25 thoughts on “Houston Jewish Federation, Jewish Agency Fund Im Tirzu’s Assault on Israeli Universities – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. im a little confused

    are you saying that you are against the stifling of all academic freedom, which would include the bds movement towards israeli universities or just the that which attempts to stifle the academic freedom to teach anti zionism?

    and in this economy, why should anyone turn down someone’s money just because they may have some crazy ideas about world and religious history

    trust me…if hagee wanted to hand me a check tomorrow for 100k….that sucker is going right in the bank

    1. im a little confused

      You are more than just a “little” confused.

      are you saying that you are against the stifling of all academic freedom, which would include the bds movement towards israeli universities

      I never said I was in favor of the academic boycott. I never took a position on it & prob. won’t. But there is a qualitative diff. bet. Im Tirzu’s boycott & BDS’. BDS’ boycott is in favor of ending the Occupation which is a lethal condition threatening the destruction of both Israel & Palestine. It Tirzu’s boycott regards an imaginary anti-Zionist cabal in Israeli academe. No one has been killed by this supposed cabal.

      And who says anything about teaching “anti-Zionism?” The list of what Im Tirzu considers “anti-Zionist” is beyond pathetic. Mainstream Zionist authors who are critical of Zionism are included. It’s laughable. More like Fahrenheit 451 or a book burning enterprise than serious academic discourse.

      in this economy, why should anyone turn down someone’s money

      Because some of us have a little thing called moral principle & we don’t accept funding from anti-Semites unlike Im Tirzu, which appears to embrace them.

      if hagee wanted to hand me a check tomorrow for 100k….that sucker is going right in the bank

      Why am I not surprised?? And if you start a right wing cabal attacking so-called leftist institutions in Israel I’m sure you could get that $100K easily. B’hatzlacha.

  2. What is the difference between those who contribute to I’m Tirzu and those who contribute to the New Israeli Fund ? Your own agenda.
    Jewish American funds are funding both aisles of Israel politics. They have as much right to do so as you do.

    1. Do they have as much right? Since when there’s a right to fund illegal organizations? Im Tirzu is legal but the settlements are not, at least partly so.

      1. Does I’m Tirzu funds any settlements ? i was under the impression that they were funding a “non progressive” Zionist agenda through educational activities, very similar to the NIF.
        so finally someone is giving the NIF a taste of their own medicine using there own ways, and now you are complaining ?

        1. There’s more to this: from Im Tirzu’s website: “Im Tirtzu is a centrist extra-parliamentary movement..” Centrist? Some call them right wing radical under the guise of “moderate” and “centrist”. Who’s right? Let’s follow the money.

          The NIF is left-wing and so are their supporters, no question about it. Let’s extend this logic to Im Tirzu. Is John Hagee “moderate” or “centrist” ? Hardly unless you count views such as

          “those who live by the Qur’an have a scriptural mandate to kill Christians and Jews… it teaches that very clearly.”

          To be either moderate or centrist. So, I conclude that Im Tirzu tries to advance their radical views and policies by deceiving the public.

          1. The debate among the Zionist movement is as old as the zionist movement itself. they were always those who claimed to be “progressive” who don’t believe that Israel should exist as a Jewish supremacy state, they were always consider far left (they still do).

            There were always those who believed in the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish supremacy state they were and still are the center. They were always for negotiation with the other side and for a peaceful solution, when they had to, they fought and still do.

            There were those who believed that the Jewish supremacy state has the right to exist but no one else have, these were far right (and still are)

            there is nothing wrong with the fact that i’m tirzu aligned itself with main stream Zionism i understand that in your book there is only place for progressive Zionism, well this is called pluralism, and you would have to live with it i guess, otherwise there will be no place for a blog like the one we are both commenting on.

            I am no expert on Islam but based on what i know, a Muslim believer has the obligation to spread Islam outside of the House-of-Islam (house of peace) in order to get to create heaven on earth. Those who will not be willing to except Islam domination will be facing jihad. (that’s in Layman terms) Wikipedia would be a great place to start (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dar_al_Harb)

          2. there is nothing wrong with the fact that i’m tirzu aligned itself with main stream Zionism

            No, its claim that it is “mainstream” even in an Israeli context is an out & out lie. It is as far right as you can be in the Israeli political spectrum. For God’s sake, they just sent the police to my friend, Yossi Gurvitz’s home accusing him of incitment to murder because he wrote in his blog that he wanted to “get to the meat of the matter” regarding I.T. These people are lunatics. Very serious, very dangerous but still lunatics.

            I am no expert on Islam but based on what i know

            You have spoken truthfully. YOu’re not only not an expert, you’re not even a beginner. You’re quoting statements about Islam that are either not normative or highly selective & taken out of context. Wikipedia is not a great place to start in learning about Islam. There are real reference books which some readers can I’m sure refer you to. I’d highly advise that you actually read a book written by an academic expert on the subject before giving us gross generalizations about what you believe Islam to be.

