Normalising Zionism: Interfaith strategies

The name Nisa-Nashim, a combination of the Arabic and Hebrew words for women, denotes harmony for all. It elevates the idea of coexistence. The question is: coexistence with what exactly?

Nisa-Nashim was founded in 2016 and is seemingly in a potentially terminal decline. Today we ask: what was it in the first place? and who exactly is behind it?

Nisa-Nashim claims to be an interfaith partnership between Muslim and Jewish women. In reality, it’s a vehicle for normalizing Zionism in the Muslim community.

The pro-Israel Board of Deputies of British Jews even admits that it ‘incubated’ Nisa-Nashim. The group also claims it has two co-founders one Muslim and one Jewish.  In reality, there was a third undisclosed founder.   
 
The first co-founder of Nisa-Nashim, Laura Marks, was previously the Senior Vice-President of the Board of Deputies. The BoD, according to its own trustees' report, has a "close working relationship with the Israeli Embassy in the UK through the Ambassador, diplomats, and professional staff, and strengthened links to the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs and the Israeli Offence Forces.

"Another co-founder, Julie Siddiqi, has a long history of working with the British armed forces. In 2014, she was briefed by the Ministry of Defense on British military operations in Iraq. She claimed that ‘our concerns and feedback’ have been ‘taken on board and taken seriously. She added: ‘I can’t see any other country in the world where you could have something like this, so it is something we should be proud of’.

Denise Joseph is the third undisclosed co-founder, the only one that remains a director. She describes herself as an "ardent Zionist” and is the Chair of the European Board of OneVoice, an anti-BDS organization which pushes normalization propaganda in British schools.

Another director, Hifsa Haroon-Iqbal is simultaneously the Regional Prevent lead for the West Midlands. Prevent is a British government spying program in which children as young as three can be questioned by Counter Terror police without parents present. It is overseen by the Homeland Security Group which is one of the seven agencies and departments that form the UK intelligence community.
 
But who funds Nisa-Nashim? Well, it states that it has been funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Board of Deputies. It has also received funding from David Dangoor whose family Foundation also funds the Islamophobic Henry Jackson and the BoD.

The foundation has also given money to the Jerusalem Foundation – an organization involved in promoting illegal settlement activity in occupied East Jerusalem. So, here we have an interfaith as subterfuge organization working to blunt criticism of the Zionist movement in the Muslim community by leveraging personal contacts and friendships. No to Nisa-Nashim.


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