New Israel Fund

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Founded in San Francisco in 1979 the New Israel Fund (EIN: 942607722) is an American 501(c)3 non-profit organisation. Anchored in the Israeli left the NIF provides the following description of itself on its website:

The New Israel Fund (NIF) helps Israel live up to its founders' vision of a state that ensures complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants. Our aim is to advance liberal democracy, including freedom of speech and minority rights, and to fight inequality, injustice, and extremism that diminish Israel. [1]

On its website FAQ the NIF claim that 'Almost every significant cause-related progressive NGO in Israel was seed-funded by NIF...'[2] The organisation advocates an end to the occupation and for a two state solution. It has described settlement building as 'inimical to the peace process and to the future of Israel as a just and democratic society.'[3] It is further stated in its FAQ that it will not support organisations that advocate 'the destruction of the state of Israel.' Presumably this would exclude groups that argue for the so-called one-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.[4]

In December 2014 the NIF convened a public event entitled 'Defense with a conscience: Exploring military ethics in Israel':

Speakers at the event included military “ethicists” Asa Kasher and Moshe Halbertal, as well as retired US Air Force Major-General Robert Latiff... Kasher and Halbertal co-authored the Israeli military code of ethics...

Reportedly participants at the event defended the claim that the Israeli military is morally superior to the British and American armed forces and argued that civilian casualties in the course of Operation Protective Edge were not disproportionate.[5]

Oppostion to BDS

In November 2010, Naomi Paiss, in her capacity as Director of Communications of the NIF wrote an article critical of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. In the article she criticised both right-wing supporters of Israel and the 'hard left':

At a time when the atmosphere in Israel is rapidly polarizing, it can be challenging to be pro-Israel, pro-peace and pro-democracy. The international anti-Israel forces on both the hard left and right are doing their best to make that characterization an oxymoron. But we are not going to relinquish the character of Israel to the extremists. We will not condemn Israel for its lifelong struggle for legitimacy and security in a neighborhood that often denies it both.

Regarding BDS she commented that:

We see global BDS as a tactic that embodies the message that Israel cannot and will not change itself, and for that reason, we think it is inflammatory and counter-productive... The way to change Israel is not to divest, but to invest in Israelis and Palestinians who are struggling every day to change the status quo. From J Street and Americans for Peace Now in the U.S., to NIF and the hundreds of organizations we fund in Israel, to new NGOs working to build civil society in the occupied territories, there are hundreds of organizations and thousands of people who deserve financial support and a megaphone for their ideas and causes.

Paiss also rejected claims of parallels between apartheid South Africa and present-day Israel:

Israel is not an ‘apartheid state’; that is a historically inaccurate and inflammatory term that serves only to demonize Israel and alienate a majority of Jews around the world, including those who care deeply about issues of democracy, human rights, social justice and peace. Israel is not South Africa; it is a country where thousands upon thousands of activists are busy with actions aimed at making their lives - and those of their fellow citizens - better.[6]

In early 2011 the NIF removed the Israeli NGO Coalition for Women's Peace from its list of authorised donor-advised organisations because of the latter's support for aspects of the BDS campaign.[7]

In March 2015 Robert J. Tolchin, a New York-based civil rights lawyer, threatened legal action against the NIF if it failed to confirm that it was not funding BDS related activity.[8]

Foundation Grantees

Organisations that receive funds from the NIF include:

