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Friday, July 31, 2009

Finally: Israel aims to ban foreign funding of political NGO's

Fed up with foreign governments' efforts to influence Israel's political process through NGO financing, the government has finally decided to ban foreign funding of political NGO's.
One of the questions that will have to be addressed, according to an official involved in the discussions, is what constitutes a political NGO. While it seems that there is an obvious distinction between an organization like Hadassah, which funds hospitals, and one like Breaking the Silence, which has a perceived political agenda, the distinctions would have to be spelled out in legislation.

The discussion follows Post revelations that foreign governments are funding of Breaking the Silence, which last week added its voice to a number of NGOs that have issued scathing reports of the IDF's activities in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead.

Israel has already contacted the Dutch and British governments about their funding of the organization, and is expected to soon take up the matter with the Spanish government as well.

The Spanish Foreign Ministry's agency for international development cooperation budgeted 80,000 for Breaking the Silence in 2009 [I assume that the missing currency here is Euros. CiJ]. It allocated 100,000 for the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, and another 80,000 for the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, a group led by far-left activist Jeff Halper.

The Post has learned that the Spanish Foreign Ministry agency has also committed itself to giving 70,000 this year to Rabbis for Human Rights.


Breaking the Silence issued a statement earlier this week accusing the Foreign Ministry of a "witch hunt" in raising the issue with foreign governments, saying this testified to the erosion of the "democratic culture" in Israel.

"Attempts to silence voices in Israeli society are dangerous," the group said. "It appears that the Foreign Ministry is getting ideas from the darkest regimes where anyone who points to failures is considered a traitor."
Breaking the Silence is dead wrong. Israel's political process is (or ought to be) open for participation by Israelis and not by foreigners. Foreigners don't pay taxes here and they don't have to live with the consequences of their actions when they try to influence the political process here. Israelis do.

Imagine the outrage if the United States were attempting to influence the political process in Britain or vice versa.

Name me one other democracy in the world where Britain, Holland, Spain or the European Union is funding political activity. Answer: There isn't any other such democracy.

Don't expect much sympathy from the Obama administration either. Aside from their usual opposition to anything Israel does, the Obama 2008 Presidential campaign disabled standard industry safeguards so as to allow anonymous donations by credit card, a tactic that is widely believed to have resulted in significant foreign contributions to the the Obama campaign.


At 6:22 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

When the funding comes from foreign governments with views not held by the Israeli public and Israeli NGOs make recommendations that harm their country's national interest, one can usually see whose views they reflect. That's why banning such funding is important to preserving the health and vitality of Israel's democracy. Israeli taxpayers have every right to expect public groups that want to influence public policy do so because its not due to their being indebted to someone else's money but due to a genuine love of Israel.


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