So wrote the renowned Isi Leibler, who, with his soaring intelligence (as many readers will know, he graduated from the University of Melbourne with a first-class honors degree in political science, embarked on a doctorate and would have entered the diplomatic service had not fate intervened) and other extraordinary qualities, led the Australian Jewish community for some 25 years before leaving for Jerusalem. Known for his quick incisive mind, instantaneous grasp of the essence of issues, and his vigorous dedication to the welfare of Israel and world Jewry, he has inveighed several times against the New Israel Fund (NIF), which established a branch in Australia in 2011.
That organisation's mischief-making has been exposed and ably summarised by Professor Gerald Steinberg's NGO Monitor here
See also here and here
For NIF Australia see here
There seems little doubt that the leaders of NIF Australia are largely if not exclusively on the political left. Australian Jewish (JAir radio) broadcaster Michael Burd commented below Shirlee Finn's post here last year:
"Our radio program Nothing Left has been exposing this insidious bunch of anti Israel activists for a long time.
We have had ... experts on our program ... who have provided facts and figures not just raw opinion . Our Jerusalem based good friend Isi Leibler has on many occasions let our listeners know how NIF are helping our enemies to demonize Israel around the world .
[Fellow broadcaster] Alan Freedman and myself delivered an excellent talk with fantastic feedback at the recent Limmud O . In fact one of NIF supporters also on the board of the far left wing Limmud Oz was in the audience and I think was hugely embarrassed by the overwhelming evidence we supplied. Of course in typical leftist manner all [that] NIF supporters could do was demonize and shoot the messenger...."NIF Australia now has, it's rumoured, a new cobber in Australia, namely the country's oldest Reform congregation, Temple Beth Israel in Melbourne, established in 1930, and led for decades by two very great men in succession, intellectuals Rabbi Dr Herman Sanger from Berlin, a robust Zionist, and Rabbi Dr John Levi, whose sense of history and love for Eretz Israel and Medinat Israel is palpable.
But now, under its present rabbi and board of management, the Temple is rumoured to on the verge of partnering, so to speak, with NIF Australia and, through the employment of a holder of an NIF Australia Naomi Chazan Fellowship, of acting as a sort of propaganda vehicle for the NIF, at any rate within the congregation itself.
No doubt the Temple, naively, has the best of intentions in pursuing such a path. But it's disturbing to see it hoodwinked.
To quote Isi Leibler again, interviewed by Michael Burd last year:
"I would urge anybody who has the interest of Israel at heart not to have anything to do with New Israel Fund. It is an organization which is sponsoring enemies of the Jewish people, which is sponsoring groups which are reviling and demonizing the Jewish people. It is sponsoring groups within Israel which are undermining the Zionist vision, and all I can say is you can just look at the list of where their donations go to some of these organizations. It's quite frightening.
I would say to you, any Australians who are committed to the Jewish people, you're not doing the Jewish people or Israel a favor by sponsoring this organization, which, as I say, whatever it may do on the side, you can do it directly.
Give it to the Keren Hayesod or give to any other Jewish organization. You know where it's going to go. But don't give it to an organization a large proportion of whose funds are going to go towards anti-Zionist bodies. In fact, they've even got organizations that they're sponsoring who are calling for a boycott of the territories over the Green Line. To have Jews supporting such a body, it's a great shame. Many of these people are stupid, and some of them are not stupid. Some of them are bad.
... There's no excuse for anybody that is committed to Israel today to be providing money to people that give money to anti-Israeli causes.
I must tell you, this group is one of the worst of all the groups. You've given only one example, but they send their emissaries all over the world to try and ...demonize Israel, and accuse Israel of war crimes. Everybody has condemned them here. Everybody has condemned them. Even the Israel labor party foreign has condemned these groups...
All I can say to Australians is please, think twice before you support this group, and don't be conned by the fact that they describe themselves as progressives. There's nothing progressive about supporting elements that are against Israel, and undermine Israel. Believe me, Australia's a pretty good country when it comes to Israel, but you've still got plenty of negative elements in Australia.
You've got the ABC. You've got the Fairfax Media, and you've got quite a few other left-wing media that are doing nothing else except attacking Israel. Why on earth do you have to support an organization which is going to bring people into Israel, into Australia, that are going to help build up the anti-Israeli campaign? What's wrong with people that they can ... It's very hard to visualize and understand how people can behave in this manner.
Michael: Yes. Finally, on the NIF they bring out a conga line of far left-wing anti-Zionist Jews. One of them they're bringing out recently, or coming, is a very prominent American journalist who happens to be Obama's favorite Jewish journalist. So you can imagine where he's come from. His name is Roger Cohen, and one ...
Isi: Yes. He writes for the New York Times, and he has written pernicious stuff against Israel, vicious, Vicious, Vicious stuff, and you should also, when he comes out, some people should look up and Google some of the articles he wrote about Iran, because he went to Iran and thought they weren't so bad. Quite nice people, the Iranians. They're bringing this man out to Australia. What for?
Michael: Yeah, that's right. Cohen wrote that he said that the hospitality he received as a Jew in Iran was a sign that the country was misunderstood. I think that just sums up ...
Isi: Exactly. Exactly. This sort of a man is being brought to Australia? That's the New Israel Fund ? That is the New Israel Fund. That sums them up." [Emphasis added]