Report: New Israel Fund, EU use proxy to fight Jerusalem embassy move

Israeli sources reported that an extreme leftist group funded by the NIF and European governments is trying to use Israel’s justice system to stop the US’ historic Jerusalem embassy move.

By: Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The extreme left-wing Ir Amim organization has joined a few Jerusalem citizens in petitioning the High Court of Justice (HCJ) to stop the construction work necessary to change the American consulate in Jerusalem into an embassy, reported Mako and Mida, two Israeli news sites.

Much of Ir Amim’s funding comes from abroad, including NIS 6.5 million from the American-registered New Israel Fund (NIF) over the last eight years, according to NGO Monitor. Over the same period, Ir Amim also received nearly NIS 2 million from the EU, NIS 3.6 million from Germany, and millions more from other countries that object to the democratically elected Israeli government’s internal affairs.

Concerning Ir Amim’s battle to fight the embassy move, the court decided not to issue an interim order last week to stop the work while it decides whether or not to accept the petition, Mida reported. Judge Solberg, who made the decision, noted that the chances of the petition being accepted are low. Still, the state is scheduled to give its response later this week, and a discussion will take place on May 7th.

The embassy is scheduled to open on May 15th, as part of the 70th anniversary celebrations of Israel’s independence.

The new construction – a four-meter-high stone wall to surround the compound and the paving of a road to be used as an escape route for the ambassador – was given emergency approval last month by the National Planning and Building Committee, which came in the form of a waiver of the current zoning laws. It did so due to the national importance attributed to finally having the American embassy in the capital of the Jewish state.

About 20 people living in the consulate’s Arnona neighborhood filed an objection to the changes due to aesthetic reasons, claiming that the wall would block their view and that a constantly patrolled road would ruin a beautiful hiking area, reported Mako. However, included in the zoning waiver was a clause stating that no objections could be filed regarding the new infrastructure.

In its petition, Ir Amim states that there is no urgency to transfer the embassy, and therefore the state illegally used its authority to allow the work to be speeded up.

The organization was very open in stating its political motives for joining the petition.

“Ir Amim would have welcomed the existence of an American embassy in Jerusalem as long as an embassy was also established in the capital of Palestine in Al-Quds,” explained attorney Asher Maimon, director of the policy development. “This is a destructive, aggressive and one-sided step. ”

The leftist organization is well-known for promoting the Palestinian narrative on the “occupied territories,” mitigating Palestinian terrorism and castigating Israeli authorities for acting defensively against such violence. It has even petitioned the HCJ yearly against the annual “March of Flags” that takes place in the capital on Jerusalem Day to celebrate its liberation. Its director, Yehudit Oppenheimer, has called Jerusalem Day an expression of “extremist and racist conduct,” according to Mida.

Through this petition by an Israeli organization, it appears that Ir Amim’s backers are also trying to interfere in the foreign policy of the current American administration, which is named as a respondent in the case.