How does the Israel lobby work? Let me count the ways…
Liberal Israeli Yossi Alpher has an interesting piece in the Forward taking on Gerald Steinberg of NGO Monitor. Below the piece says that the august Ford Foundation has been maumau’d out of doing work on Israel/Palestine by… whom? By a neocon Israeli.. a former consultant to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Why is such an individual able to manipulate the work of one of America’s leading foundations? (One reason, because Establishment WASPs have put their tails between their legs on this issue.) Alpher:
I also run an NGO [bittelermons.org] that manages, along with a Palestinian partner, Web magazines cultivating Israeli-Palestinian dialogue and other Middle East-related exchanges. My NGO has, in recent years, received donations from the European Union, the Ford Foundation, the Open Society Institute and the Swedish International Development Agency, all of which are regularly attacked by NGO Monitor (though not because they support my projects; nor has my NGO been attacked, presumably because it invites Israeli right-wingers, as well as leftists and centrists, to participate in its dialogues).
A few years ago, I tried in vain to mediate between Steinberg and the Ford Foundation’s then-president, Susan Berresford, pointing out to Steinberg that Ford had abandoned its support of one or two truly bigoted groups, and that his critique of the other Ford-supported NGOs was often based on innuendo and guilt by association. Now Ford, under a new president, is ceasing to fund projects related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A Ford official recently told me that one of the reasons for this decision was the attack on its donor policies led by NGO Monitor. Thus does a major, longtime supporter of Middle East conflict-resolution projects depart from the scene.
Yes, Yossi, and thus do pro-Israel lobbyists control my discourse.