New Israel Fund CEO sparks outrage by suggesting Israel backers cease support over Netanyahu win

Daniel Sokatch, CEO of the New Israel Fund, sparked anger among Israeli politicians over an op-ed in which he advised Israel supporters to stop backing the Jewish State after Netanyahu’s win.

By David Isaac, World Israel News 

Several Israeli politicians expressed anger at a recent opinion piece in the left-leaning daily Ha’aretz by Daniel Sokatch, CEO of the New Israel Fund. In the April 10 op-ed, Mr. Sokatch suggested that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would “leverage his election win to lead Israel away from democracy.”

Mr. Sokatch based his argument on promises Prime Minister Netanyahu made during the final stages of the election campaign in which he pledged to extend Jewish sovereignty, or annex, Jewish population centers in Judea and Samaria. Mr. Sokatch said this would possibly mean the “end of Israel as a democratic state.”

He argued that holding onto those territories without giving the Arabs who live there full citizenship would mean Israel would no longer be a democracy. The argument is one frequently made by those who wish to see Israel give up Judea and Samaria.

However, Mr. Sokatch’s suggestion that pro-Israel backers pull their support if Mr. Netanyahu implements such a policy is what had some Israeli politicians up in arms.

Mr. Sokatch wrote:

“It is time for Israel’s true friends, all of those who want to see Israel fulfill its founding vision of being both a Jewish homeland and democratic state – including the leaders of the American Jewish community – to say, loud and clear, that an Israel that ceases to be a democracy, one that permanently disenfranchises and rules over another people, will lose the support of the American Jewish community, the family of democracies and the free world.”

The daily Israel Hayom quotes Likud MK Avi Dichter, who said: “If self-hatred of Jews was grass, we would turn the New [Israel] Fund into a giant park. The lack of basic understanding of the processes in the Middle East accompanied by exilic characteristics — they’re the ideological and practical basis of Mr. Sokatch.”

Jewish Home MK Moti Yogev said that Mr. Sokatch’s “call to boycott the State of Israel is worthy of blessing. If it comes about, the organizations that help illegal aliens, lawyers that help terrorists in courts and extreme left-wing activists that work to deny the state, will cease to receive funding.”

The New Israel Fund is a nonprofit headquartered in New York with offices in Canada, Europe and Israel.

According to NGO-Monitor, a pro-Israel organization that focuses on accountability for NGOs operating in the Jewish State, “A common theme of NIF fundraising and campaigning is the supposed ‘erosion of Israeli democracy.'”

“Approximately 20% of grants [from the New Israel Fund] go to 29 advocacy NGOs active in political campaigns that involve, to different degrees, demonization of Israel, including BDS and lawfare,” NGO-Monitor says.

These campaigns are disguised “under the headings of ‘Human Rights and Democracy;’ ‘Religious Freedom;’ ‘Social & Economic Justice;’ ‘Palestinian Israelis;’ and ‘Shared Society and Combating Racism,'” NGO-Monitor reports.