David Remnick accusation that Israel is “embroiled in a crisis of democratic becoming” is politically charged and highly distorted (“Threatened,” March 12, 2012). He is apparently unaware of the entirely legitimate debate regarding the massive, secret and unprecedented European government funding for political advocacy NGOs that exploit the façade of human rights. This debate, the introduction of this draft legislation by duly elected representatives, and the strong opposition which led to its immediate withdrawal, all highlight the health of Israeli democracy.
Mr. Remnick’s claims notwithstanding, this debate does not prevent organizations such as the New Israel Fund (NIF) from also funding groups that lead boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaigns against Israel, and advocate the end of Jewish self-determination. Rather, it is their inflammatory rhetoric of “McCarthyism” and the “death of Israeli democracy” which seeks to silence such democratic debate, and polarizes the conversation on human rights.
The claims voiced by NIF and Peter Beinart represent a misleading and distant view of Israeli society. Applying their hyperbolic allegations and double standards, American democracy is in far greater danger.
Prof. Gerald M. Steinberg
President, NGO Monitor