I’ve mentioned the interference in Israel’s affairs by European governments before, but the extent to which this occurs is shocking.
Bar-Ilan University political scientist Gerald M. Steinberg is the Executive director of NGO Monitor, an organization which keeps tabs on the multiplicity of non-governmental organizations which seem to exist primarily to delegitimize Israel, collect information for ‘lawfare‘ against her — and apparently also to influence its internal politics.
Such groups, for example, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Oxfam, Save the Children Fund, etc. are based all over the world, but — in an unfortunately typical example of Jewish Zionophobia — a large number are actually Israeli organizations.
Prof. Steinberg is calling for full transparent disclosure of funding by Israeli NGOs. Follow the money. It is absolutely astonishing:
Tens of millions of euros, British pounds, Norwegian krona and Swiss francs are provided by European governments every year to dozens of political NGOs, but most of this is hidden. These governments treat their funding for groups like Yesh Din, ICAHD, PHR-I, Breaking the Silence, Bimkom, Peace Now, etc. [left-wing Israeli groups, some of them extremist — ed.] as “top secret,” reflecting the realization that such activities lack legitimacy.
This obsessive secrecy is reflected in the fact that the Dutch ambassador to Israel and the Spanish deputy chief of mission acknowledged that they were not informed of their own governments’ support for Israeli NGOs.
Indeed, much of this funding comes from outside the foreign ministries, and is funneled through separate aid groups, such as the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and the British Department for International Development. The officials in these agencies often have close relations with the officials in the NGOs that they fund, and share their ideological biases, or know how to prey on their weaknesses.
Similarly, the European Commission (EC) sends tens of millions of euros every year (the total is classified) under numerous programs, and there is no central listing or accounting for the funds. When NGO Monitor officially requested the details under the EU’s own “freedom of information” of regulations, the first response was an attempt to invoke security claims.
Following an appeal, and six months later, the EC sent a CD with some documents, from which almost all of the information was deleted – again demonstrating that this massive manipulation is a highly guarded secret.
A law requiring full disclosure of foreign government transfers of funds to any Israeli non-governmental organization 60 days in advance would lift the cover from this illicit and anti-democratic practice. Israel is the only democratic country in the world where other democracies use massive funding for political groups to influence policies and public opinion.
Israeli NGO recipients would be also be required to disclose funding information involving foreign governments whenever they place an advertisement in a newspaper, organize a demonstration, or initiate one of the flood of cases in the High Court. How many Israelis knew that the EC had allocated money to the Four Mothers movement that pressed for the 2000 unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon, and all of the consequences that resulted? [my emphasis]