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Hebrew University

Hebrew University - Amiram Goldblum's (Dept of Pharmaceutical Sciences) "Apartheid Smear" Campaign exposed by Prof. Gerald Steinberg

Demands a public apology from Goldblum for his role in slandering the Israeli Society

The pseudo-poll is another form of attack in this political war to demonize Israel. Responsibility for the attack, beyond Haaretz, lies with Amiram Goldblum, a founder of Peace Now, who runs the Yisraela Goldblum Fund (named after his late wife), which paid for costs, under the wider framework of the non-profit group known as "Signing Anew." This funding, in turn, was provided by the New Israel Fund, and Goldblum is a member of NIF's International Council.

In addition, according to Goldblum's press release, the "questions" used in this transparent political stunt were formulated by individuals closely connected to the NIF, the Durban Strategy and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign. Attorney Michael Sfard is legal counsel for a number of Israeli politicized civil society groups involved in this immoral campaign, and Alon Liel (married to NIF's Executive Director in Israel, Rachel Liel) has expressed his support for so-called "targeted" boycotts in the Guardian and in the South African media. Mordechai Bar-On and Ilan Baruch are also members of the NIF's International Council.

Everyone connected with this travesty shares responsibility for the immense political damage that has been caused. Goldblum, in particular, owes the Israeli public an apology. And just as the NIF takes credit when its grantees impact positively on Israel, so too, must they take responsibility when its grantees like this do serious damage.

 

 

http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=2794

The apartheid pseudo-poll

Gerald M. Steinberg
November 1, 2012

The pseudo-poll and headline published by Haaretz on Oct. 23 is now generally acknowledged as a major mistake. The poll's manipulative methodology and shallow questions have been dissected in newspaper columns and talk shows across the Israeli spectrum. Haaretz was forced to publish a correction, which was largely hidden, and Haaretz columnist Gideon Levy wrote a minimal retraction.

However, a great deal of damage has been done outside Israel, where this farce was used to further the campaign of anti-Israel political warfare and demonization. The British Guardian and Independent, the Canadian Globe and Mail and Australia's Sydney Morning Herald ran the story accompanied by headlines as misleading as the headline on the original Haaretz piece: "Many Israelis support apartheid-style state, poll suggests," and "The new Israeli apartheid."

The poll that generated such attention was flawed in many dimensions. In Maariv, Ben-Dror Yemini details many of the false claims and absurd statements it contains. And in Haaretz, former Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Dr. Yehuda Ben-Meir emphasized that the actual conclusion to be drawn from the poll results was "exactly the opposite of what's written in the article's headline" and that the majority of Israelis were "unwilling to live in a country with an apartheid regime." As a "push" poll used for crude political manipulation, and involving only 503 people, this survey was driven by clear political objectives.

These activities are an integral part of an ongoing campaign that began in the NGO Forum of the U.N.'s 2001 World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa. The crudely anti-Semitic event was described by the late Congressman Tom Lantos as "an anti-American and anti-Israel circus." In alliance with the Arab League and Iran, 5,000 officials from 1,500 "civil society organizations" that use the banner of human rights, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, adopted a declaration accusing Israel of "apartheid and ethnic cleansing" and adopted a strategy of "complete and total isolation of Israel as an apartheid state... the imposition of mandatory and comprehensive sanctions and embargoes, the full cessation of all links." It is in this context that the poll, the headlines that followed (based on an equally misleading press release) and those responsible for it must be understood.

The pseudo-poll is another form of attack in this political war to demonize Israel. Responsibility for the attack, beyond Haaretz, lies with Amiram Goldblum, a founder of Peace Now, who runs the Yisraela Goldblum Fund (named after his late wife), which paid for costs, under the wider framework of the non-profit group known as "Signing Anew." This funding, in turn, was provided by the New Israel Fund, and Goldblum is a member of NIF's International Council.

In addition, according to Goldblum's press release, the "questions" used in this transparent political stunt were formulated by individuals closely connected to the NIF, the Durban Strategy and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign. Attorney Michael Sfard is legal counsel for a number of Israeli politicized civil society groups involved in this immoral campaign, and Alon Liel (married to NIF's Executive Director in Israel, Rachel Liel) has expressed his support for so-called "targeted" boycotts in the Guardian and in the South African media. Mordechai Bar-On and Ilan Baruch are also members of the NIF's International Council.

Everyone connected with this travesty shares responsibility for the immense political damage that has been caused. Goldblum, in particular, owes the Israeli public an apology. And just as the NIF takes credit when its grantees impact positively on Israel, so too, must they take responsibility when its grantees like this do serious damage.

Gerald M. Steinberg is president of Jerusalem-based research institution NGO Monitor and is professor of political science at Bar-Ilan University.

