Thursday, February 11, 2010

Response: Jeffrey Goldberg and the NIF controversy

Jeffrey Goldberg, of the Atlantic, has been on a strange, anti-Likud binge recently. Mind you, his rant does not challenge ideas, so much, 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. For some context and background, I recommend Yaacov Lozowick, here, here and here.) 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 eventual destruction of the state itself. 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.

Good Shabbos,

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 away, that NIF is good for Israel. His knee-jerk response is to blame the present controversy all on those Likud hatemongers for stirring up trouble. Fine. But the UN also used to be good for Israel. So was Human Rights Watch, before the Saudis started paying them, though it appears they may be returning to sanity. Sometimes, things change. Organizations change. Agendas change. Maybe it's time to take another look at the evidence and draw different conclusions. In Goldberg's case, maybe not. Yet.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, sometimes I'm not sure what to make of Goldberg. Typically, he's realistic in his view of the Israel-Arab conflict, but every so often he reverts back to the liberal Jewish American view of thing.

    On another note - glad to see that you have your own blog. I look forward to reading your future posts!


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