ZOA Concerned: Israeli Prime Minister Bennet Condemns the Anti-Israel New Israel Fund (NIF), Yet Deborah Lipstadt Praises NIF; Accuses NIF’s Critics of “McCarthyism”
News Press Release
August 3, 2021

Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton A. Klein released the following statement:

Last week, the ZOA wrote that Emory University Prof. Deborah Lipstadt is the wrong choice to become the U.S. Special Envoy to Combating Antisemitism, due to Lipstadt’s partisan focus and statements. We expressed concerns that Lipstadt will ignore or give far too little attention to antisemitism from leftist and Islamist BDS groups and Israel-bashing NGOs. (“ZOA: Deborah Lipstadt is a Divisive, Partisan, Wrong Choice for Antisemitism Envoy,” July 30, 2021.)

ZOA has now found more evidence that Lipstadt should be disqualified: In 2015, Lipstadt wrote an article in the Forward defending and praising the anti-Israel “New Israel Fund” (NIF), while Israeli PM Naphtali Bennett and others condemn NIF for absurdly calling Israel a “war criminal” and much more. NIF is and has been a major funder of NGOs (non-governmental organizations) that promote anti-Israel boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS), and that persistently demonize and harm the Jewish state and the IDF (Israel Defense Forces). Yet, Lipstadt wrongly praised NIF as “an organization that works ceaselessly to promote the progressive values of equality and democracy in Israel,” and that “seeks a Jewish State which protects the human rights of all its citizens.” 

Notably, Lipstadt wrongly accused pro-Israel individuals (Ronn Torossian and others) who appropriately criticized NIF and its donors, of “McCarthyism”; “demonizing NIF,” “having no shame,” engaging in a “smear campaign”; “name-calling and defamation”; “gutter level attacks”; “abuse and lies”; “character assassination of the worst kind”; “vilification” and being “the true enemies of the Jewish people.

Lipstadt’s defense of NIF―a major funder of Israel-demonization―and Lipstadt’s accusations that these pro-Israel truthtellers fighting antisemitism are the “true enemies of the Jewish people,” etc., surely should disqualify her from serving in the sensitive “Combating Antisemitism” envoy post.

Ronn Torossian’s articles about NIF’s Israel-bashing make it clear that Lipstadt’s venomous attacks on Ronn Torossian and NIF’s other critics are undeserved. (See Jewish Organizations Should Know That the New Israel Fund is No Friend,” by Ronn Torossian, JNS, Feb. 19. 2015; “My Stand Against the New Israel Fund,”by Ronn Torossian; “Here Are the Facts on Donors to the New Israel Fund,” by Ronn Torossian, Algemeiner Aug. 23, 2015; New Israel Fund Donors Are Funding Israel’s Destruction,”by Ronn Torossian, Israel Nat’l News.)Ronn Torossian is a highly respected public relations professional, and founder and CEO of one of the 15 largest PR firms in the U.S.

Torossian points out that Israelis and pro-Israel activists from throughout the left-right spectrum condemn NIF’s anti-Israel activities.

Torossian quoted then-Israeli Education Minister (current Israeli Prime Minister) Naftali Bennett, who explained: “The NIF works methodically and consistently to attack our Israeli soldiers, accuse them of war crimes, of torturing Palestinians, and intentionally attacking women and children. They turn to the U.N. and to the committees that are most hostile to Israel, and try their best to convince them that Israel is a war criminal. I repeat:They say that our soldiersyou, I, your friends and your families, your children and their friendsthat we are all war criminals. The New Israel Fund invests large amounts of money through its organizations with one purpose – to harm IDF soldiers, who are physically protecting us with their bodies.”

Torossian also quoted President Clinton’s political strategist Hank Sheinkopf, who noted: “Those who stand with the New Israel Fund are standing against Israel. To suggest otherwise is a lie. I urge anyone affiliated with the NIF to stop supporting this organization financially. The New Israel Fund must be ostracized by the Jewish community.” (See also New Israel Fund Should Be Shunned for Siding With Terrorists in New York Trial,” by Hank Sheinkopf, Observer, Feb. 2015.)

Torossian also quoted a self-described left wing Zionist, who wrote in Maariv that her fellow NIF trainees in an NIF/Shatil training seminar were “Palestinian and Jewish human rights activists who negated the State of Israel’s existence. . . who want to annihilate the State without ruling out violent means, who believe that the State of Israel was born out of sin and who apologize for its existence, who loathe Israel and its symbols, who justify harming Israel, its soldiers and all its institutions, who devote their lives and efforts towards turning Israel into a bi or multi-national country. These people are fighting for one nationality alone – Palestinian. These same people oppose communal or civil national service for Arabs within the State. They also equate Israel’s actions with those of Nazi Germany. . . . [and] reject Israel’s right to exist. Who are striving for the destruction of Israel. Do NIF donors know that their money is funding the destruction of the state?”

