What is it about NGO Monitor that has led to Wilf being muzzled so crudely? To begin with, we need to clarify certain facts. For example, contrary to J.J. Goldberg’s baseless assertion, NGO Monitor doesn’t even regard Peace Now as a part of its remit, let alone seek to “defund” it. Indeed, as NGO Monitor President Prof. Gerald Steinberg told me, the group rejects legislation to restrict foreign funding of radical Israeli NGOs, in part because doing so would “result in invidious comparisons between Israel and Russia or Egypt, which block NGO activities.”
What NGO Monitor does do is report on how certain foreign governments and private foundations funnel millions of dollars to organizations that are, in the Israeli political context, pretty marginal. And what irks NGO Monitor’s critics is its exposure of the simple fact that a cluster of NGOs, some of whom endorse boycotts of Israel, are sustained not by donations from fellow Israelis, but by outsiders with a clear anti-Israel— and sometimes even anti-Zionist—agenda.
Hence, these same critics do what they accuse their adversaries of doing: they enforce a party line, they shut down debate, they encourage a “with us or against us” siege mentality, and then they claim the status of free speech martyrs! That’s why, if Peace Now wants to recover any dignity from this episode, it should reinstate its invitation to Einat Wilf and let her say her piece.