[Opinion] The Wrong Way to Fight Foreign Meddling in Israel
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Now is the time to ask whether the prime minister and senior cabinet members, including the defense and foreign ministers, are really serious about initiating a confrontation on foreign (mainly European) government-funded campaigns against Israel led by political NGOs. And instead of problematic draft legislation, which is immediately exploited to promote campaigns that demonize Israel as anti-democratic and anti-human rights, the government should produce a coherent and potentially effective long-term strategy to defend Israel’s sovereignty.
The demonization campaign singling out Israel was launched in 2001 by 1500 groups claiming to promote human rights at the UN Anti-Racism Conference’s NGO Forum held in Durban – and the consequences are serious. The tens of millions of euros, pounds, and krona provided by European governments to groups that exploit universal moral principles are gradually leading to the political isolation of Israel. The goals of this political war go far beyond ending the occupation, but rather seek to reverse the international acceptance of Jewish sovereign equality among the nations – the essence of Zionism.
For over a decade, anti-Israel activists have tapped the funds made available by the European Union and a number of European governments, under the rubric of initiatives developed to promote human rights, democracy and peace, to specifically target Israel. This process, aided by a small number of European government officials with their own agendas, takes place in secret, in violation of the accepted practices of good governance and democracy. Most European parliament members are kept in the dark, and journalists are unaware of the central role of this funding to promote political warfare. As a result, a small number of zealots calling themselves “civil society activists” are able to promote private agendas through propagating the myths of Israeli “war crimes” and “apartheid” without oversight.
Instead, the Israeli political leadership, across the board, should be taking the issue to Europe, demanding and using all available leverage to end the secrecy in the funding processes. In government and allocation of taxpayer funds, sunshine is the best medicine, while secrecy and the lack of transparency invite corruption, in different forms.
Rather than passing legislation that infringes upon democratic values and invites further demonization of Israel, the emphasis should be on holding Europe accountable for its destructive anti-Israel NGO funding policies. There are certainly more than enough positive and constructive causes out there truly worthy of their support.