Gerald Steinberg 2 (2)Click for full article.


…[I]n Israel, this is not a free speech issue; rather, the NGO legislation seeks to counter what is seen by many as costly and unjust demonization and warfare enabled by European governments. It is also a reaction to the attack on sovereignty and the perceived European manipulation of Israeli democracy. In democracies, civil society organizations are supposed to arise indigenously and not as tools of external actors promoting their own interests and political manipulations. By definition, non-governmental organizations are not supposed to be arms of governments; when they are, they become incongruous GONGOs (governmental non-governmental organizations). Since Israel cannot make force Europe to restrict its funding, officials have sought other means, in the form of legislation focusing on the recipients.

The lack of transparency among the European frameworks providing NGO funding is an additional source of Israeli frustration. Documentation of the decision-making processes, the officials who are involved, objectives, and evaluations are all top secret. In most cases, European members of parliament and journalists do not have enough information to ask questions or begin investigations.