The State of Israel is celebrating its 66th birthday this year. For Israelis, Jews and supporters around the world, this is a joyous occasion, commemorating the revival of the Jewish people and their right to self-determination in their ancient homeland.
Even those who identify as “critics” of Israel celebrate this day and recognize the country’s remarkable accomplishments – while understanding that there still much to improve.
Part and parcel of independence is the rights of citizens to debate, argue and affect the public sphere and participate in determining its future. Indeed, intense, and at times polarized, democratic debate is one of Israel’s sources of strength.
However, there are those who seek to prevent Israeli citizens from shaping their future independently; they wish to prevent the next Independence Day. A number of Israeli NGOs abuse the rhetoric of human rights and promote the Palestinian right of return, while distorting history with false allegations such as “ethnic cleansing,” “war crimes,” and “colonialism.”
Through these measures, which are part of the de-legitimization campaign against Israel, these groups promote an extreme agenda to cancel the Jewish right for self-determination.
The NGOs’ wild imagination and diversity are impressive, but reports of the Jerusalem-based research institute NGO Monitor show that all these radical NGOs have one thing in common: They all funded directly or indirectly by European governments.
Those governments are being deceived by the NGOs, who promote a “one-state” agenda and waste the money provided to them, contrary to the stated policy of two states for two peoples. Moreover, supporting these NGOs and their ideas undermines the right of the Israel public to determine its own future.
Freedom of speech is one of Israel’s most important values. It is a pillar that supports the future of the people, but fringe groups that receive a disproportionate amount of money do exactly the opposite.