I could reply to you more substantively, but I sense a kind of creeping dread in your writing that I feel needs to be addressed first.

I've been reading some Jewish history recently. You're right, things today could be better. We live in an environment where Jewish unity is a precious commodity. Our enemies gain strength and plot against us. The obstacles are many, the allies few, and we lack leadership to navigate our people through these times.

Compare the present situation to the First Temple era, however, when our nation was literally split into two, when Kings killed prophets and built pagan temples for their foreign Queens, when the tribe of Benjamin was almost exterminated by the other tribes in a revolt and the entire 10 northern tribes were marched off into enslavement by the Assyrians, when Jewish children were sacrificed to pagan gods...

One of the many innovations of our people is the notion of linear history. Prior to us, life for humanity was an endless cycle of birth and death, night and day - eternal and without meaning. Without getting too spiritual here, the Jewish people are a reminder and instrument of purpose - our existence has meaning, we have our mission and the world is nearing a destination that is good, for everyone.

As the saying goes, the one who loads the camels does not put more than the animal can bear. Whatever challenges our generation faces were created for us to overcome. We need only to do our part, to contribute to our small corner of this world, as individuals.

If we do that, everything will work out in a positive way, for us, and for that matter, for them.

Anonymous said...

Barry and Victor
one very practical question:
I keep getting e-mails from this outfit http://palwatch.org/ telling me about PA-TV

- how about asking every writer going on about Israeli settlements when he/she wrote the last time about the PA's TV programs (let alone newspapers) and what about the school books I read about years ago that showed maps without Israel? Have they been replaced?

How come I only get obviously biased news about stuff like that and nothing via "certified" fair reporting? Isn't it a way to patronize Palestinians, if reporting on stuff like that is practically non-existent? i.e. as if they were not yet mature enough to have their behaviour judged?

Silke

Anonymous said...

NIF links to an interview with Michael Oren

this is what Oren has to say about the NIF

“One of the first things I did when I took office is meet with New Israel Fund,” he said. “They were in my office. I want to be as inclusive as possible. With that, I also have to uphold what I see as Israel’s essential security interests. It’s a bit of a balancing act.”

http://www.jewishjournal.com/rob_eshman/article/michael_oren_20100209/

Silke

Anonymous said...

The problem (in discussing NIF) is not that NIF supports anti-Zionist groups. The problem is that it supports so many good things: such as rape crisis centers and anti-trafficking work and substance abuse rehab., etc.

If it supported ONLY anti-Zionist NGO's, you could say, p'shita (simple!), they are bad actors. But the fact that the majority of their work, is with very worthwhile causes (in my opinion) makes this much more complex. We all hate complexity. Why can't the world make it simple for us, and keep everything black and white?

No, I don't think NIF should support organizations that are anti-Zionist. I think some anti-Zionists just really hate Jews and I think other anti-Zionists just don't understand the reality of the world.

If I understand the history correctly, the partition of Palestine was a response to the violence of Arabs against Jews, and of everyone against the British. Had there been no violence, there probably would have been no partition and the area would have remained a British protectorate. Since, the violence begins in the 1920's, when the Jewish community was small, and there was no displacement of Arabs, the nature of the violence is purely one of ethnic hatred.

So, those who think there could be a bi-national state at this point in time, ignore the deep animosity between the parties. It would be like trying to impose the Europe of today on the Europe of 1945.

I believe that if everyone could get along, with every culture respected, and the special relation of Jews, as a nation, to the land acknowledged, this would be economically and environmentally better for the welfare of everyone concerned. But I also don't think this is likely in the near future. Maybe after 40 years of an Israeli State and a Palestinian State living peacefully side by side, such a federation could be possible. But I don't think we are even close to a 2-state solution yet.

Have a good shabbat everyone.

Nycerbarb

Anonymous said...

Silke -

Did you see "John Steward Takes Aim at Hamas' Anti-Semitic Cartoons"

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/02/03/jon-stewart-takes-aim-at_n_447296.html

It is not Greek! BTW, what is "porniros"?

Nycerbarb

Anonymous said...

Nycerbarb,
just wrote a huge answer to you and it seems to be gone - so this is a test - if that text doesn't show up again somewhere I'll try again later on and hope to be shorter ;)
Silke

Anonymous said...

Nycerbarb,
the website works so I must have done something wrong:
in the meantime so I don't have to look them up again:
here is a link to a new Sullivan I stumbled upon - now he is the lone warrior afraid of nothing
http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2010/02/the-latest-from-leon-ctd-6.html
and here is a Berman piece on Quotb where he is very interesting (to me) on the merging and/or separation of politics and religion
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/03/23/magazine/23GURU.html?ref=magazine&pagewanted
Silke

Anonymous said...

let's hope that the Brits will side with Israel in this article (the Times-obits and a new book suggest that they are still very proud of their own daring ones - link to No. 3 of excerpts and the others below)
Silke
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article7025821.ece
"Israel is accused of waging covert war across the Middle East"

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/book_extracts/article6990426.ece

Anonymous said...

Nycerbarb
porniros: I try again - by now I can't decipher what I meant to say with that porniros-comment but I certainly hoped to lure Fake Ibrahim into another ridiculous proposal or maybe get him screaming

Porniros as I learnt to understand it means devious, sly, slippery but, confusing to a middle-European, it may be used in an admiring as well as damning sense and anything in between - if you managed to pull something off with the authorities or the greedy ones among the priests: great, if you tried something with your friends: out you go - but a word that may be use in a tone wholeheartedly admiring a trickster/a con I can't think of in English or in German. and maybe because self-styled Ibrahim comes across with such overblown self-importance I couldn't resist throwing it at him.

Silke

Anonymous said...

Thanks.

Nycerbarb