September 22, 2018

The Prime Minister’s Attack on the New Israel Fund

Rabbi Gilad Kariv, the CEO of the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism, echoes my concerns and the concerns of anyone who values democracy and human rights and who is well-aware of the enormous good that the New Israel Fund has done on behalf of those in need in Israel. I am printing his statement in full:

“The Prime Minister’s attack on the New Israel Fund is a crossing of a line that we cannot remain silent about and is a critical test for Government of Israel  coalition members who are truly committed to democratic values and to the need for solidarity in Israeli society. The call to form a parliamentary investigative committee instills a sense of witch hunt and McCarthyism into Israeli dialogue, akin to that of crippled democracies and those that lose their way. The discourse and discussion regarding the NIF’s activity is legitimate. Marking the NIF as a subversive organization and the attempt to threaten it, its supporters and its activists – is dangerous and disgraceful. The fact that these acts were done by the Prime Minister, in large part in order to cover up his embarrassing conduct in regards to the annulment of the agreement on the matter of asylum seekers, is a disgrace to the government and its coalition parties. We call upon the heads of all coalition parties and the Members of Knesset of these parties who are committed to the freedom of activity of  Israel’s civic society to sound a clear voice of objection to the Prime Minister’s statements. 

The New Israel Fund is a loyal partner of the Israel Reform Movement in efforts to promote freedom of religion and conscience  among Israeli citizens, in fortifying human rights and promoting social justice. We will not hide this partnership and we will stand by our friends as they become a target for the lowest level of shaming and incitement. The attack on the NIF is a direct attack on Israeli civil society and on the majority of social change organizations in Israel. Now is the time to stand together in a wide coalition and make clear that there are red lines. A dialogue and argument – yes. Incitement and shaming – no. Israeli history will judge the elected officials who choose to remain silent during this time. We are not part of them. We do not hesitate to say to the Prime Minister: there is a limit to incitement! Enough of turning Israelis against one another! Enough of sacrificing Israeli solidarity for political interests! This is not what we expect of you on the eve of Israel’s 70th year of independence!”