The New Israel Fund announced Wednesday, on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, that a Swiss-based NGO established by the father of Jewish diarist Anne Frank will henceforth channel all of its grants to Israel via the NIF.
It was a pointed rejoinder to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s call earlier this month for a parliamentary commission of inquiry into the activities of the group.
Anne Frank became an icon for the diaries she kept as a young girl hiding from the Nazis in Amsterdam. She died at Bergen-Belsen in Germany in early 1945, aged 15, nearly a year after her capture and just before the end of the war.
The Anne Frank Fonds foundation was created in 1963 by her father, Otto Frank — the sole survivor of the family — in Basel, Switzerland.
The aim was to channel proceeds from sales of the diary and other family writings to projects that promote better understanding between societies and religions, encourage peace between people and nationalities, and promote international contact among young people.
In a statement about the agreement with NIF, the foundation said: “Anne Frank’s writing became a symbol of justice, respect, and accepting differences to all of humanity. These values are the pillars of NIF’s work in promoting a State of Israel that is more democratic, and an Israeli society that is more just. The new partnership will strengthen the work of our two organizations and imbue Israeli society with these values.
“Since Otto Frank created the Foundation in Basel, the organization has made a major part of its donations to Israel in the last 50 years. The partnership with NIF acknowledges the bond between the Frank family and Israeli society.”
NIF Israel executive director Mickey Gitzin said “It is a great honor for NIF to receive this vote of confidence from the Anne Frank Foundation. This strategic cooperation will strengthen our activities in all areas — the struggle for social justice, promoting a shared society, advancing women’s rights, the struggle against racism and more. This partnership will help us in our work toward a more values-oriented Israeli society, one of greater equality and justice.”
The agreement between the two bodies forbids public disclosure of the amounts of money involved.
In early April, the prime minister blamed the NIF for the failure of a government plan to deport African migrants, saying the NGO had put pressure on Rwanda to reject Jerusalem’s proposed resettlement of migrants there and, in so doing, had forced him to seek other solutions.
He claimed the NGO, which provides funding to hundreds of civil-society groups in Israel, “endangers the security and future of the State of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.”
He also asserted that the NIF “receives funding from foreign governments and figures who are hostile to Israel, such as…George Soros,” a Hungarian-born Holocaust survivor.
Continuing his attack, Netanyahu said that “the overarching goal of the New Israel Fund is to erase the Jewish character of Israel…alongside a Palestinian nation-state free of Jews on the 1967 lines, with its capital in Jerusalem.”
He further accused the NIF of supporting “anti-Zionist and pro-Palestinian” organizations, such as the Breaking the Silence, B’Tselem, and Adalah.
The NIF said Netanyahu had “crossed every red line in his incitement against the NIF.
“To the point, the fund had no contacts at all with the Rwandan government. All information on the activity of the NIF and its bodies is exposed, transparent, and reported.”