Trcaire rejects Israeli criticism
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"Trócaire was one of a number of NGOs criticised at a stormy meeting of the Joint Committee on European Affairs at Leinster House by Anne Herzberg, legal adviser to the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor organisation. Ms Herzberg circulated a document to committee members containing the names of NGOs which take an interest in Arab-Israeli affairs and are in receipt of Irish Government funding, with Trócaire listed at the top as having received €23.5 million in the period 2008-09. The document pointed out that Trócaire had unsuccessfully campaigned against Israel’s admission last month to the OECD. “This was in direct opposition to the Irish Government’s policy of voting for acceptance,” it said. Responding afterwards, Trócaire spokesman Eamonn Meehan said: “We don’t necessarily always agree with the Irish Government position, and funding from the Irish Government doesn’t come with that condition attached.” In her address, Ms Herzberg said that in addition to the “terror war” against Israel, there was also a “soft power” political war which was often led by NGOs or civil society groups such as Amnesty, Human Rights Watch and Oxfam. She was sharply critical of alleged NGO influence over the Goldstone report on the Gaza events of December 2008-January 2009, one of whose co-authors, Col Desmond Travers, a former Irish Army officer, gave evidence to the committee last Tuesday."