[Opinion] UNESCO had help from Israeli NGOs and their Funders
For years, some of the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the network that demonizes Israel with false claims of “war crimes” have also targeted the Jewish history of Jerusalem. In their publications, parliamentary appearances around the world, UN submissions, and “guided tours” of Jerusalem for foreign diplomats and journalists, these groups repeat Palestinian accusations that Israel is guilty of the “Judaization of Jerusalem” and propagate the incendiary myth that “Al-Aqsa is in danger”, while ignoring Palestinian attacks against Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount and systematic efforts to destroy archeological evidence of Jewish ties.
NGO known as Ir Amim (the City of the Nations) published a report jointly with Peace Now, which included the accusation that the objective of Israel’s policy “is to Judaize the Old City basin — in the Muslim Quarter…and surrounding neighborhoods.” In 2010, Danny Seidemann, the founder of the Israeli NGO Terrestrial Jerusalem, (he had earlier been a leader of Ir Amim before a falling out), published an article in the American journal Foreign Policy headlined “East Jerusalem settlers and Israel’s never-ending War of Independence”.
Yet another example is found in the activities of Emek Shaveh (“an organization of archaeologists and community activists”), which, although condemning the UNESCO resolutions, makes claims that archeological excavations are “lending force to an historical narrative focusing on the Jewish people, and marginalizing the Palestinian[s] …from their connection to the Temple Mount/al-Haram a-Sharif.”
To counter the role of NGOs in the vicious Jerusalem propaganda wars, (the UNESCO resolutions are far from the end), as in the other dimensions of NGO demonization of Israel, confronting the European governments that are their funder/enablers is central. Emotional attacks from Israeli politicians on the NGOs or the individuals who run them are not the way to go, but rather, a consistent and effective strategy that “follows the money” is necessary.