Adalah: Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, African Refugees Development Center (ARDC) Almuntada Altakadomi, Alrafah, Alsirag, Arteam, Assaf, Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) Association for the Promotion of the Arab Education System in Haifa, Baladna, Bimkom: Planners for Planning Rights, Breaking the Silence, Council for Peace and Security, Democracy Defense Fund, Entimaa & Ataa- Assn for Social Promotion, Givat Haviva Jewish-Arab Center for Peace, Hotline for Migrant Workers, Human Rights Defenders Fund (HRDF), I’lam: Media Center for Arab Palestinians in Israel, Ir-Amim, Jerusalem Inter-Cultural Center (JICC) Emun Hatzibur, Kayan (“Being”), Ken We Power, Kol Ha'Isha: Jerusalem Women's Center, Ma’an - The Forum for Bedouin Women’s Organizations, Merchavim: Institute for Multicultural and Democratic Education for Israel, Mitvim - The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies, Mossawa, Negev Coexistence Forum, Negev Institute for Strategies of Peace and Developemnt (NISPD), Our Heritage, Physicians for Human Rights, Rabbis for Human Rights, Shvil: Transparency International- Israel, The Arab Center for Alternative Planning, The Arab Center for Law and Policy - Dirasat, The Freedom of Information Association, The Sky Is The Limit, The Social Guard, Tishreen - A Culture Reviving Association - Taybeh, Women Against Violence (WAV) - Nazareth, Women's Fund for Human Rights (Machsom Watch), Activism Festival, Adva Center, Adva Center - Haoketz, Ahuzat Negev, Al Amar, Aljana - Center for Cultural and Social Development, Arous Elbahr for the Woman in Jaffa, Association of Women, Rahat, Awareness for You, Be'er Sova, Beit Haam, Beit Tikvat Em Habanim Smechah, Center for Jewish-Arab Economic Development, Genesis Israel, Follow-Up Committee for Arab Education, Follow-Up Committee for Arab Education- Hirak, Forum for Immigrant Families in the North, Friends by Nature - Community Empowerment, Hazit Ha'Kavod (Immigrant Scientists Association), Israeli Association for Ethiopian Jews (IAEJ), Israeli Human Rights Organization of People with Disabilities, Kefa For Social Change In The Negev, Kibbutzim College of Education, Technology and the Arts Kol Zchut (Wikirights), Ma'aglei Tzedek, Mahapach: Education, Housing, and Livelihood, Mahut Center, New Discourse (The Democratic Mizrahi Rainbow), Noar Kahalcha, Sister for Women in Israel, Social Economic Association (SEA), Social TV, Committee for Educational Guidance for Arab Students, Israeli Association for Distributive Justice, Women's Courtyard, Tzeireim Beyerucham, Tzofen, Women Lawyers for Social Justice, Workers' Hotline: Kav LaOved, Yedid: The Association for Community Empowerment, Yesodot Let'zmicha Dror, 12 Heshvan: Promoting Tolerance in an Orthodox Context, Be Free Israel, Bina (at Merchavim Chevra Lechinuch Vetarbut), Center for Women's Justice, Challenge, Even Shtia, Fishka - Young Russian Speakers Community in Israel, Hiddush For Religious Freedom and Equality, Hillel Israel, Kiah (Mimizrach Shemesh), Mavoi Satum ("Dead End"), Meitarei Ashkelon, Ne'emanei Torah Va'Avodah, Panim, Religious Women's Forum, Masorti Movement, Movement for Progressive Judaism (IMPJ), T'mura, Women and Horizons (Nisa Va'fak), Women of the Wall, Yad L'Isha (the ICAR coalition), Yerushalmim Movement, Green Course (Megama Yeruka), Mineless, The Green Environment Fund[9]

People Circa 2015

Board

Brian Lurie - President | Itzik Danziger - Vice President, Israel | Mary Ann Stein - Vice President, North America | Stephen Gunther - Treasurer | Deborah Bussel - Secretary

Directors

Amal ElSana Alh'jooj - Director | Elah Alkalay - Director | Naomi Chazan - Director | Peter Edelman - Director | Paul Egerman - Director | Franklin M. Fisher - Director | Joan Garson - Director | William Goldman - Director | Daniel Levy - Director | David N. Myers - Director | Debra Pell - Director | Talia Sasson - Director | Carole Segal - Director | Peter Shapiro - Director | Daniel Sokatch - Director | Jeffrey Solomon - Director | Yael Sternhell - Director | Carole Zabar - Director

