J.J. Goldberg

The Israel Project to N.Y. Times: Expose Anti-Israel NGOs, Too — Like the New Israel Fund

By J.J. Goldberg

  • Print
  • Share Share

A little before midnight on Monday, July 5, the New York Times posted on its website its lengthy, deeply reported investigative piece on U.S. tax-exempt donations that go to fund settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and the right-wing American charities that channel those donations, including some that seemed in the Times piece to flirt with or outright violate IRS rules.

At 7:55 a.m. Eastern time, an action alert was e-mailed out by Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi of The Israel Project, the Washington-based non-profit that helps clarify Israel’s dilemmas to the world media, supposedly without taking sides in Israel’s internal politics. She complained that if the Times wants “to do a story on groups that use tax status to do work in Israel, they should show BOTH sides.” And she offered a list of “just SOME of the Anti-Israel groups that use the same tax status” but “were not mentioned in the NYT piece.” In a place of honor at the bottom of the list: the New Israel Fund.

I don’t recall Laszlo complaining when Maariv gave front page coverage to Im Tirtzu’s sliming of the New Israel Fund and other “anti-Israel” NGOs that they should have included Irving Moskowitz or the friends of Ateret Cohanim in order to give both sides.

In her memo Laszlo urged her network to contact “the expert on this topic,” Gerald Steinberg of the Israel-based NGO Monitor.

And sure enough, Gerald Steinberg put out a release at 10:28 a.m., reproducing Laszlo’s list of Anti-Israel NGOs but moving the New Israel Fund from the bottom of the list to a prominent place at the top.

Here’s Laszlo’s memo, followed by Steinberg’s release:

did you see NYT page 1, top of fold, 2 full pages inside? http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/06/world/middleeast/06settle.html?_r=1&hp (her formatting mistake, not mine - jjg)

As a close contact wrote to me about it this 4,900 word piece:

1. It is clearly geared to encourage Administration pressure on Israel and stricter application of IRS regulations and is timed during Obama-Netanyahu visit.

2.Its limited reference to pro-Palestinian tax exempt organization is lip-service. No mention of those Jewish/Israeli organizations who reap tax exemptions to attack Israel. We’ll need NGO Monitor’s response.

No one is saying that facts should not be shown by reporters. But if the story is groups that have tax exempt status that play on core Middle East issues, below are just SOME of the Anti-Israel groups that use the same tax status. However, they were not mentioned in the NYT piece:

• ICAHD-US
• Friends of Sabeel
• Middle East Children’s Alliance
• AJ Muste (gives to ISM)
• Open Society Institute
• Deir Yassin Remembered
• Grassroots.org
• Advocacy Project
• Rachel Corrie Foundation
• Birthright Unplugged
• WESPAC (also gives to Adalah NY)
• Groundspring.org (gives to Electronic Intifada)
• Center for Constitutional Rights
• Friends of Peace and Justice in the Middle East
• Vanguard Foundation (passthrough org)
• Palestinian Right to Return Coalition
• Jewish Voices for Peace
• Ford Foundation (funds many anti-Israel NGOs)
• New Israel Fund (funds many anti-Israel NGOs)

BTW - THE expert on this topic is Gerald Steinberg - contact steinberg@ngo-monitor.org

Bottom line – if they want to do a story on groups that use tax status to do work in Israel, they should show BOTH sides. No one is asking for special US tax status for pro-Israel educational or humanitarian groups. They should have the same fair treatment as others. Inserted below that message in Mizrahi’s e-mail message was the full text of the New York Times piece, in case any of her contacts doesn’t get the Times and might not be able to click a hyperlink.

Here’s Steinberg’s press release:

July 6, 2010

Half the News That’s Fit to Print

New York Times article ignores funding for anti-Israel groups

New York Times article: “Tax-Exempt Funds Aid Settlements in West Bank”

Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor commented: “The New York Times motto in this instance is ‘half the news that’s fit to print.’ There are as least as many organizations that use US tax-exempt status to demonize and wage political war against Israel. In addition, European governments provide tens of millions of dollars annually, and without transparency, to opposition groups in Israel, many of which are behind the Goldstone Report. All these factors should have been part of the Times investigation, and this report should not have been restricted to reflect a narrow and tendentious political position.”

Some of the relevant foundations and NGOs transferring funds to radical groups in Israel or with 501(c)(3) status are:

Ford Foundation
New Israel Fund
Open Society Institute

ICAHD-US
Friends of Sabeel
Middle East Children’s Alliance
AJ Muste
Deir Yassin Remembered
Grassroots.org
Advocacy Project
Rachel Corrie Foundation
Birthright Unplugged
WESPAC
Groundspring.org
Center for Constitutional Rights
Palestinian Right to Return Coalition
Jewish Voice for Peace


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: tax-exempt donations, settlements, The Israel Project, N.Y. Times, NGO-Monitor

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • Why did David Menachem Gordon join the IDF? In his own words: "The Israel Defense Forces is an army that fights for her nation’s survival and the absence of its warriors equals destruction from numerous regional foes. America is not quite under the threat of total annihilation… Simply put, I felt I was needed more in Israel than in the United States."
  • Leonard Fein's most enduring legacy may be his rejection of dualism: the idea that Jews must choose between assertiveness and compassion, between tribalism and universalism. Steven M. Cohen remembers a great Jewish progressive:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.