About 2,000 American families currently have children serving in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), other American Jews send their kids to Israeli summer camp -- and other American Jews fund the New Israel Fund (NIF) and cooperate with efforts at the United Nations to malign the State of Israel.
Their most recent endeavors involve accusing Israel of systematically compromising the welfare of Palestinian children. A special representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict recently recommended including the Israel Defense Forces on the blacklist of countries and bodies accused of systematically compromising the welfare of children – alongside Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, Islamic State, the Taliban and other terrorist organizations. The list is due to be published soon, as an appendix to Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s special Annual Report on Children in Armed Conflict.
Like previous UN Reports, the NIF and their partners cooperate with the UN to accuse Israel of war crimes in general and of abusing Palestinian children in particular. In October 2014 Adalah and Physicians for Human Rights (jointly with al Mezan, a Palestinian human rights organization) filed a report to the UN Human Rights Council. The report cited: Numerous cases of torture, ill-treatment and the disproportionate use of force by police, military and others security forces against Palestinian children.
For example, on June 1 2014, Adalah (an NIF grantee) sent an urgent letter to the Israeli Attorney General containing 21 shocking testimonies made by Palestinian children and recorded by the Defense for Children International-Palestine Section (DCI-P), alleging dangerous practices that constituted serious criminal offenses such as assault, damage, threat, sexual harassment and other unlawful activity committed by security authorities, including soldiers, GSS interrogators, and prison wardens.
A further report was filed to the UN Human Rights Council in February 2015 by the Child Trust Fund, which addressed the condition of Palestinian children, and based its findings on materials provided by Breaking the Silence’s 2012 report. Breaking the Silence, an organization founded by former Israeli soldiers whose purpose is to expose alleged abuses committed by the Israeli Defense Forces, released a booklet of witness reports written by more than 30 former Israeli soldiers. These reports document accusations of Palestinian children being beaten, intimidated, humiliated, verbally abused and injured by Israeli soldiers.
To place Israel on a blacklist for harming children is a gross, untrue accusation. Yet, attempting to do so is consistent with the goals of NIF, an organization that supports boycotts of Israel. Despite employing the same barbaric tactics as ISIS and Boko Haram and using the same repugnant rhetoric in their crusade to annihilate Israel and the United States, NIF ignores Hamas and Hezbollah misdeeds against Israel – and harms Israel by cooperating with the United Nations to blacklist one of the world’s most humanitarian armies.
The truth is the IDF did everything in its power to minimalize Palestinian casualties during Operation Protective Edge. Throughout the escalation, the IDF continuously warned innocent civilians in Gaza with electronic messaging and pamphlets when certain areas were going to be struck and gave them ample time to evacuate. They even went one step further by pinpointing areas they could evacuate to in order to avoid any gunfire and live combat. But sadly many of these civilians were forced to remain in these hostile areas to serve as human shields in order to maximize Palestinian casualties to propel Hamas's propaganda campaign and lure fellow Islamic extremists and faux human rights activists to their cause.
The New Israel Fund funds and supports groups that harm the IDF, supplying information to the UN in order to categorize the IDF with notorious and nefarious terror groups like ISIS, Boko Haram, and Al-Nusra. But when did any member of these terror groups do everything in their power to minimize civilian casualties and treat wounded civilians in their own hospitals? Israel continuously provided humanitarian relief and medical aid to Palestinian men, women, and children, who were treated in Israeli hospitals throughout the entire conflict.
The real child abuse is orchestrated by individuals like the leader of Hamas, Khaled Mashal, whose net-worth is estimated at $2.6 billion as the people he claims to champion for are starving, unemployed, and fed false information each and every day on how Israel is to blame for their suffering. The real child abuse comes in the form of brainwashing Gaza’s youth with children’s programs lauding martyrdom and encouraging them to grow up to become suicide bombers instead of becoming doctors, engineers, nurses, or other occupations to make a difference for Palestinian Arab society.
As Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor has noted, when it comes to Israel there is a “moral fog” and Hamas’ child abuse continues to receive a hall pass by the international community.
If the New Israel Fund, B’Tselem, or Breaking the Silence cared about the lives of Palestinian children then their grievances would be focused on Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, and the regimes that support them. These organizations claim that their missions, which undermine Israel’s existence, are inspired by “Jewish values,” but no Jewish scripture will tell you that boycotting and marginalization fall under the umbrella of Jewish values.
Anyone who cares about Israel stands against the New Israel Fund.
Hank Sheinkopf is CEO of Sheinkopf Communications and a leading Democratic strategist. His clients have included former President Bill Clinton. Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, one of the 20 largest independent American PR firms. George Birnbaum is an international political consultant, who formerly served as chief of staff for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
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