Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the radical New Israel Fund (NIF) of working through European states to persuade Rwanda to refuse a deal whereby the African nation would take in illegal African migrants deported from Israel.
Taking to Facebook, Netanyahu on Tuesday wrote in Hebrew that “The Fund endangers the security and future of the State of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people.”
Netanyahu asserted the NIF “receives funding from foreign governments and elements hostile to Israel, such as George Soros’ funds.”
He wrote the NIF seeks to eradicate Israel’s Jewish character. “The primary aim of the NIF is to erase the Jewish nature of Israel and to turn it into a state of all its citizens next to a Palestinian state without any Jews on the 1967 border with its capital as Jerusalem.”
“For decades, the Fund contributes to anti-Zionist, pro-Palestinian organizations, including ones that slander IDF soldiers, such as Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem, and those fighting for Palestinian terrorists, such as Adalah,” Netanyahu wrote.
“I don’t know any Western democracy, and particularly not the United States, that would’ve been willing to tolerate for long such hostile activity funded by foreign countries, as has been the case here in Israel with the Fund for decades,” Netanyahu added.
He called on the Knesset to establish a committee to investigate the NIF.
The NIF’s CEO, Daniel Sokatch, responded on Facebook, claiming hid group “did not pressure the Rwandan government to refuse to participate in Netanyahu’s cruel mass deportation plan.”
“We did support massive numbers of Israelis standing up for what is right and demanding action from their own government,” Sakatch wrote.
The NIF chief added:
This isn’t about NIF. It’s about all of us — everyone who cares about democracy and equality in Israel. It’s time for everyone who cares about Israeli democracy to stand up and stand together against this blatant assault on Israeli civil society from an increasingly desperate and flailing PM.
Mr. Netanyahu, you want to investigate us? I’ll answer any question you like.
Sakatch, however, did not address Netanyahu’s contention that the NIF is funded by foreign governments, Soros, and other “elements hostile to Israel.”
Hacked emails document Soros’ Open Society Foundations provided the NIF with at least $837,500 from 2002 to 2015. Breitbart News found that NIF’s 2015 annual report lists the Tides Foundation as a donor. Tides is a far-left financing clearinghouse that itself is heavily funded by Soros’ Open Society nonprofit.
NIF in turn has been openly financing groups in Israel that act against the deportations, including some directly funded by Soros’ Open Society Foundations.
- The African Refugees Development Center, which says it acts “in order to protect, assist and empower African refugees and asylum seekers in Israel.” The group has been widely cited in news articles opposing the deportations and has been organizing against the policy.
- ASSAF: Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers, which calls on supporters to “struggle against deportation!” The group has been promotingdomestic and global demonstrations on the issue.
- The Association for Civil Rights in Israel, which says it “ardently advocates for the fair treatment of asylum-seekers and refugees. In particular, ACRI actively protests the deportation or incarceration of asylum seekers and refugees.”
- The Eritrean Women’s Community Center, which has participated in anti-deportation demonstrations and says it “aims to provide Eritrean women with a safe space as well as access to important services.”
- The Hotline for Refugees and Migrants, which is “Israel’s leading organization protecting the rights of refugees, migrant workers and victims of human trafficking.” The group boasts that “for over 15 years Hotline staff and volunteers have been visiting Israel’s immigration detention centers to monitor conditions, meet with detainees and provide paralegal intervention and legal representation.”
- Physicians for Human Rights – Israel branch, which has been protesting the deportations. Besides NIF funding, Physicians for Human Rights is a prominent grantee of Soros’ Open Society Foundations.
NIF has taken a central role in organizing domestic and international opposition to Israel’s planned deportations.
On Tuesday, Netanyahu scrapped a deal that he had expressed support for hours earlier to work with the United Nations to resettle more than 16,000 illegal African migrants to Western nations. About that same number would be allowed to remain in Israel under the agreement.
The Israeli Prime Minister faced fierce backlash from members of his own ruling coalition as well as from residents of southern Tel Aviv, where many illegal migrants live. Those Tel Aviv areas have seen crime rates rise dramatically. The opponents largely slammed Netanyahu for allowing about 16,000 illegal migrants to remain in Israel under the UN agreement.
A survey conducted by Israel’s Channel 10 found a full 47 percent of Israelis were against the UN deal, while only 34 percent supported the plan.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett, leader of the Jewish Home party, demanded Netanyahu “cancel it altogether,” referring to the deal.
“Its approval would cause generations of crying and set a precedent in Israel granting residency for illegal infiltrators,” he wrote.
Netanyahu at first responded by announcing that he would suspend the deal with the UN until he could meet with southern Tel Aviv residents to discuss the plan. Hours later, Netanyahu nixed the resettlement plan altogether.
In his explanation, Netanyahu singled out the NIF for alleged advocacy he says caused the collapse of a resettlement deal with Rwanda, forcing him to seek a new agreement.
Netanyahu said that “in the last few weeks, following tremendous pressure on Rwanda by the New Israel Fund and elements in the European Union, Rwanda has withdrawn from the agreement and refused to take in infiltrators from Israel who are forcibly removed. As a result, I decided to strive for a new agreement that would allow us to continue deporting the infiltrators.”
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.