Torossian also reminded readers that Birthright had to sever ties with NIF, due to NIF’s activities. (See “Birthright Israel Cuts Ties With New Israel Fund,” by Sam Sokol, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 28, 2014.)

Does Deborah Lipstadt believe that NIF’s critics, including PM Naftali Bennett, Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf, Birthright Israel, and a “left wing Zionist” NIF trainee are the “true enemies of the Jewish people”?

NIF Has Granted Millions of Dollars to Groups That Demonize Israel and the IDF, and That Promote Anti-Israel BDS, Including:

  • Machsom Watch: harasses and interferes with IDF soldiers at security checkpoints; lobbies for European governments to divest from Israel, etc.
  • B’Tselem: demonizes Israel at the UN and around the world, including falsely accusing Israel of “apartheid,” perpetrating “war crimes,” “beating and abus[ing]” Palestinian Arabs; asks the UN to take “decisive international action” against Israel; participated (along with NIF grantees Gisha and Adalah) in UN forum featuring calls for BDS; falsely likens Israeli treatment of Palestinian Arabs to the death of George Floyd; etc.
  • Breaking the Silence: produces false “testimonies” demonizing the IDF; promotes false, unsubstantiated “war crimes” allegations against Israel at the UN and around the world, while refusing to provide evidence to Israel authorities; teaches that Palestinian Arab terrorists are “freedom fighters” and are not terrorists; lobbiesagainst anti-BDS resolutions, etc.
  • Association for Civil Rights in Israel(ACRI): falsely accuses Israel of “grave human rights violations,” “racist policies” and “turning Gaza into an open-air prison”; brings “lawfare” harassing lawsuits against Israel; publishes false databases and reports demonizing Israel; condemns the IDF for raiding a front group of the PFLP terror organization, etc.
  • Adalah: accuses Israel of racist laws with phony racist laws website; co-authored the antisemitic Movement 4 Black Lives platform that accuses Israel of genocide and calls for anti-Israel BDS; participated in UN forum featuring calls for BDS; rejects legitimacy of the Jewish state and calls for eliminating Israel’s Jewish character; called on Israel’s Central Election Committee to oppose disqualification of Arab MK Haneen Zoabi (who joined the Turkish terror flotilla against Israel); etc.
  • Mossawa: accuses Israel of “racism” in annual racism reports; meets with EU officials to malign Israel; Mossawa director Jafar Farah was arrested at a violent “Gaza Strip solidarity rally” that included “stone throwing at officers, property damage, attempts to block roads”; urges UN to accuse Israel of “ethnic cleansing,” “apartheid” and “criminality,” etc.
  • Gisha: falsely accuses Israel of “inhumane acts of apartheid”; testifies against Israel at the UN; promotes international criminal investigations of Israel; etc.
  • Ir Amim: absurdly accuses Israel of attempting to “Judaize” Jerusalem (In fact, Jerusalem has been a majority Jewish city since at least the first census in the 1840s); engages in relentless Israel-bashing, etc.
  • Public Committee Against Torture – Israel(PCATI): regularly circulates and provides to UN commissions false, unverifiable allegations of Israeli torture; uses false torture allegations for anti-Israel campaigns in international forums and Israeli courts; etc,
  • NIFalso funds numerous other groups that demonize and attack Israel, including: PCFFCombatants for PeacePHR-I; and Yesh Din. In addition, NIF funded CWP (the so-called Coalition of Women for Peace) which established the antisemitic BDS “infrastructure.” CWP’s “Who Profits” identifies BDS targets – Jewish and other companies that supposedly “profit” from so-called “Israeli occupation” (Israel’s existence).

How in the world can Lipstadt combat the virulent antisemitism of the foregoing groups, when Lipstadt defended NIF – an organization that funds all these groups?

NIF’s Attempts to Cancel American Jewish Organizations: This past year, NIF lobbied against and smeared ZOA for seven months in an unsuccessful effort to expel ZOA from the Boston JCRC, simply for our accurately condemning the Black Lives Matter group as anti-Israel. NIF was also part of a leftist coalition that tried to oust 5 pro-Israel slates from the World Zionist Congress election in 2020.

How can Lipstadt combat antisemitism when she promotes NIF – a group that fights against the Jewish State and seeks to cancel the legitimate pro-Israel organizations that combat antisemitism?

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