There was a time in Europe when Jewish people were made to wear yellow stars on their arms to indicate that they were indeed Jewish. It was not a badge of honor, but a way to identify Jews for discrimination, scorn and, ultimately, Hitler’s final solution. Perhaps that is why the European Union’s November 11th decision to label products that come from the regions in Israel after the Six-Day War is being scorned in almost all sectors of Israel, left to right. Labeling items for discriminatory reasons so that others can choose to exclude them is another nail in a coffin being built by the proponents of the Boycott Divest Sanctions (BDS) movement. Among the very few in the Jewish community who support this endeavor is a radical American Jewish organization, who raise $30 million annually, The New Israel Fund (NIF).
NIF openly supports a boycott of Israeli settlements and Eastern Jerusalem and has no issues with boycotting the areas that the EU now wants to stamp with the yellow star -- “made in settlements” – and still wants its supporters to believe it is not against the Jewish state.
The European Union is one of Israel’s top trading partners. The products from the Judea and Samaria, the Golan Heights and even the areas in East Jerusalem will now require special labels to notify purchasers that they come from what they decided is disputed or occupied areas. Although it represents a small percentage of Israel’s $13 billion in annual exports to the EU’s 28 countries, it has far reaching repercussions. There is a historic precedent to suggest that this labeling will reach into all of Israel. A next step will certainly be to target businesses that might have even remote ties to the areas the EU and the NIF have designated as problematic.
Across Israel, from the left to the right, there is unanimity in opposition to the labeling. Isaac Herzog from the dovish Zionist Union party said that this was a “dangerous and detrimental” move that will damage peace efforts. Herzog even compared the move to the UN’s decision to equate Zionism with racism in 1975. He quoted his father, Chaim Herzog’s statement while an Ambassador at the United Nations then: “This decision is based on hatred, falsehood and ignorance, devoid of any moral value. For us, the Jewish people, this is no more than a piece of paper, and we must treat it as such.”
Former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman said, “Every time that Europe labels Jews, it’s a sign that anti-Semitism, insanity and hypocrisy have taken over and that they are leading the entire free world to a catastrophe.”
Yair Lapid, head of Yesh Atid, said that the EU’s move will “strengthen terror against Israel.” He proclaimed, “This move, proposed by the BDS movement, may ultimately lead to a total economic boycott of the State of Israel. This is a decision that will only harden Palestinian positions and pushes off the chance for a political solution.” Lapid Tweeted, that this hits Israel as “Jews are being stabbed on the streets.”
The New Israel Fund helped make this EU decision a reality.
Naomi Chazan, who was NIF president from 2008-2012 and is still a senior NIF board member who serves on the Public Council of Social Television, the NIF’s leading media organization, explained her position on the boycott, saying, “Because of the ambiguity, in practical terms, boycotting Israel is only going to get the majority of Israelis riled in the wrong direction. It is not an effective move, politically ... That is not true of targeted measures against settlements and against businesses and economic activities that relate to the Occupation ... I think that is the right direction to go. I think it’s very, very important.”
Many Americans who proclaim to support Israel – including leaders such as UJA’s president Alisa Doctoroff or Rabbi Gordon Tucker and Temple Israel of White Plains -- still give to the NIF, thus advocating for the labeling initiative that just occurred.
Naomi Paiss, NIF VP for Public Affairs, said just a short while ago that the “NIF will not deny funding to organizations that call for a boycott of settlement products, assuming they meet our other rigorous funding criteria.” She added, “We who uphold democratic values including freedom of expression, and who differentiate between Tel Aviv and Kfar Tapuah, are the majority” -- and provide support for this hateful initiative.
The World Jewish Congress last week said the European Union was guilty of applying “blatant double standards” and deliberately singling out Israel for special measures, and the ADL called it wrong and hypocritical.
The New Israel Fund is an extremist organization, and we know many of the American Jews who choose to fund this organization and call upon them, for their love of Israel, to stop supporting this group. Barbara and Eric Dobkin, Sally Gottesman, Murray Koppelman, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, Bryna Linett, Carole & Saul Zabar, Irwin Jacobs, William and Sera Goldman, the Jim Joseph Foundation, the Jewish Communal Fund, Dr. Gabor Herman, the Leichtag Foundation, the Lopatin Foundation and Edith Everett: You cannot support a group that helps Europeans to practice anti-Semitism against Israel. Please stop.