8 thoughts on “UNICEF Refuses Leviev Money, Foxman Accuses UN Group of Supporting Boycott – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Thank you for this, you bring together, effectively, the many points that cover the topic, especially your rebuttal of Foxman’s claims. I’m a member of Adalah. Now do I have to write David a thank you note as well ? Just kidding.

    The first photo (the two women) is BEAUTIFUL. The rest …mixed bag.

  2. I think your article is fair and to the point. I was in Bilin demonstration last July and was on the receiving end of hails of tear gas (with extra chemicals that cause an allergic reaction) and rubber coated steel bullets. A young guy near me got a bullet in the head and I suffered from hives for three weeks after the exposure to teh chemical canisters.

    The ADL is deceptive as usual. Let us not forget that this misnamed ADL engages not only in defamation but also engaged in spying activities. In the 1980s they were fined and promised to stop spyingon Arab and African Americans (those then engaged in work against Apartheid in South Africa). BTW, it would be good if someone could send out an action alert telling us where to write thank you notes to UNICEF.

  3. Thanks for posting this. Excellent detailed response to the ADL’s unfounded claims and hypocritical arguments. The time has definitely come for activists here to start placing real pressure on Israel to end its human rights violations against Palestinians. Creative campaigns such as the one being carried out against Lev Leviev bring to the forefront the effectiveness of Boycott as a strategy of raising awareness about the Israeli occupation and illegal practices against Palestinians.

  4. Why doesn’t the ADL say anything about the IAM’s boycott/campaign/persecution against Israeli adademics who are pro-peace? Or does the ADL’s Foxman not support these poorer-pursed academic Jewish philanthropists?

  5. Thanks, very solid article. For the ADL to implicitly criticize Adalah for it’s focus on Palestinian rights and welfare is a blatant case of the pot calling the kettle black. Even if Foxman were correct regarding the IIRO, the only way the ADL position would avoid blatant hypocrisy is if they were advocating that UNICEF should continue to accept donations from both that group and Leviev. I rather doubt that this is their point!

    Foxman has done tremendous damage to the ADL (and, more importantly, to the important fight against real anti-Jewish bigotry) by turning the organization into an uncritical apologist for the very worst Israeli policies and actions.

  6. Note that L. Brent Bozell’s CNSNews, which used to have as an editor the former campaign director for Pat Robertson, has quoted self-styled UN critic Hillel Neuer. He basically echoes Foxman, but goes further in explicitly defending Leviev, probably while knowing little about his settlements and what they do to the villages around them:

    But watchdog groups called the decision “political.”

    Hillel Neuer, director of the Geneva-based UN Watch, said the issue of settlements in the West Bank is a legitimate subject for debate under the Oslo Accords, but building houses in settlements should not disqualify someone from donating to UNICEF.

    Some people like to compare construction in settlements to genocide or murder, but that’s a false analogy, Neuer told Cybercast News Service by telephone. There are governments that are involved in mass murder and they contribute to the United Nations, he said.

    The U.N. considers the West Bank, where Palestinians hope to establish a future Palestinian state, to be “occupied” by Israel, which captured the territory from Jordan in the 1967 Six-Day War.

    According to the road map peace plan, which is backed by the U.N., Israel is obligated to stop all building in West Bank settlements. But Israel says it never agreed to stop what it calls “natural growth” in existing communities.

    Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon received a letter from President Bush three years ago, which Israel interprets to mean that the U.S. will back Israel’s position that it will hold on to large West Bank settlement blocs in a final agreement with the Palestinians.

    “It’s far from clear what standards are being applied here,” Neuer said, especially when one is talking about a respected philanthropist who gives to many good causes.

    Neuer wondered if the more than 200,000 Israelis who live in Jewish communities in the West Bank or Jews who own holiday homes in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem (which the international community does not recognize as part of Israel) should also be disqualified from making charitable contributions.

    “It’s part of a targeted political campaign against him [Leviev],” Neuer said.

    Neuer’s right, it is part of a targeted campaign against Leviev. Has he stopped expanding Zufim? No. So the campaign will continue.

    It’s false to claim the problem lies only in Leviev building “in settlements.” It’s the outward expansion of Zufim, the settlement built on land belonging to Jayyous, that is the biggest problem for that village. The army recently presented farmers in Jayyous with maps showing plans to build a 1,500 unit outpost of Zufim on what remains of their farmland, down the hill and to the north from the rest of Zufim and not in the least bit contiguous. Depending on which map (the army gave the farmers three of them), between 50-90% of the farmland which Jayyous uses to feed itself and the profits from which its parents can afford to send its kids to school, will be confiscated. The following is from a letter Jayyous wrote to UNICEF head Ann Veneman:


    As a result, our once-prosperous farming village of 3,400 hundred souls, which once provided food for 60,000 Palestinians, is now impoverished and dependent on external food aid. 57% of Jayyous’ families now depend on food aid from international and Palestinian organizations. An even greater number, 70% of families, are in great need of food aid, and this number is constantly increasing.

    Leviev’s settlement and Israel’s wall have impoverished our village to such a degree that 103 out of a total of 195 students in grades 7-12 were compelled to drop out of school. Many parents explain that they find it difficult or impossible to cover school expenses like tuition, clothes, and books. Our school’s headmaster appealed to Jayyous’ friends abroad, but the money raised was only sufficient to help 92 students. The rest had to leave school to look for work. Our students are no longer motivated to study hard, because their dreams of attending universities now seem impossible. In 2002, before Israel began construction on the wall, 180 high school graduates from Jayyous were enrolled in university studies. That number has now dropped to 50.

    We understand that Leviev contributes to fundraising events in France benefitting UNICEF programs to educate girls in Senegal. We ask why UNICEF, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of children worldwide, would accept Leviev’s support in educating Senegalese children while his companies are destroying the lives of Palestinian children in places like Jayyous?

  7. Richard, thank you for this important post!!! I think that boycott is an effective (and to be perfectly frank, morally justified) tactic to bring about change in Israel/Palestine. I think we can see how effective it is from watching Barack Obama’s remarks at the AIPAC conference in which he kissed up to the lobby by describing boycott and divestment campaigns as “bigoted.” The idea of being shunned makes these people quake in their boots and many will fall away from their ranks and into the peace and justice camp if we strategize it properly. It’s so exciting that UNICEF visited Jayyous and Bil’in. I hope more American Jews will experience these communities in the future as well.

  8. i have been to both bil’in and jayyous–i have seen the impact of settlement expansion on both communities. i applaud adalah for the work they are doing to expose the connection between leviev and settlement expansion–and i thank richard silverstein for exposing the innacuracy (and hypocrisy) of abraham foxman and the adl.

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