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’Tis the Treason?

Israeli NGO watchdog needs to heal itself

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Ronen Shoval.(Accells)

Ronen Shoval emerged as a political supernova in Israel last year when the organization he heads, “Im Tirzu,” investigated the funding sources of human rights organizations and subsequently accused several left-leaning institutions of being aided and abetted by Israel’s enemies. But Shoval himself, we learn this morning, may have concrete ties to Israel’s worst enemy, Iran: Prior to embarking on his political career, Shoval was an executive in his father’s high tech company, whose business partners, Ynet discovered, are doing brisk business with Tehran.

The company is question is Accells, which develops technology for online and cellular-phone-based commerce. The company is run by Eduardo Shoval, and Ronen Shoval was its manager of marketing strategy until six months ago. This week, Accells signed an agreement with a South African company called Fundamo, according to which both companies would share key components of their technologies. And Fundamo, it seems, is big in the Middle East: In 2009, Fundamo’s CEO, Hannes Van Rensburg, boasted that the company had “customers in Afghanistan, in Iran, in Iraq, in Liberia, in the Democratic Republic of Congo.” Last February, another Fundamo official, Richard Bailey, told another blogger that the company did business with Iran, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Syria.

“We are especially excited to bring the benefits of our contactless network to emerging markets,” Eduardo Shoval said of the deal in a statement. “Fundamo’s strong, established presence in these markets makes them an ideal partner for us in the launch of our services. We are pleased to have won Fundamo’s confidence in pursuit of this large and growing opportunity.”

Iran, granted, is very much a developing market, and very much of a business opportunity. It is also currently subject to sweeping trade sanctions. But Israelis needn’t be afraid: With men like Ronen Shoval staunchly defending its national interests, it needn’t worry that the ripest of its intellectual fruit will fall into the hands of its enemies.

Im Tirzu Chairman Worked in Company with Iran Ties [Ynet]

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This is a gross misrepresentation, and having realized that, Ynet has now practically hidden the story to save face.

Shoval has left the company half a year ago.
The agreement in question has only been signed in the last two days. Absolutely no “tech knowledge” has been given to Iran.

The company they signed with sells cellular commerce solutions – no doubt “the stuff of dictatorial repressive regimes”.

Calling this “Iranian ties” is laughable at best, and libelous at worst.

It makes as much sense as would claiming he has Iranian ties, had his father been a phone salesman who worked with Motorola, and “oh btw, Motorola also does business in Iran”, hence Ron Shoval has business ties with Iran.

In short – it’s a cheap provocation, marketed for unprofessional journalists, who publish stuff without checking it. Ynet is a good example.

So what? This has absolutely no relevance. Because he once worked for a company that does business with Iran means that his organization’s points aren’t valid? This red herring is more important to write about than say the Jordanian minister of Justice calling a Jordanian soldier who murdered seven Israeli school girls a hero?

Wow. That is truly the most desperate attempt to smear somebody I’ve seen in a long time. If you want to criticize his organization, fine. But to think you have him cornered because a company he worked for six months ago signed an agreement a few days ago with another company that does business in Iran? If that’s the best you can do, Im Tirtzu is going to be just fine. Tablet Magazine, on the other hand…

Oh, so the fact that his father is excited to start doing serious business with Iran is not interesting?

H/Ramat-Gan/Israel says:

“Great” smear Job Liel. So if I understand it according to your logic I presume that now Israel has to shutdown Intel activity in Israel because computers with Intel chips inside are sold in Iran, and also all the technological cooperation in Israel with Nokia & Ericson should be shut down because they are selling equipment to the Iranians…

Liel you are an I%^%# and Tablet is a Bolshevik rag but I guess we already know both

shavit says:

@H:A Bolshevik rag?

What? How on earth did you connect the Tablet magazine to pre-Soviet Communism in this article?

As for the other comments, don’t pretend that these deals and contacts sprung up over night. If he was a manager of the companies marketing strategy until six months ago as the article claims, then he was absolutely involved in opening new markets for the company to do business (that would be at least a large component of his job). Further, I’m taking a stab in the dark that what the author was really attempting to imply was that Eduardo (Ronen’s family?) has connections to a company that likely provides funding for his organization … which isn’t really smearing him unfairly. Nor is the suggestion that he thinks non-profit organizations cannot get money from Israel’s enemies, but for-profit corporations can … If he is going to criticize how other organizations get money, then he loses the high ground by accepting money that at one time or another had to be converted to the NIS from the rial.

That being said, I don’t know if any of this is true. I just thought I’d point out that this isn’t really a “desperate smear” campaign any more than Ronen’s campaign against Left-leaning organizations … in fact, it’s the exact same thing.

Danny Steinmetz says:

He isnt being smeared. Like the courts say, you have to arrive with “clean hands” to make certain claims. But im tirtzu was such obvious garbage from the get go that only a right wing propagandist without a conscience could have loved them.

Have you considered a course at journalism school to learn the concepts of “news”,”facts” and “analysis”? Highly advisable.

I am a loyal Tablet reader who enjoys smart commentary on Jewish life. But this story is absurd.

This article only replicates the ad hominem attacks which Yuval and Im Tirtzu utilize to garner attention.

I expect better from Tablet.

ken gold says:

TABLET is worse than Haaretz now, approaching Lerner’s Tikkun Olam…..wonder if the supporters of JStreet are bankrolling them…..just watch as their editorial position makes the NY Times look pro Israel…..did I see Jeff Goldberg’s name on the mast head? Maybe Nir Rosen, Finkelstein,and Chomsky can sit on the board.

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’Tis the Treason?

Israeli NGO watchdog needs to heal itself

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