International Council

Israel

Adeeb Awad | Michel Abitbol | Amal Elsana Alh’jooj | Arieh Arnon | Avner Azulay | Zouheir Bahloul | Haim Ben Shachar | Eliyahu Bareket | Maya Bar-Hillel | Mordechai Bar-On | Uri Bar-Yosef | Illan Baruch | Michael Ben-Yair | Avram Burg | Ruth Cheshin | Aaron Ciechanover | Avner De-Shalit | Omri Dotan | Rachel Elior | Uzi Even | Sidra Ezrahi | Lily Galili | Benny Gidron | Amiram Goldblum | Hanoch Gutfreund | Yisca Harani | David Har'el | Gilad Harish | Dorothy Harman | Tova Hartman | Shlomo Hasson | Roni Hefetz | Nehama Hillman | Avraham Infeld | Haim Izraeli | Daniel Kahneman | Judith Karp | Yadin Kaufman | Yehoshua Kolodny | Noam Lautman | Nati Linial | Yossi Malka | Kobi Metzer | Sami Michael | Jacob Ner David | Israela Oron | Amos Oz | Sarah Ozacky-Lazar | Ilan Paz | Motty Peri | Alon Piltz | Barak Platt | Uriel Procaccia | Frances Raday | Itzik Saporta | Orna Sasson-Levi | Amnon Sella | Hannan Serphos | Joshua Schoffman | Alla Shainskaja | Alice Shalvi | Shimon Shamir | Aliza Shenhar | Ruth Sheshinski | Varda Shiffer | Jonathan Shimshoni | Avraham Beiga Shochat | Joel Siegel | Ronny Someck | Shaanan Streett | Doron Tzabari | Ami Weinstein | Menachem Ya'ari | Dan Yakir | Alex Yoffe | Dina Zisserman | Neta Ziv

San Francisco and Northern California

Michael Bien | Sanford Gallanter | Linda Gallanter | Jim Koshland | Raquel H. Newman | Craig Newmark | Stuart Pollak | Lela Sarnat | Gerard Sarnat | Howard Sohn | Ingrid Tauber | Bonnie Tenenbaum | Paul Wachter | Diane Wexler | Carol Winograd | Terry Winograd | Vincent Worms

Los Angeles and Southern California

Susan Adelman | Rabbi Sharon Brous | Sara Cannon | James Cummings | Reuben Dori | Richard Gunther | Lois Gunther | Jackie Heller | Luis Lainer | David Myers | Marcie Zelikow

Chicago

Aviva Futorian | Emile Karafiol | Paul Lehman | Robert Lifton | Bettylu Saltzman | Gabrielle Sigel | Denis Weil

New York

Karen Adler | Yossef Beinart | Oz Benamram | Melissa Berman | Alan Cohen | Yehudah Cohn | Rachel Cowan | Jerome Davidson | Ellie Friedman | Bruce Goldberger | Phyllis Goldman | Sally Gottesman | Sherri Greenbach | Liz Greenstein | Michael Hirschhorn | Marvin Israelow | Arlene Kanter | Leslie Kimerling | Sara Klein | Jonathan Klein | Donald Landis | Betsy Landis | Shelley Levine | Bryna Linett | Jonathan Lopatin | J. Rolando Matalon | Cindy Miller | Harriet Mouchly-Weiss | Aaron Panken | Kathleen Peratis | Daniel Price | Paula Rackoff | Robert Rifkind | Irwin Rosenblum | Rick Schaffer | Lawrence Schwartz | Nancy Schwartz Sternoff | Gideon Stein | Gordon Tucker | David Umansky | Al Vorspan | Michael Walzer

Washington, D.C.

Sara Ehrman | Janine and Rob Frier | Judith Gelman | Frances Goldman | David Gottlieb | Barbara Green | Joan Kuriansky | Terry Lenzner | Judith Lichtman | Russell Linden | Susan Liss | Elaine Reuben | June Rogul | Sanford Ungar | Frank Vogl

Boston

Mindy Berman | Jeffrey Green | Dale Mnookin | Robert Mnookin | Bonnie Orlin | Moshe Safdie | Harriet Schley | Karen Tucker | Ruth Wolman

Florida

Sari Agatston | Barry Gaberman | Jane Katcher | Barbara Lipman | David Lipman | Noreen Sablotsky | Marsha Soffer

Other U.S. Regions

Lois Frank | Jan Liff | Sara Litt | Louis Newman | Lisa Orlick-Salka

International

Mark Baker | David Bernstein | Ellen Dahrendorf | Isser Dubinsky | Lawrence Englander | Susie Gilbert | David Goldberg | Mark Goldberg | June Jacobs | Pierre Loeb | Robin Margo | Claude Rakovsky | Simone Susskind | Irving Wallach | Sharon Weintraub | Fred Zemans


