Yitzhak Benhorin
April 21, 2010 - 12:00am

Donations to the New Israel Fund (NIF) have increased by 35% since Zionist student group Im Tirtzu launching a campaign accusing the fund of direct responsibility for the UN’s Goldstone Report on the IDF’s offensive in Gaza in the winter of 2008-2009..

Im Tirtzu published a report according to which 92 percent of the Goldstone document’s allegations criticizing the IDF’s conduct came from 16 Israeli NGOs that received some $7.8 million from the NIF in 2008-2009 alone.

Im Tirtzu also claimed NIF President Naomi Chazan supported arresting or taking legal action against senior IDF officers during their visits abroad.

According to NIF data published on Tuesday, the first few months of 2010 saw a 35% spike in donations compared with the same period last year. The fund raised $26 million in 2009.

NIF Chief Executive Officer Daniel Sokatch told Ynet, "The attacks on the fund not only encourage our core backers, they also attract new supporters who had never heard of us before. The attacks have increased awareness to our activity.

"Our organization is pro-Israeli and establishes democratic institutions that are (based on the principles) of the American Declaration of Independence," he said, "No one likes to be attacked, especially when the attacks are unfounded. We feel as though we are in line with most of America's Jews regarding their attitude towards Israel."

According to Sokatch, more than 10,000 people have signed a petition calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to publicly defend NIF. "Tens of thousands of Jews who love Israel have come under attack there. The fact is that America's Jews have never spoken in one voice. We support Israel as a Jewish state, but as one that is open to all its citizens," he said.

NIF is committed to "democratic change within Israel" and believes Israel "can live up to its founders' vision of a state that ensures complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants, without regard to religion, race or gender."

The Im Tirtzu campaign led to a 500% increase in the number of fans of NIF's Facebook page, and the page's entries have doubled.


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