Friday, July 23, 2010

Ben-Dror vs. New Israel Fund

If you'll recall, Ben-Dror Yemini published a letter attacking the NIF from within, from a participant at one of their sponsored Shtil seminars. Here.

Were it not for the presence of politics, we all would have had so much in common. But the radical left was so present in the room that it seemed obvious that everyone was speaking in one voice. All the sentences began with "we" and not "I". It seemed like no issue was complex nor were there different views regarding the issue. The IDF was a conquering army, Israel was a colonial state, only the Palestinians suffered and this was the only real issue at heart.

It has been two weeks since and I am still disturbed by what I have experienced...Is the Fund itself openly working towards removing the "Jewishness" from the State? Is the Fund trying to turn Israel into a country for all her inhabitants alongside a Palestinian state? Is the Fund backing the fact that the aim of the Palestinian society sector within "Shatil" is to strengthen the expression of the Palestinian nation, and that on the Jewish side of the spectrum the aim is to strengthen freedom of religion and not Jewish identity and the national expression of the Jews in their homeland? Is the Fund backing the fact that Shatil's sector for immigrant absorption is dealing just with that and not promoting or legitimizing immigration? I cannot help but wonder why the Fund defines its political right limitations (for example, the advert looking for social activists for the Golan Heights was postponed by the notice board of Shatil), but does not restrict its political left: for example, denouncing any form of violence or violation of the law by organizations and their activists.

Are you aware of this "atmosphere" amongst the leaders of organizations which the Fund supports? Can the Fund give coverage to the issue of loathing and denouncing Israel and its institutions? I have never participated in struggles or protests, only with building and developing. My allegiance to the Fund and Shatil was uncompromising after the publication of the report. I was their strongest defender and I absolutely identified with their goals and activities. I can say unequivocally, that this has been one of the main causes of the feelings of my feelings of late.

I am not complaining about specific people...I feel that you, as manager of the Fund, would want to hear and know these things. Perhaps the Fund and all of its leaders should currently be hearing this voice not from a high perch of criticism but rather from its legitimacy in the eyes of social activists such as me. In the eyes of people who up until today, thought that they belonged to the liberal left but cannot be part of it or its activities anymore without feeling that they are harming their existence as Jews in a Jewish state. I know that your previous home was the Jewish federation of San Francisco and I also know that one of the aims, amongst others, of this organization, is to strengthen Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. This is a good enough reason for me to believe that you still represent this vital goal today. These are tough times to be an Israeli both at home and abroad. I as an Israeli Jew, who believes in "Tikun Olam" and trying to build a more just and egalitarian society and who has devoted and will continue to devote her efforts to achieve this goal, could not carry on in life without writing this letter to you with all its honesty and pain.
I hope to hear from you soon,

All my regards,

Details: here; and here; and here.

Just you should know (pardon my Yiddish inflection), there's a full-page ad by the other participants, from the most radical lefties, crying they've been done foul. I am not going to translate it (it's in Hebrew).

Ben-Dror has (devastatingly) responded here in Hebrew.

His bottom line: you're bad even if you do good things, just like the ambulance driver saving a victim but on the way to the hospital causes a traffic accident himself.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Shalom Yisrael,
I spoke to you last night regarding Ben Dror's article.
I have just published a long article about the NIF in England, in my blog at:
At the end I have posted a link to your Blog, to the NIF full-page "ad" in Maariv last Friday. Let me know if you have a problem with this.
Kol Tuv,
Avraham Reiss - JCWatch