The New Israel Fund is angry. It thinks that it is OK to cooperate with the Goldstone commission, even though it was formed by an automatic majority of the benighted countries that control the U.N. Human Rights Council. The NIF thinks it is OK for Israel to cooperate with the commission, even though there is no country in the free world that supported its formation. It thinks it is OK to disseminate unsubstantial accusations against Israel. It thinks it is OK to take part in the demonization campaign being staged by certain NGOs. And it is absolutely legitimate, in a democratic country, to do all these things.
But there is something else that is also legitimate: To reveal the truth about the fund and the groups that falsely claim to be “human rights” organizations. If some of the political organizations supported by the fund do not recognize the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish and democratic state, don’t cry human rights.
Tell the truth: the denial of rights is to Jews only. The Palestinians have a right to a state of their own, as do the Croats, the Hungarians, the Czechs, the Slovaks and other nations — but not the Jews.
The New Israel Fund supports, for example, the Zochrot organization. (Editor’s note: The New Israel Fund does not support the Zochrot organization.) This is a nonprofit organization that openly strives to destroy Israel by means of the “right of return” for Palestinian refugees. Not that there is any such right, and not that there ever was another precedent for a mass “return” after a population swap in the wake of war — but this does not bother the New Israel Fund. It will always jump in under the slogan of “human rights.”
All this doesn’t mean Israel is exempt from criticism. After all, out of the hundreds of allegations, there are a few of substance. But if many sane people loathe the human rights organizations, it’s not because they loathe human rights. Just the opposite. It’s because the sane majority is fed up with “human rights” becoming the weapon of unenlightened forces.
There are a million and one offenses to human lives and human rights in the world. Israel, as a state in conflict, offends less than all others. This has been checked. This is backed up in numbers. Yet Israel is the one taking the brunt of the criticism. This is called demonization, delegitimization and obsession. This is not defense of human rights, but rather an orchestrated campaign in the service of Iran and Hamas.
How is it that many, mainly Jews, support the New Israel Fund? How is it that they enable this systematic campaign that pretends to be humane? They are not anti-Semites. They are people with good intentions. After all, the rhetoric is about human rights and minorities. Jews are sensitive to that. And it’s good that they are. Most of them simply don’t know. Most of them sincerely and truly want for Israel to be more enlightened and advanced, while being stricter about human lives and human rights.
But they do not know that some of the money goes to other goals.
Professor Naomi Chazan, who heads the NIF, is not a hater of Israel. But what happened to the fund is exactly what has happened to innumerable organizations that deal with the “discourse of rights.”
Human rights organizations can earn back our trust. They must genuinely support human rights, not organizations that work to deny Israel’s right to exist.
Ben-Dror Yemini is an Israeli journalist and a regular columnist at Maariv, where an earlier version of this article originally appeared.