Statement on PM Netanyahu's Proposals on Foreign Funding to NGOs
NGO Monitor is aware of media reports that Prime Minister Netanyahu will pursue legislation relating to Israeli non-governmental organizations (NGOs). However, details about such proposals have not yet been published. As such, we will wait for specifics before evaluating them on their own merits.
At the same time, NGO Monitor reiterates long-held concerns regarding legislative approaches to the issues raised by foreign state funding for political NGOs. We also restate our alternative policy options, based on negotiated funding guidelines.
As a research institute, NGO Monitor has presented evidence that restrictive laws are often ineffective and counterproductive, damaging Israel’s international reputation and strengthening NGO fundraising efforts. In addition, any legislation will only apply to Israeli NGOs, and cannot address the more serious problems of millions for radical Palestinian and international groups that operate outside Israel’s jurisdiction, transparency laws, and reporting requirements.
NGO Monitor emphasizes the need for dialogue with European governments on the basis of agreed-upon policy and funding guidelines that will prevent organizations that are active in anti-Israel or antisemitic campaigns, deny Israel’s right to exist, or support terrorism from receiving funding. The recent responsiveness of Danish, Swiss, and Norwegian governments after learning of NGO funding abuses (documented by NGO Monitor) demonstrates the utility of this approach.
Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor, stated: “Knesset NGO proposals are generally the result of frustration over highly disproportionate foreign government funded anti-Israel demonization such as BDS. This is a real problem, one that ought to be addressed in conjunction with the European state funders, who often have no knowledge of the details or damage done. It is time for Israel and Europe to address this issue seriously.”