Sunday, April 11, 2010

KFAR SABA — Goldstone and the ever-growing ripples of dissent fighting are refusing to dissipate. This past week Isabel Kershner reported,

Sari Bashi, the director of Gisha, an advocacy group that focuses on freedom of movement for Palestinians, said her organization was harassed last year by the Israeli tax authorities. She said they questioned why Gisha should be tax exempt when that status was meant for organizations that promoted the public good. Eventually, she said, the authorities backed down.

Then an ultra-Zionist nongovernmental organization called Im Tirtzu...attacked a major organization, the New Israel Fund, which channeled about $29 million to Israeli groups in 2009, including some Arab-run, non-Zionist groups. The fund describes itself as pro-Israel and says it does not agree with all the positions of the groups it helps, but it supports their right to be heard.

Im Tirtzu published a report in January asserting that 92 percent of the quotes from unofficial Israeli bodies supporting claims against Israel in the Goldstone report were provided by 16 nongovernmental organizations financed by the New Israel Fund.

The New Israel Fund dismissed Im Tirtzu's findings as a fabrication, saying most of the references it cited had nothing to do with Gaza during the Israeli offensive.

Interestingly, Keshev put out a small report not mentioned by Kershner, although it easily debunks Im Tirtzu’s claims, without having to resort to the familiar he-said, he-said story: the group “analyzed the information sources of the Goldstone report based on references cited in the report, while ignoring many other sources ... including cabinet members, IDF generals, government institutions, and major Israeli media, Maariv included”—a right-wing tabloid. Further, as an example of the paucity of the claim that the New Israel Fund, which bankrolls Israel’s civil society organizations, created the Goldstone demon, “the B’Tselem [Israeli group that monitors human rights violations in the West Bank] materials to which the Goldstone report refers are actually debriefings that were previously submitted to the attorney general and the military advocate general, which were followed by Military Police investigations.” Keshev adds that Im Tirtzu’s “financial sources are kept secret from the public.”

In the same article, Kershner does not name a source, a figure in the current Netanyahu coalition government who “affirmed” that last year it was decided to aggressively go after Israeli watchdogs, that is named by Jpost reporter Herb Keinon: Ron Dermer, who helped influence Bush’s messianic view on foreign policy and is now a “right-hand man on policy” for Bibi, according to Didi Remez at the indispensable Coteret.

Tomorrow is Holocaust Memorial Day; today’s top headline in Haaretz reads, simply, “IDF order will enable mass deportation from West Bank” — a move which is “aimed at preventing infiltration,” defined radically broadly to mean “Palestinian residents of Jerusalem, citizens of countries with which Israel has friendly ties (such as the United States) and Israeli citizens, whether Arab or Jewish. ... The new guidelines are expected to clamp down on protests in the West Bank,” as part of the increasingly obvious war on dissent within Israel. Alas, it appears we have really learned nothing.

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