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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

'Your money or your life'?

Ami Isseroff reports that Gush Shalom, a militant leftist organization that encourages Israeli soldiers to refuse IDF service beyond the 1949 armistice lines, has written a letter to European diplomatic missions in Israel urging them to withhold funds from Israeli hospitals and universities unless they are allowed to contribute to anti-Israel NGO's like Gush Shalom.

Here's the article to which Isseroff points that discusses the letter (I will link Isseroff's blog post below).
As the Israeli government steps up efforts to limit foreign funding for human rights group, an Israeli peace organization sent a letter to European diplomatic missions in Israel this week urging them to tell Israel that that legislative action against NGOs may threaten the budget of universities, hospitals and other non-profit organizations.

The government has sought to limit the activity of Breaking the Silence, an organization that has published a damning report of the IDF's conduct during last winter's Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.

In the letter, Gush Shalom told the diplomats that "the discriminatory blocking of European government funding to a specific group of legal and legitimate NGOs may well result in a public backlash in the EU, which would force your government to cut all funding to Israeli NGOs, including to universities and hospitals."

The group added that it had been opposed to campaigns, which sought to withhold funding to Israeli non-profits, in the hope that the Israeli government would also reconsider.

Gush Shalom also noted that the tax exemptions for non-profit organizations constitute indirect funding for organizations, and asked that the EU Commission warn the Israeli government that these benefits "could be withdrawn for the large number of Christian Zionist organizations in the EU financially supporting West Bank settlement activities."

Human rights groups in the European Union are reportedly preparing to launch a public campaign lobbying EU governments as well as the European Commission to stop funding Israeli non-governmental organizations.
How virtuous of Gush Shalom.

Isseroff believes that Gush Shalom's letter is a trial balloon. He doesn't seem to believe that they would follow through (although he does accuse them of 'shamelessly and seriously' threatening Israelis to choose between their money and their lives).
As far as anyone knows, however, there is no actual proposition afoot for blocking NGO funding by anyone, just some unnamed "senior officials" who were thinking aloud. Gush Shalom therefore seems to have floated this balloon in order to get a bit of publicity for themselves, a forgivable and understandable propensity of such groups. If they can blacken Israel in the process, so much the better.
Nothing that Gush Shalom does to blacken Israel's name abroad surprises me. I believe that this is more than a trial balloon. The fact that Haaretz reports that such letters were actually sent makes this more than a trial balloon. It's long past time for the security authorities to get into Gush Shalom's collective face. There are laws against treason in Israel.


At 7:38 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

The problem of course is leftists dominate the security establishment in Israel. The laws against treason have never been enforced against Arabs and Far Leftist Israelis who advocate Israel's destruction. I'm not holding my breath waiting for them to be enforced any time soon.

What could go wrong indeed


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