Statement on Knesset Inquiry into Foreign NGO Funding
In response to the announcement of a planned parliamentary inquiry into foreign funding for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and their campaigns against the IDF, NGO Monitor released the following statement:
An inquiry by the Knesset has the potential to make an important contribution to addressing unchecked foreign funding for NGOs involved in anti-Israel political warfare. If the inquiry focuses exclusively on the core issues and adheres to democratic norms, NGO Monitor is prepared to assist these efforts.
1) The inquiry should not be politicized and should examine the full spectrum of issues. The problems of foreign government funding for NGOs should not become another front in the Right vs. Left conflict, but rather a much broader phenomenon that deserves serious attention. Palestinian and international NGOs also play central roles in lawfare campaigns targeting Israeli soldiers, and funding for these groups should be included in the inquiry.
2) The focus of any inquiry ought to be on European governments, donor responsibility, and ending the secrecy of decision making for NGO funding – not on legislative solutions or undemocratic attempts that appear to prevent democratic debate in Israeli society. NGO Monitor has consistently expressed concerns regarding legislative approaches to the issues raised by foreign state funding for political NGOs. Legislation cannot address the more serious problems of millions for radical Palestinian and international NGOs that operate outside Israel’s jurisdiction, transparency laws, and reporting requirements.
We therefore recommend that the Knesset directly engage with counterparts and allies in Europe. One possible outcome is mutually agreed-upon NGO funding guidelines, including due diligence mechanisms to ensure that the funding is not abused or diverted.
3) There is no need for a lengthy and costly process of data collection. NGO Monitor, its website and its experts, have all the relevant information on the unparalleled government funding for NGOs that are active in anti-Israel or antisemitic campaigns, deny Israel’s right to exist, violate moral principles, or support terrorism. Our research has been cited widely in debates and inquiries in European parliaments and the US Congress.