The New Israel Fund Leaves the BDS Swamp

By Jeffrey Goldberg

The New Israel Fund, the group that funds civil liberties organizations and other progressive causes in Israel, is taking a clearer stand against the so-called Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement. Daniel Sokatch, who runs the Fund, e-mailed Goldblog the new policy:

The NIF opposes the global BDS movement, views the use of these tactics as ineffective and counterproductive and is concerned that segments of this movement seek to undermine the existence of the state of Israel.

NIF will not fund global BDS activities against Israel nor support organizations that have global BDS programs.

I'm sure alert readers will find holes in this statement -- I've find a little tear, which I will mention below -- but this does seem like an improvement over the group's previous policy, which had elements of squish in it. Because I'm running a campaign on this blog against the cheap deployment of Nazi imagery in argument-making, I am going to resist the urge to point out that the European-centered campaign to launch an economic boycott of the world's only majority-Jewish country smacks of something historically unpleasant, except now I didn't resist the urge. But I do actually think it's a fair analogy, and the BDS movement, like no other anti-Israel propaganda campaign, has sent chills down the collective Jewish spine precisely because economic boycotts have been, throughout history, used to hurt Jews. This is why I was slightly taken aback by Sokatch's statemen that, "segments of this movement seek to undermine the existence of the state of Israel." I would say that undermining the existence of the state of Israel is this movement's raison d'etre.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2010/12/the-new-israel-fund-leaves-the-bds-swamp/68081/