Friday, February 12, 2010
11 February '10
Posted before Shabbat
Recently I posted a copy of a letter I wrote to the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), the Reform movement in America, which criticized it for its support of the New Israel Fund (NIF). I was very pleased to receive a reply from a URJ official which explained its position.
Unfortunately, I don’t have permission to publish the statement. But I can reproduce my response (with some minor editing), which I think will make clear why I was not convinced.
Thank you for the long and considered response. You are right that you haven’t convinced me. Here’s why:
1) Let’s dismiss some straw men. I don’t know who said it, but the idea that ‘without the NIF there would be no Goldstone report’ is preposterous and I certainly don’t hold this position. I also do not think that nothing the NIF does has value; they do make grants to numerous worthwhile groups in addition to the 16 in question. Finally, I was very happy to see Rabbi [Eric] Yoffie’s denunciation of the Goldstone report, and do not doubt your love of Israel or commitment to Jewish values.
2) Regarding the numbers, I deliberately didn’t mention the 92% figure in my letter in order to avoid getting into an arithmetic contest. What Im Tirtzu claimed was that 92% of the footnotes from non-governmental Israeli sources which were judged negative, came from the 16 NGOs. This is correct — or if it’s wrong, we can still say ‘the great majority’. No, they were not entirely responsible for the Goldstone report — but they contributed mightily, especially when you consider the extra weight given to an Israeli source accusing the IDF of crimes.
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