Didi Remez brings word today that the Israeli far-right nationalist group Im Tirtzu, which began a scurrilous campaign against Israeli NGO support for the Goldstone Report, receives major funding ($100,000) from Chrisitian Zionist John Hagee’s Christians United for Israel. Didi translates an article by Danit Gottfried (Hebrew) from Walla, the popular Israeli internet news portal, which notes:
…An investigation by Walla! found that some of the funding for Im Tirtzu itself comes from parties that are not regarded with fondness or agreement by the Jewish public. Donors to the movement include the Christian American lobby CUFI – Christians United for Israel, headed by evangelist preacher John Hagee. The organization’s website specifies the sum it gave Im Tirtzu — $100,000.Hagee was in the headlines in 2008 during the US presidential campaign, when a recording circulated in which he claimed that “Hitler was fulfilling God’s will, to return the Jews to the land of Israel according to the biblical prophecy.” Right after the radical comment, Republican presidential contender John McCain had to repudiate Hagee’s public support. Additionally, in his book “Who Is a Jew?” Hagee claims that “Hitler was half Jewish, from the descendents of Esau,” and that “the Holocaust happened because the Jews rebelled and denied the real God.” He claimed that “Jewish rebelliousness is the reason for the anti-Semitism and persecution they suffered over the years.”
About the economic crisis that hit the US and the world in 2008, Hagee said that “the U.S. Federal Reserve is under the control of a few shareholders, including the Jewish Rothschild family.” He added that “the Rothschild family is part of an extensive economic conspiracy by strong shareholders who reside in Europe.” Hagee is considered a controversial and extreme figure among the Jewish communities in America, after he called the Reform Jews “poisoned” and “spiritually blind.”
Didi also informs me that American Jewish tax-deductible support for Im Tirzu comes via the Central Fund for Israel, one of the largest of the U.S. charitable funds supporting extremist settler groups and the Israeli far right nationalist community. Yet another example of why the IRS must review these groups’ non-profit status for their attempts to criminalize the legitimate role of Israeli human rights NGOs within Israeli democracy.
Folks, I know we thought the Bush regime launched an all assault on civil liberties over the past eight years, but think of it: they never threatened to criminalize the activities of the ACLU. They never attempted to bankrupt it or put it out of business. That’s what the Shin Bet, Israeli government and Im Tirzu would do if they had their druthers. Bush-Cheney didn’t send right-wing hooligans to demonstrate outside the private home of the ACLU’s national board chairman. They didn’t publish ads with the board chair’s image and a claim that he or she is a traitor to this country.
A few months ago, a distinguished Hebrew University professor opened his apartment door to a bomb blast that could have killed him. The bomb was planted by Jack Teitel, according to Israeli authorities. If Teitel could, from his prison cell, he’d give a thumbs up to those who are maligning Naomi Hazan and NIF. Who knows, the next Jack Teitel may be lurking in the crowd outside her home.
The alliance between anti-Semite Hagee and anti-democracy Im Tirtzu is an unholy one. Let’s not let them live it down.
An earlier part of the Israeli far rights anti-NGO campaign involved an attack on EU funding sources for some of the human rights groups. Anti-democratic thugs like Avigdor Lieberman bellowed about foreigners interfering in Israel’s sovereign internal affairs. The clear notion was that pro-democratic NGOs were a foreign graft on the Israeli root stock and further that they were anti-democratic because they opposed the policy of a democratically elected Israeli government. If Lieberman has the right to make such odious complaints about foreign funding, then we have even more right to question why Im Tirzu accepts anti-Semitic blood money from John Hagee.
More on Ben Caspit, the sleazy Maariv journalist who’s served as the conduit for these attacks on NIF:
Caspit called Goldstone “a despicable liar who stood at the head of a lethal and well greased anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic propaganda machine.” When Caspit was asked by Walla! News whether he knew about Hagee’s contribution to Im Tirtzu, he replied that he [refuses interviews with] Walla!
Im Tirzu deflected criticism of its acceptance of funding from CUFI with a counterattack of its own:
“Our movement is supported by Zionists who hold Israel as a Jewish state dear, including CUFI…
Another question that will also be answered soon is who finances it and what are the interests behind their donations, and we need to say no more.”
Well, I’m going to make a gift right now to NIF and I urge you to do so too. Let ’em question my credentials as a Jew and supporter of Israel (not THEIR Israel). Even if you don’t necessarily agree with my views on this particular issue, I hope you’ll understand that this is an all-out assault on free speech and democratic values and must be answered with the full weight of our outrage and support for Israeli democracy. By the way, this is precisely the kind of attack that the neocon Jewish right launched against J Street when the former cried that the group was accepting funding from notorious Arabs and other enemies of the state of Israel. It didn’t work against J Street here and it won’t work against NIF there.
Just as on Hanukah we say “a great miracle happened there,” let’s remind the right wing Jewish demagogues that we have the miracle of democracy in the American Jewish community (here) and in Israel (there) and we won’t let the merchants of hate destroy either one.
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