          3. @ Richard,
            Genuk mit the bobkes,

            you who are located 12,000 away, want to tell me who lives here, who’s considered left, and who’s considered main stream in MY country. a bit arrogant one would say.

            here you go being sensational again with you childish accusations that I.T. sent the police to your friends home. I.T. can’t send anyone anywhere all they can do is file a complaint with the police department, and please do not be a hypocrite look up comment 11 in your comment rules which states “Any comments or private e mail remotely resembling a physical threat will be reported to my local police department”. I’m sure that since this is what you preach for, and this is your policy I’m sure you will you actually support their actions, don’t you?

            as for my knowledge of Islam, as stated nit an expert but an avid reader. some of the books i read where:
            In the Footsteps of the Prophet: Lessons from the Life of Muhammad.
            The Story of the Qur’an: Its History and Place in Muslim Life.
            A History of the Muslim World to 1405: The Making of a Civilization.

            and many others. of course i do not expect you to come to the same conclusions i did, however it will not make you a liar, maybe a bit confused at best.

          4. who’s considered left

            Considered by whom? By you? I have no doubt you consider yrself a good liberal Zionist. But that makes you LEP (liberal except Palestine). Your views are enlightened except when it comes to the biggest, deepest, thorniest & most complicated issue facing Israel: how to approach its Palestinian minority & preserve democracy. On that issue, which is a critical one for Israel, it turns out you’re not so left.

            I.T. can’t send anyone anywhere all they can do is file a complaint with the police department

            Two problems: one is that the idiots in Im Tirzu deliberately misconstrued Gurvitz’s comment to be incitement to murder which is laughbly ludicrous. The 2nd is that the police took the complain seriously enough to investigate.

            Let me tell you something: when I report a death threat to the FBI–& I have more than once–the idiot who threatened me literally talked about wanting me dead. I don’t even report people who warn me that they’re going to genitally mutilate me as I know the FBI won’t do anything about that. I know what a real death threat is. And what Im Tirzu did is chicken shit. Total chicken shit.

          5. @ Richard
            where do we start, do you know what my standings are with respect to solving the PA issue, i don’t think so unless you are a mind reader.

            most of the people in the ISrael support a two state solution with land swaps. that is consider being the main stream Zionism in today term. the minority which you belong to, preaches for something else, and that will never happen.

            as for your little soliloquy that you know the difference between shit and shinola, it may be true and I will not argue with that for one sec. but then wouldn’t you say that the person behind this post: (https://www.richardsilverstein.com/2010/08/03/rotter-members-death-threat/) is a sensationalist? Or did you really fear for your life ?

          6. most of the people in the ISrael support a two state solution with land swaps. that is consider being the main stream Zionism in today term.

            I don’t know what “land swaps” means. But unless it means a return to 67 borders with land swaps, that is totally irrelevant. It doesn’t matter what most Israelis say they support because they’re not willing to do anything to achieve the goal they claim to support. Very few Israelis are willing right now to withdraw to 67 borders. Until they are what they say they support is meaningless. Get back to me when your fellow countrymen & their so-called leaders are actually willing to do something to achieve a 2 state solution.

            You dare to tell me whether I have a right to fear for my life when someone threatens it? Do you know how many times my life has been threatened? Do you know how many times I’ve been threatened with genital mutilation & homosexual rape? Until you do, you might want to back off the charge that I’m a sensationalist. Oh & 1 more thing: I’m not prepared to parse death threats as to which ones are legitimate & which ones are blowin’ smoke. To me a death threat is a death threat. If you have special expertise in this field I’ll pass along the next one to you for you to tell me what you think.

          7. There it is, it doesn’t matter what most people in Israel think,as we (americans) have all the smarts in the world and you guys are bunch of ignorant savages. so please Richard pack you things move to Israel, put your life in danger and show us the way. it’s very easy to speak from 12,000 miles away.

            as for your fears, you have every right to fear if you so choose, all I’m saying is that your claim that that specific rotter post was a death threat is as ridiculous as the complaint Im Tirzu filed against your friend. but i think that you guys (all the blogger associated with the NIF) lost the right to complaint. you are the ones who set the standard.

            and isn’t it funny that the NIF tries to control the massage on people blog and its actually a concentrated effort and not the free spirit of people that makes them right blogs ?
            seems like Pravda is getting new blood.

        2. The Calcalist articles I linked in yr own native lang. which I presume you understand point out that I.T.’s activities are anything but “educational.” They are partisan & highly political & extremely right wing. I.T. as an organization of course supports a pro settler agenda though I don’t think it’s part of their mission to support particular settlements. THough Hagee does that in spades.

          1. Since my Hebrew is much better then yours.
            i have to tell you that i do not see the article the same way you do. Sending a letter to the president of BG university doesn’t consider educational in your eyes ?

          2. I wouldn’t say it’s “much better” than mine. You have no idea of the quality & level of my knowledge of Hebrew. Just better.

