The clash between Charles Michel, the prime minister of Belgium, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over funding for NGOs involved in the conflict and war crimes allegations highlights the sensitivity of this issue, and the need to go beyond the headlines.
The role of Belgium in NGO demonization through BDS and lawfare is similar to that of other western European countries and the EU – together, they give these “Israeli” NGO the majority of their operating budgets, giving them the money to pay salaries, pay for numerous lawsuits against the government in the Israeli courts, and travel in order to promote their private campaigns. But in Belgium, the intensity of the demonization and attacks against Israel (and against Jewish targets) are particularly strong and widespread, reflecting the propaganda influence of powerful groups NGOs like Broederlijk Delen.
To end this attack and avoid the Israeli legislation regulating foreign funding that European officials and their NGO allies strongly oppose, negotiations on mutually acceptable guidelines are necessary. Instead of meetings between visiting European politicians and their Israeli clients, it would be far more useful for European leaders and members of parliaments to meet with and listen to their Israeli counterparts in the Knesset. Without a direct and sustained exchange, the confrontation will increase.