When it was reported that the New Israel Fund (NIF) was paying around $8 million to organizations that provided the Goldstone Report with all of its condemnations of Israel, it became clear that the “New Israel” desired by the New Israel Fund is one with more than 9 years of consistent rocket fire.
Our organization, Sderot Media Center (SMC), with a yearly budget of close to $200,000, worked tirelessly on a formal report that was requested by the Goldstone Commission itself, which encompassed the impact of the rocket fire on the residents of the Sderot region. We sent this formal report accompanied by photographs and videos to depict to this UN committee, which did not visit Sderot, what it is like to live under either daily rocket fire or the threat of daily rocket fire over the course of then eight years. The Goldstone Committee then flew our director, Noam Bedein, to the UN Headquarters in Geneva to give a 30-minute presentation/testimony in front of the committee on this daily reality lived in Sderot.
The New Israel Fund paid around $8 million to organizations that provided information to the Goldstone Report. As a cited provider of information for the Goldstone Report, I guess our New Israel Fund check got lost in the mail.
As the only organization providing the human story of the near decade of rocket fire on Israeli men, women and children, the NIF clearly had no intention of helping sponsor our work.
A clear majority of the organizations mentioned in the Goldstone Report, 77%, are organizations that were paid by the NIF. Amongst those organizations, an overwhelming majority of the ones that were in favor of the report, 92%, are organizations that were paid by the NIF.
The New Israel Fund, an organization that supposedly prides itself on democracy and human rights, “We fight inequality, injustice and extremism because we understand that justice is the precondition for a successful democracy,” as defined in their “About Us” -- strategically and financially ignores the human rights of Sderot men, women, and children that have endured this rocket lifestyle since 2001. The one organization located in Sderot that was paid by the NIF was an organization called the Other Voice -- that led a bike ride from Sderot to the Gaza border. Apparently, organizations in Sderot are only worth NIF money if they are speaking out for Gaza residents and riding a bike.
The head of the NIF, Naomi Chazan, has led the response to this Im Tirtzu report by touting terms like “democracy” to describe what she is supporting, and “fascists” is what she has called those who criticize the NIF. A well educated professor like herself should know that democracy is not achieved by Hamas viciously controlling a prisoner population and using them as shields from a sovereign army and paying the UN to enable Hamas to further persevere doesn’t help. A democracy does not put over 100,000 Gaza children through summer military training camps. So, in attempting to bring down the only democracy in the world with international war crimes, Chazan hopes to create her “New Israel” democracy where Hamas can cause the death of more of their children, train more of them to fight Jews, and freely fire rockets at neighboring Israeli children.
A well educated professor like herself, Chazan should know that calling people and organizations that criticize the NIF “fascists” is embarrassingly hypocritical -- while she pays and supports the ongoing actions of terrorists who use their own civilians to target other civilians. The Sderot Media Center criticizes the NIF and Naomi Chazan. So are we that risk our lives day-in and day-out to show the world that rockets are targeting civilians, and whom the popular liberal newspaper Haaretz described as a “tiny organization that fights to make Sderot’s voice heard” -- are we fascists? Our center runs a therapeutic drama program, in which traumatized high school girls share and express themselves with psychology professionals. Are these traumatized Sderot girls fascists?
If one reads the report put out by Im Tirtzu about the NIF paying for 77% of the Israeli condemning UN Goldstone Report, one will see how NIF paid more than half a million dollars to Physicians For Human Rights-Israel to send an Israeli condemning report to the Goldstone Committee that completely ignored the over 9,000 psychological patients in Sderot. This is just one example of the strategic financing of biased information that shaped the Goldstone Report.
If the public and donors of the New Israel Fund allow this organization to continue, it will be an upside-down “New Israel” where girls expressing their trauma are considered fascists and a democracy is where children are put through terrorist training and used as human shields.
I guess, along with an invitation to last week’s Islamic Revolution anniversary rally in Teheran, our New Israel Fund check got lost in the mail.
Jacob Shrybman is a writer for the Sderot Media Center (SderotMedia.org.il).