The following letter was sent to Ellen Salant, President of Temple Israel, in response to the recent revelation that Rabbi Gordon Tucker of the synagogue had donated “discretionary funds” to New Israel Fund.
The New Israel Fund arouses such antipathy in Israel that the Deputy Speaker of the Knesset was quoted as follows:
Deputy Knesset speaker Yoni Chetboun said, “The main goal of the NIF is to undermine the Israeli army, by knowingly financing left-wing Israeli groups that try to get young Israeli soldiers prosecuted for war crimes.”
You informed me that in 2013 Gordon used his discretion to give $5000 – $5999. to The New Israel Fund using temple money.
Many find this deeply objectionable because of the behavior of NIF. There is a trust involved in granting Rabbi use of Discretionary funds; i.e., that the money won’t be used to fund entities whose behavior is widely suspected of being inimical to the survival of our beloved Jewish state. This giving of temple money to NIF should never have happened without the explicit permission of all temple members, because so many members would find this so offensive, if they knew the truth about the NIF. I am sure you and the Trustees will be appalled by their behavior, after reading this letter.
The quibble that he gave “Discretionary” funds is just that – a quibble; the dollars that members give to the shul are fungible.
The charges against NIF include, but are not limited to, the following as found in an NGO Monitor posting on the NIF:
1 – NIF grantee Mada al-Carmel ($450,000 in 2006-2008) calls for a change in the definition of the State of Israel from a Jewish state,” and the implementation of the Palestinian “right of return,” meaning the end of Jewish self-determination.
2 – NIF grantee Adalah ($1,045,292 in 2006-2008) would limit Jewish immigration (aliyah) to “humanitarian reasons”.
3 – NIF grantee Mossawa ($517,642 in 2006-2008) calls for the eradication of the Israeli flag and national anthem.
NIF grantees Aswat and Al-Qaws (combined $111,000 in 2008) refer to “Israel’s stifling Apartheid” and “[o]ur 62-year struggle for freedom from Israeli occupation and Apartheid.”
4 – NIF grantee B’Tselem’s ($785,285 in 2006-2008) Jessica Montell: “I think the word apartheid is useful for mobilizing people because of its emotional power. In some cases, the situation in the West Bank is worse than apartheid in South Africa.”
5 – NIF grantee Adalah ($1,045,292 in 2006-2008) declared Israel guilty of “colonialism” and “apartheid,” and placing Palestinians in “reserves and ghettoes.”
6 – NIF grantee ACRI ($2,371,443 in 2006-2008) describes Israel’s practices as “in many ways reminiscent of the Apartheid regime in South Africa.”
7 – NIF grantees participate in Israel Apartheid Week
Adalah ($1,045,292 in 2006-2008) was scheduled to speak (March 9, 2010) at Al Quds University on “Apartheid as it is experienced by Palestinian citizens of Israel.”
8 – The founder and president of Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I; $503,537 in 2006-2008) co-led the event that kicked off London’s 2008 Israel Apartheid Week (Feb. 11, 2008), giving a lecture on “Introducing Israel” at University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies.
9- A Breaking the Silence ($200,855) video was shown as part of Connecticut’s 2010 Israel Apartheid Week (March 4, 2010.)
10 – Eight NIF grantees (combined $2.2 million in 2008; $5,621,728 in 2006-2008) submitted a joint statement to Goldstone alleging
“human rights violations for which Israel must be held accountable.”
11 – Eight NIF grantees (combine $1,813,424 in 2006-2008) have been lobbying foreign governments to adopt the Goldstone report.
12 – An official from NIF grantee Adalah ($1,045,292 in 2006-2008) appeared before the UN Human Rights Council and encouraged the Council “to act to end the culture of impunity and unequal justice.”
13 – Five NIF grantees (combined $437,224 in 2008) successfully petitioned the Norwegian Pension Fund to divest from Israeli firms.
14 – NIF grantee Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP; $285,509 in 2006-2008) supports BDS and the UC Berkeley divestment campaign.
15 – NIF grantee CWP ($285,509 in 2006-2008) runs the divestment website WhoProfits.org
16 – NIF grantee Adalah ($1,045,292 in 2006-2008) submitted a legal opinion to a Spanish court in support of a lawfare case against Israeli officials.
17 – NIF grantees CWP and Social TV (combined $366,089 in 2006-2008) lobbied the British government to “enable the prosecution of Israeli War Criminals”
18 – NIF grantee PCATI’s ($48,888 in 2006-2008) CEO Ishai Manuchin supports foreign prosecution of Israeli officials for “war crimes.”NIF grantees PCATI and Adalah met with officials of the
International Criminal Court to discuss prosecution options relating to the Gaza War
19 – On November 2-3, 2009, representatives of PCATI and Adalah joined the NGO leaders of the anti-Israel lawfare campaign (PCHR, Al Haq, FIDH) in a series of meetings with officials at the International Criminal Court to “explor[e] different avenues to bring justice to the victims of serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law” relating to the Gaza War.
20 -Yesterday, 19 November 2012, human rights organizations based in Israel and Gaza demanded that a criminal investigation be opened into the suspicion of war crimes by the Israeli military following the killing of 10 Palestinian civilians, including 8 members of the Al-Dalu family, in Gaza on 18 November 2012. The family’s home was hit by a bomb at approximately 2:30pm, in an Israeli air strike on the residential building. Adalah, Al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights in Gaza and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza put the demand forward in a letter to the Israeli Military Advocate General and the Attorney General.
Daunting, to say the least. But don’t take my word for it – just immediately go to the Adalah website (NIF grantee) this very minute and you will see writings in support of stopping “Judaization” of Jerusalem, in support of Israel state funding to mourn the founding of the state by calling it a “nakba”, i.e., catastrophe), etc. etc. etc. ad nauseam.
Assuming these twenty allegations against NIF are true, assuming even half are true, knowing what you now know, do you want temple money to go to NIF?
Several questions immediately arise in connection with this transfer of funds from TIC to NIF:
1 – What are the temple rules governing the use of Discretionary funds? Please provide citations from incorporation and other relevant documents.
2 – Does the board support continuing to give NIF, and like organizations, temple money? Is this the purpose for which “Discretionary funds” were set up? Was this the intent?
3 – What other NGOs have been given Discretionary or other temple funds?
4 – Do you think that if the members of TIC knew of the above allegations they would approve of their money being given to NIF?
5 – What oversight mechanism does the board employ to supervise Rabbi’s use of discretionary fund? Did the board know of his gift to NIF before he did it? After he did it? Ever?
6 – Going forward, what oversight mechanism will be used to insure that the Rabbi’s use of the discretionary fund is proper?
In part because there was no Jewish state, seventy years ago 6,000,000 of our brothers and sisters were murdered because they were Jews. 1,000,000 precious beautiful Jewish children were murdered.
Now that we have a Jewish state, isn’t our job to do everything possible to support it, rather than supporting NGOs the behavior of which so many consider to be so inimical to the security of Israel? Do we really want to give our money to a group that supports teaching that the founding of our beloved Jewish homeland was a “nakba”, a catastrophe?
I look forward to your detailed response to the six questions above concerning Rabbi’s use of T I C discretionary funds to support NIF and it’s subsidiary NGOs.
Phillip Jacobs, Ph.D.