 

http://www.ngo-monitor.org/article/questions_remain_for_the_new_israel_fund_on_the_signing_anew_haaretz_apartheid_poll

Questions Remain for the New Israel Fund on the Signing Anew/Haaretz "apartheid" poll

NGO Monitor
October 25, 2012

On October 23, 2012, Haaretz published a highly distorted article based on of a poll of 503 people under the headline, "Survey: Most Israeli Jews would support apartheid regime in Israel." The very problematic "push" (manipulative) poll, provided as the basis for the article written by Gideon Levy, received a great deal of attention, and the analysis was copied immediately by The Guardian, the Jewish Chronicle (later removed from the website), and other media platforms, including those involved in anti-Israel demonization and BDS. In contrast, critical comments highlighted the faulty methodology used in the poll, the blatantly manipulative nature of the questions, and Gideon Levy's selective interpretations.

In this context, the role of the New Israel Fund (NIF) became a significant issue. The original English version in Haaretz stated, "The survey was commissioned by the New Israel Fund's Yisraela Goldblum Fund." [1] (Mention of the NIF was removed in a revised version.) The Hebrew version made no mention of the NIF; instead, the text noted that the Israela Goldblum Fund was "established in 2007 as part of the framework of the non-profit 'Signing Anew'."

Recognizing the controversy and criticism, NIF-Israel quickly distanced itself from Levy's article and the poll, posting a statement claiming that "'Signing Anew' is an independent organization…not affiliated with the NIF…NIF clarifies that it was not behind the survey published this morning in Haaretz, and that it is not connected to it in any way." In addition, NIF's Deputy Communication Director Noam Shelef penned an op-ed on the Open Zion blog (That Poll's Apartheid Problem, October 23, 2012), calling Levy's column a "misrepresentation of the data."

However, as the evidence shows, the relationship between NIF, Signing Anew, and this controversy is more complex than acknowledged in the statement, and adds to the questions that have been raised regarding NIF's decision making and due diligence in awarding grants and supervising the activities of politicized grantees. In particular, NGO Monitor notes that:

1) NIF was the initiator of and continues to fund "Signing Anew" (an Israeli political NGO), including authorizing grants in the amount of $100,000 in 2011, $300,343 in 2010, and $465,282 in 2009.

Until 2010, Signing Anew was included on NIF's Financial Statements with the notation that "NIF and Signing Anew have related Board members and staff such that NIF has oversight of Signing Anew." In NIF's 2010 Financial Statement, Signing Anew (although listed as a grantee) was not included in the balance, which stated "At December 31, 2010, NIF did not have oversight and did not combine the activities from Signing Anew."

2) Shared employees/board members. In 2010, four members of Signing Anew's board and staff were also affiliated with NIF. These individuals are Elah Alkalay, the Chair of Signing Anew's Board of Directors and a Board Member at NIF; Maya Shraga-Albalak, Treasurer (and authorized signatory) of Signing Anew and CFO Israel for NIF; Susan Bougess-Sawicki, Board Member (and authorized signatory) of Signing Anew and Director of International Relations in Israel for NIF; and Ellen Goldberg, a Board Member of Signing Anew and former Executive Director of NIF-UK. (Information on 2011 was not found on relevant websites, including Signing Anew. According to NIF correspondence with NGO Monitor, three of the four are no longer affiliated with both NIF and Signing Anew, and the fourth "will soon be vacating" her position on the Signing Anew board.)

In addition, Amiram Goldblum, founder of the Israela Goldblum Fund which paid for the poll, is a member of NIF's International Council.

3) NIF's "peace and civil rights activists" formulated the questions. The questions used in this poll were formulated by individuals closely connected to NIF and its grantees. One, Michael Sfard, is legal counsel for a number of NIF grantees, including Yesh Din, Breaking the Silence, Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement, and Human Rights Defenders Fund. Another, Alon Liel (a former Israeli MFA official and ambassador to South Africa) is married to NIF's Executive Director in Israel, Rachel Liel. Mordechai Bar-On and Ilan Baruch, who are also named as involved in constructing the poll language, are also members of NIF's International Council.

NIF: Failure in due diligence highlights the need for transparency and reform

While NIF claims to have no responsibility for these events, as the funder and initiator of the NGO "Signing Anew," with close overlap among personnel, this claim is misleading. The statement issued by NIF disavowing any involvement is inadequate and should be followed by full disclosure and an independent inquiry, in accordance with professional practice. Just as NIF takes credit when its grantees impact positively on Israel, so too, NIF must take responsibility when its grantees do serious damage.

As documented by NGO Monitor, in the cases of other NIF grantees (past and current) involved in demonization and the Durban Strategy (CWP, Mada al-Carmel, ICAHD, +972, Breaking the Silence, etc.), this example highlights the need for a complete review of NIF grant-making, far greater transparency -- including on the part of grantees -- and other fundamental changes in the organization.

Endnotes:

[1] The Yisraela Goldblum Fund is named after the late NIF vice-president and co-founder of Peace Now.

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