Yoav Yitzchak. "Exposed: How the European Union Intervenes in Israeli Political Affairs." Nfc.co.il. July 7, 2008.
For the original Hebrew article, click here.
- Within the context of the Israeli-Palestinian political and security conflict, European countries generally support the Palestinian cause.
- European countries occasionally intervene in Israel’s internal affairs, providing relatively large sums of money to Israeli non-profit organizations and public institutions. However, this illusion of transparency masks activity that is hidden from public scrutiny: decisions are made in the EU headquarters in Brussels, and, as a result, the activity directed toward Israel is not sufficiently scrutinized.
- Moreover, those bodies receiving support amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars are in no hurry to reveal the EU’s extensive activities in Israel. On top of this, part of the funds it transfers as aid – at least according to the EU’s working papers – go toward the advancement of political goals. In certain instances, it is apparent that the donors have political motives, prone to influence Israeli society by swaying voters from one side of the political spectrum to the other.
- Yizchak describes instances where the EU allegedly attempted to move Russian votes from the right to the left, including:
- In September 1999,the support committee of the EU held a meeting with the agenda of extending support to a new non-profit organization, "The Center for Democracy and Leadership for Immigrants" [???? ????????? ???????? ??????], run by MK Roman Bronfman (formerly a member of Israel B’Aliyah). According to Yitzchak, the meeting’s protocols reveal that the project’s aim was to bring Russian immigrants in Israel into the peace camp. This is, according to Yizchak, inconsistent with the Law for the Funding of Political Parties, for it is plain to see that financial assistance was extended for political purposes. Bronfman confirmed that he received €400,000 from the EU in December 2000, but emphasized that the money was not allocated for political aims, but rather within the framework of the NGO’s work on behalf of immigrants to Israel in the fields of democracy, leadership, peace and communication.
- Likewise, the EU confirmed its support for the organization Four Mothers, which worked toward the withdrawal of IDF forces from Lebanon, despite divisiveness among Israeli public opinion. In a meeting held in September 1999, €250,000 were directed to this NGO. The meeting’s protocols emphasize Yossi Beilin’s support for this project and its importance in facilitating dialogue between Lebanese and Israeli women, following Israel’s withdrawal. The EU was initially the sole donor for the project. Although the aid was ratified, it was never extended, as Four Mothers was dissolved following the withdrawal from Lebanon.
- Peace Now is regarded as a long-time client of the EU. In September 1999, the EU ratified support totaling €400,000 for a “social justice project,” supposed to be concerned mainly with “public education for peace.” According to the protocols, the activities would focus on a part of society traditionally holding anti-peace opinions and voting for Likud. Again, Yizchak suggests that the EU tried to push a segment of the population from the right to the left.
- In September 1999, €250,000 was allocated to ICAHD and another €250,000 to Ir Shalem.
Conclusion: The EU is interfering with Israeli domestic affairs. This raises the questions: Who supervises the monetary flow to different bodies in Israel? Why does a democratic state allow intervention from other countries, though these may be considered friendly?