            You think that Im Tirzu merely “sent a ltr. to Carmi??” It so happens that the ltr. threatens her with punishment if she doesn’t totally reform her political science syllabus & depose the leadership of the dept. within 30 days. Is that “educational?” Since when is extortion “educational?” Maybe that term has a diff. connotation in Hebrew…

    2. Well, here’s a few key differences.

      NIF is completely transparent, as are our grantees. No-one has to dig for how or from whom we raise our money or to whom it is distributed, it’s all publicly available information on our website and/or our Annual Reports.

      In the last three days, we’ve discovered an unusual pass-through of money to Im Tirtzu through the non-political Jewish Agency, and another extreme right-group, the “Forum for the Land of Israel,” admitting it is not paying for the enormous PR and advertising campaign against NIF on the gas royalties issue, a campaign that has backfired badly but is still mysterious in its funding.

      For that matter, no-one knows where NGO Monitor gets its funding, or who is on its board of directors, either, and apparently their funding comes through a tax-exempt American route for “education” as well.

      We’re upfront about our progressive values and agenda, public about our goals and transparent in our funding. Yet the Knesset continues to pursue its witchhunt of progressive groups while utterly ignoring both the funding sources and the real delegitimization of Israel — as a democracy — that is increasingly effected by the right-wing settler, ultra-nationalist and ultra-Orthodox groups.

      I’m sure that many supporters of Federation and the Jewish Agency are going to be surprised and dismayed where this money is going, not only in now-debunked campaigns against NIF and civil society, but against academic independence and freedom.

      1. I wouldn’t have much faith in the Education Minister, but
        this last episode overall may be a good one for the good guys:

        That said, this info on the latest about the ways of the oligarchs is depressing but not that surprising — it needs
        to be known, and serves as one more reason for support
        of NIF rather than Federation/Jewish Agency structure for meeting civil society needs in Israel.

    3. The NIF supports Israeli democracy & I.T. supports democracy only for the far right. NIF sees Arabs citizens as part of Israel & I.T. sees them as the enemy. NIF supports a non violent approach to resolving both internal & external issues involving Israel. I.T. does not. NIF doesn’t believe in brutalism & intimidation in pursuit of its mission. I.T. does. NIF doesn’t take money fr. anti-Semites. I.T. does. Enough differences for you?

      1. @ Richard

        NIF doesn’t know who’s money they are taking
        look at their website (http://www.nif.org/about/financial-information/2008-donors.html)
        4 anonymous donors donated over $100,000
        4 Anonymous Donor donated between 50K – 99K
        8 Anonymous Donors donated between 25K – 49K
        16 Anonymous Donors donated between 10K – 24K
        20 Anonymous Donors donated between 5K – 9.9K
        16 Anonymous Donors donated between 2.5K – 4.9K
        45 Anonymous Donors donated between 1K – 2.49K

        and that is in the US alone, so who are these anonymous donors ? how much they donated ? who’s agenda the NIF promotes ?
        under these conditions i rather take a christian money, any given Sunday.

        1. As is the case with many non-profits, some donors don’t want to be identified to the public for various non-nefarious reasons — but they are known to the charity or other organization, as here to NIF.

        2. You don’t understand how American philanthropy works. First, out of 37 donors in the highest level donor group only 4 were anonymous (less than 10%). And these were anonymous only for the purpose of publicity. I’m certain that if you looked at the IRS 990 report you’d find those 4 donors listed by name as donors must be reported to the government.

          Who do you think the anonymous donors are? Saudi princes? An Iranian mullah? A neo-Nazi? John Hagee? Richard Silverstein? I’ve got news for you, I’ve known, volunteered for, & donated to NIF since it first began 20 yrs ago or more. I know NIF far better than you. And it is a group entirely dedicated to Israel–to making it a better country for all its citizens, even ones you don’t particularly like or trust. And it will go on doing this & doing it intensively no matter what you or Im Tirzu or Bibi Netanyahu think. And Israel will be the better for it. The day that NIF ceases its work either voluntarily or involuntarily is the day I say Kaddish for the State.

          John Hagee is not “Christian” money. It is anti-Semitic money. So if you embrace him & his tainted money you’ll get up with the fleas you deserve.

  3. Haggai Ram wrote “Iranophobia: The Logic of an Israeli Obsession,” in part as a response to his experience as a “young … faculty member at the newly established Department of Middle East Studies in Ben Gurion University” who had just written an article suggesting that “the Israeli government, academia, and media were disseminating distorted images of Iran that were informed by the state’s security and ethnocentric concerns.” The article provoked a “devastating backlash” including threats to his continued employment.

  4. Yuval – my point was not to analyze different Zionist views but to point out that although Im Tirzu calls itself centrist, it really is right wing (by your definition!), as evident by sources of money.

    As for Dar al Harb, I wouldn’t attempt to generalize for entire Muslim populations like John Hagee does and that’s precisely the problem of him being a racist bigot. While I’m sure some Muslims take it literally, I’m sure most don’t. Pretty much like most Jews today don’t consider women to be man’s property despite the fact that the Torah states so explicitly. There’s 12 million Jews with many views and opinions on Judaism and over a billion Muslims. Do you think it’s likely most of them take Dar al Harb literally?

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