New Israel Fund Is No Friend of Israel

Three Leading Jewish-American Communications Professionals Speak Out

by Hank Sheinkopf, Ronn Torossian and George Birnbaum

As President Harry Truman said, "I never did give anybody hell. I just told the truth and they thought it was hell."
Recently, many have stood up and told the truth about New Israel Fund’s support for the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, their actions to harm Israel Defense Forces personnel, and cooperation with the United Nation’s Anti-Israel activities.  In response, NIF supporters and friends of NIF donors have unleashed hell upon those of us who have told the truth about the dangers of this organization.
What they have not done is address the issues which are serious and real.  We applaud Birthright Israel who has banned The New Israel Fund from partnering with them, and urge others to follow suit.
The masses of Jews – on the left and right – shun those extremist Jews who sympathize with Israel’s enemies, whom represent a tiny portion of world Jewry – but are given an oversized prominence in the media – and unfortunately amongst Jewish leadership. We are outraged about the cancer called the New Israel Fund, as they must be rooted out of the realm of acceptability.
While we welcome political debate, there are limits.  Shouting “fire in a crowded theatre” is not acceptable, so too must boycotts of Israel be deemed unacceptable for any friends of Israel.
Kenneth Levin, a Harvard psychiatrist has noted that Jewish self-hatred is in part a result of Stockholm syndrome, where “population segments under chronic siege commonly embrace the indictments of their besiegers however bigoted and outrageous.” The Deputy Speaker of the Knesset 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.”
While Jane Eisner of The Forward defends her friends, she cannot ignore the fact that these viewpoints are as mainstream in Israel as Lyndon Larouche is in the United States. Your defense of your friends does not address those who have no decency, encourage boycotts against the Jewish state, and harm the Jewish Army.
As Naftali Bennett said, “Yes, New Israel Fund, I will boycott whoever persecutes Israeli soldiers. I will not apologize for it. Members of the New Israel Fund, listen carefully: Whoever harms, slanders and persecutes Israeli soldiers are not my brothers. The NIF works methodically and consistently to attack our Israeli soldiers, accuse them of war crimes of torturing Palestinians and intentionally attacking women and children. They turn to the UN and to the committees that are most hostile to Israel and try their best to convince them that Israel is a war criminal. I repeat: They say that our soldiers- you, I, your friends and your families, your children and their friends – that we are all war criminals. The New Israel Fund invests large amounts of money through its organizations with one purpose- to harm IDF soldiers who are physically protecting us with their bodies.”
As PM Benjamin Netanyahu said: “Everyone should know what the letters B-D-S really stand for: bigotry, dishonesty, and shame. And those who oppose BDS, like Scarlett Johansson, they should be applauded.”
Harvard Professor Ruth Wisse has said “the rapid demoralization of Jews in the face of anti-Zionism… shows the depth of the influence of the past, for many have yet to achieve the simple self-respect that has been eluding the Jews collectively since the dawn of modernity.”
While each of us earns our livings in the field of communications, we welcome debate and discussion – but we do not welcome hatred of the Jewish State.  No matter how difficult it is, all self-respecting Jews must renounce the New Israel Fund.
They may be nice people, they may do good things on other fronts – but those who support the New Israel Fund stand against the Jewish people.
Hank Sheinkopf is CEO of Sheinkopf Communications and a leading Democratic strategist. His clients have included former President Bill Clinton, former NY Mayor Bloomberg and others.
Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, one of the 20 largest independent American PR firms.
George Birnbaum is an international political consultant, who is partners with Arthur Finkelstein. Birnbaum formerly served as chief of staff for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.