People Circa 2013

Brian Lurie - President | Naom Lautman - Vice President Israel | Mary Ann Stein - Vice President North America | Deborah Bussel - Secretary | Stephen D. Gunther - Treasurer | Lela Goren - Director | Elah Alkalay - Director | Yifat Bitton - Director | Naomi Chazan - Director | Itzik Danziger - Director | Peter Edelman - Director | Paul Egerman - Director | Amal Elsana Alhjooj - Director | Franklin M. Fisher - Director | Itzhak Galnoor - Director | Bill Goldman - Director | Martin Indyk - Director | Assad Joubran - Director | Daniel Levy - Director | Harriet Mouchly-Weiss - Director | Debra Pell - Director | Nicholas Saphir - Director | Talia Sasson - Director | Carole Segal - Director | Daniel Segal - Director | Peter Shapiro - Director | Jeffrey Solomon - Director | Yael Sternhell - Director | Alfred Fred Tauber - Director | Daniel Sokatch - Chief Executive Officer | David Rosen - Chief Operating Officer | Anthony Fullington - Chief Finance Officer | Rachel Liel - Executive Director, Israel | Steven Rothman - National Development Specialist | Naomi Paiss - Communications Director | Naom Shelef - Director, Digital Strategy | Bruce Temkin - Regional Director, NY | Libby Lenkinski - Regional Director, National | Karen Paul-Stern - Regional Director, DC | Ruti Berner-Kadish - Director, Foundation Relations

Funding

According to the NIF most of the organisation's funding comes from abroad:

NIF raises funds to cover its operating budget on an annual basis. Foundations and individual donors in the U.S., Canada and the UK – as well as a small but growing number of Israeli philanthropists – provide the more than $30 million that comprises the overall NIF annual budget. [10]

Some of its funds are dispersed through the Ford Israel Fund, described by the NIF as 'a grant-making partnership between the Ford Foundation and the New Israel Fund to promote peace and social justice in Israel.'[11]

One of the NIF's projects is Shatil ('The New Israel Fund’s Initiative for Social Change'). Reportedly Shatil and the NIF received over a million dollars in funding from the US State Department through its U.S. - Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) between 2009 and 2011.[12]

The following organisations each donated over $100,000 to the NIF in 2013:

Kathryn Ames Foundation, Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Foundation, Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies, Naomi and Nehemiah Cohen Foundation, Nathan Cummings Foundation, Lois and Richard England Family Foundation, the European Union, Everett Foundation, Fine and Greenwald Foundation, Fohs Foundation, Jackson and Irene Golden 1989 Charitable Trust, Stella and Charles Guttman Foundation, Mimi and Peter Haas Fund, Leichtag Foundation, Middle East Partnership Initiative, Moriah Fund, Morningstar Foundation, New Israel Fund Australia Foundation, New Israel Fund of Canada, New Israel Fund Switzerland, New Israel Fund United Kingdom, Repair the World, Rosenzweig Coopersmith Foundation, Laszlo N. Tauber Family Foundation [13]

The following organisations each donated over between $50,000 and $99,999 to the NIF in 2013:

Louise & Anne Abrons Foundation, Morton K. and Jane Blaustein Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Moses Feldman Family Foundation, Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund, Walter and Elise Haas Fund, Irving Harris Foundation, Hellman Foundation, David Hochberg Foundation, Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, Lee and Luis Lainer Family Foundation, Maor Foundation, Joseph and Harvey Meyerhoff Charitable Funds, J.S. and S. Michaan Foundation, Olive Bridge Fund, Open Society Foundations, Segal Family Foundation, Alan B. Slifka Foundation, Swiss Fed Department Foreign Affairs [13]


The New Israel Fund has also received funding from the following organisations:

