Gerald Steinberg 2 (2)Click for full article.


In the midst of Israel’s intense debate on legislation in response to massive European government funding for political NGOs (non-governmental organizations), some European politicians decided to join the fray. Their letters, publicized in the media or via the Internet by the writers themselves, sought to halt the debate – a point not lost on many Israelis, who view European NGO funding as blatant meddling in domestic affairs.

These letters contained a number of inaccuracies that misrepresented the legislation and repeated the slogans of their Israeli NGO clients. These actions were another sign that for many European officials, Israeli sovereignty and democracy are limited, and subject to external pressure and manipulation.

MEP Julie Ward (S&D, UK) was the driving force behind the most publicized letter…Out of 751 MEPs, she gathered only 50 signatures, many from politicians with a proven record of anti-Israel lobbying, including Ward herself.

…[T]he attempts by the European politicians to sway the Israeli debate on these important issues were not only ignored; they were rejected, even by opponents of the NGO legislation. If European officials are truly bothered by the proposed NGO funding transparency law, they should take action which would make it unnecessary. For example, negotiation of NGO funding guidelines with their Israeli counterparts could be a viable alternative.