Albert E. Marks Charitable Trust, Alan B. Slifka Foundation, Allan and Elizabeth Loeb Fund, Altman-Aronow Charitable Foundation, Anixter-Browning Family Charitable Foundation, Anne and Howard Gottlieb Foundation, Arnold and Rhoda Steiger Charitable Foundation, Arnow Family Fund, Beverly Foundation, Big Cat Foundation, Blum Family Foundation, Center for Alternative Media and Culture, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, Charles and Richard Oestreich Foundation, Charles L. Weisberg Family Foundation, Chuch Goldman Family Supporting Foundation, Compton Foundation, Burnam Charitable Foundation, Dajer Charitable Foundation, Dana and Jesse Lehman Foundation, Dobkin Family Foundation, Donald S. Lowitz Memorial Fund, Elizabeth B. and Arthur E. Roswell Foundation, Ernest Lowenstein Foundation, Eshaghpour Family Foundation, Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, Fadem Family Foundation, Florence and Fred Thomases Foundation, FJC - A Foundation of Philanthropic Funds, Fox Family Foundation, Gavlin Family Foundation, Gelb Foundation, George Hirsch Foundation, Gesher Family Foundation, Gruber Foundation, Harold K. Raisler Foundation, Howard G. and Samita B. Jacobs Foundation, Irving and Doris Lee Goldman Foundation, Irving and Geraldine Schaffer Foundation, Irving Harris Foundation, Isaac and Leah Potts Foundation, Israel and Mollie Myers Foundation, Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Foundation, Janklow Foundation, J.B. and Margaret Blaugrund Foundation, Jewish Community Foundation of Southeastern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois, Jewish Funders Network, Joyce and Irving Goldman Family Foundation, J.S. and S. Michaan Foundation, June and Ira Kapp Foundation, J. Zel Lurie Family Foundation, Kaplan Family Foundation, Kathryn Ames Foundation, Key Foundation, Klein Family Foundation, Koppelman Family Foundation, Lawrence and Idell Weisberg Foundation, Lehman-Stamm Family Fund, Lenore Hecht Foundation, Lenzner Family Foundation, Leo Burnett Company Charitable Foundation, Leonard J. and Ethel H. Smith Charitable Foundation, Leslie S. and Marsha Levine Charitable Trust, Libby Foundation, Louis J. Kuriansky Foundation, Louis P. Singer Fund, Maor Foundation, Margaret K. Sloss Foundation, Marie Lazare Foundation, Martin D. Cohen Family Foundation, Marvin Naiman and Margery Goldman Family Foundation, Massie Family Charitable Trust 2, Max Fund, Mazur Family Foundation, Milton Pollack Family Foundation, Morgan and Marjorie Miller Charitable Trust, Moriah Fund, Morning Star Foundation, Morse Family Foundation, Morton and Barbara Mandel Family Foundation, Nathan and Helen Kohler Foundation, Nathan Cummings Foundation, New Prospect Foundation, N. Silverstein Charitable Foundation, Paul Family Foundation, Philip J. Solondz Family Foundation, Pomegranate Foundation, Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund, Richard and Mary L. Gray Foundation, Righteous Persons Foundation, Rita Poretsky Foundation, Robert Russell Memorial Foundation, Sabra Minkus Family Foundation, Samuel and Francine Klagsbrun Foundation, Schocken Foundation, Schreck Family Foundation, Segal Family Foundation, Selma and Alvin Silverman Foundation, Senville Foundation, Sheldon L. and Pearl R. Leibowitz Foundation, Shore Family Foundation, SJR Charitable Trust, Sonkin Family Foundation, Sparkplug Foundation, Star Foundation, Stratfield Fund, Stella and Charles Guttman Foundation, Susan Adler Foundation, Toole Charitable Foundation, Vogl Foundation, Walter Stone Foundation, Wechsler Foundation, Weiser Family Foundation, Wexler-Beron Family Foundation, Woodbourne Foundation, World Institute for World Peace Foundation, Zanvyl and Isabelle Krieger Fund

Contact

Address Circa 2015:
330 Seventh Avenue, 11th Floor
New York,
NY 10001
Phone: (212) 613 4400
Website: http://nif.org
Email: info@nif.org

Notes

  1. 'About', New Israel Fund website, accessed 21 April 2015
  2. 'FAQs 3', New Israel Fund website, accessed 22 April 2015
  3. 'FAQs 6', New Israel Fund website, accessed 22 April 2015
  4. 'FAQs 5', New Israel Fund website, accessed 22 April 2015
  5. Rania Khalek, 'Killing 40 civilians in one go is “reasonable,” says Israel army ethicist', Electronic Intifada,31 December 2014, accessed 23 April 2015
  6. Naomi Paiss, 'Don't Divest; Invest', Zeek, 28 November 2010, accessed 23 April 2015
  7. 'CWP responds to NIF', CWP website, accessed 23 April 2015
  8. 'Attorney warns New Israel Fund against funding BDS, says legal action may follow', jns.org, accessed 23 April 2015
  9. 'Grantmaking', New Israel Fund website, accessed 21 April 2015
  10. 'FAQs 8', New Israel Fund website, accessed 22 April 2015
  11. 'FAQs 8', New Israel Fund website, accessed 22 April 2015
  12. Edwin Black, 'Controversial ‘New Israel Fund’ Received More Than $1 Million From US State Department', The Algemeiner, 9 March 2015, accessed 23 April 2015
  13. 13.0 13.1 New Israel Fund Website 2013 Annual Report. Accessed 22 April 2015.