Itai Reuveni, who holds a Masters Degree in political science, has been working for NGO Monitor Israel Desk for the past three years. Recently Itai was on a private visit in Southern California and I happened to have had an opportunity to meet with him and have an interesting, fascinating, friendly, unofficial, but most congenial conversation, from which I have learned much about what his organization is doing that is so crucially important. They constantly expose the truth about the NGOs, mostly financed by European states, and are helping to fight Israel’s fight of survival.
Itai and I “get it” now we need others to get it too.
NGO Monitor is exactly what it says it is, monitoring the NGOs activities, especially those that inject their activities into the life of Israel and thus effect the life of every Israeli.
The NGOs are a complex and ambiguous network which we need to understand in order to be able to act and help Israel to rebut them.
In this article, I put on paper what I heard from Itai and where it is possible, I give some solutions.
First let us understand who stands behind the campaign against Israel, which is literally an industry which wealth sustains.
The anti-Israel protests industry is the NGOs bread and butter activities. Whereby the public does not trust governments, the NGOs, of all sorts, have gained recognition and legal status and operate along the calls for “human rights,” environment and education halo, issues that greatly appeal to the “enlightened” Europeans.
When Amnesty International speaks it is considered the “holy word” which the media quotes and the politicians repeat.
Among the most dangerous NGOs to Israel is “Breaking The Silence (Shovrim Shtika).” (Website: www.shovrimshtika.org.) It is funded by Europeans and its activists operate mostly out of Israel. The organization recruits Israeli soldiers who completed their conscription duty and ask them to tell stories about their military service. But their stories are not based on objectivity and facts and figures, rather abstract ones, using these soldiers as useful idiots. The activities of ‘Breaking The Silence’ and the like have not helped the Arabs as it claims to do but it feeds the worst kind of campaigns against Israel, making money, fame and a career out of subverting the foundations of Israel democracy.
Unfortunately, the Israeli public do not understand the meaning of the term sovereignty, which, in layman’s terms means, a state or a governing body has the full right and power to govern itself without any interference from outside sources or bodies. In political theory, sovereignty is a substantive term designating supreme authority over some polity. It is a basic principle underlying the dominant Westphalian model of state foundation.
Westphalian sovereignty: Westphalian sovereignty is the concept that all nation-states have sovereignty over their territory, with no role for external agents in domestic structures.
Israel is a sovereign country but Israelis do not use their sovereignty to their advantage. And that is where the NGOs come in and dig under, mind you successfully, Israel’s sovereignty with much help from the High Court and other Left leaning bodies in Israel that subscribe to the NGO industry not for the good of their own homeland.
There is an unfair situation festering with the NGOs, so here I am going to explain what is in it for the Europeans to be obsessed with funding the anti-Israel movement through the NGOs.
Is has been a few long years since WWII which, for a short while buried the Europeans anti-Semitism sentiments. They needed another route to go after the Jews. They have adopted soft power instead of their military one. The Europeans export their economy, culture and liberal values. In order to influence the world with their various exports they invest money in other than European lands that to the European civil society appear to be important. In order to implement their soft power, they use tools, one is called humanitarian aid. Since the Europeans prefer to solve what they see as world’s problems in a non-political way, they use the NGOs because, for them, the NGOs represent civil society and thus have a halo of “holiness” and “human rights” attached to them.
To all this we insert bureaucracy which allocates endless funds to advance the European policy.
For example, to the entire European Union (EU) the “two state solution,” one Jewish and one “Palestinian” is the only way to end the conflict the Arabs have with Israel. And so, they want to influence, even impose, this policy and to do so they use the power of money. The money, which is meant to advance their civil society policy is allocated by European bureaucrats. The decision as to whom to allocate the funds and the amount goes through a very complex process. Once approved, the money given to the NGOs is done simply by a press of a button.
No one is accountable for money that has been passed to a certain NGO for a certain activity, whether it is a good or bad one but suitable as far as the European’s policy. There is no one to point the finger, as the lack of transparency rules. There is no one to address the situation of the funder of good or bad results, and there is no way to know who is in charge of the decision to pass funds for a good decision or a bad one.
The funneling of money to the NGOs is buried in aspects of public security and commercial interests, which is rather annoying. And why? Because it is an excuse and it is hiding the truth and the truth is, its full intent to subvert Israel. This is a winner because one cannot hold anyone accountable for such actions.
In 2013 the EU, through the EIDHER (European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights) mechanism, which passes money to activities and the PFP (Partnership For Peace) mechanism transferred Euro ‘355,130 to a project named, “Addressing Fear: Strengthening non-Violent Alternatives.” Who received this money? NOVA, a Spanish organization which calls Israel an apartheid state.
Another worthwhile mentioning organization, that receives its funding from Europe, is the Arab-“Palestinian” NGO, ‘Popular Struggle Coordination Committee’, which conducts violent protests by organizing transportation, signs and all other protest materials and sends its own activists or other local groups to places like Bil’in, Nia’lin, Kfar Qudum, Nabi Salah, in Judea and Samaria, and the protests take place usually each Friday, disrupting the entering of Shabbat.
And another NGO worth mentioning, also receiving European funds is the Israeli organization ‘Coalition of Women for Peace,’ a leader in the BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanctions) movement inside Israel. The header of this NGO’s activities is “non-violence,” however, the money it receives goes to the BDS violent protests and the demonization of Israel.
Did the EU know what these organizations do? Of course! Do they care? NO!
Caroline Glick sums up the Europeans’ activities well: “We, (Israel) respect international law. You guys (Europeans) make it up. When it comes to Israel, Europe simply invents international law. Europe acts as if it is required by law to sanction Israel for activity over the pre-1967 lines in ‘West Bank’ settlements and Jerusalem, even though there is no such binding international legislation. The Europeans’ behavior is not about international law. It is about an obsessive, compulsive need to constantly pick at the Jewish state.” (Here is the video: http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid591867023001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAAiWK0n2E~,K4CQP-D8fMxFj9_qdpjQ-OlGBFzMO-sW&bctid=3938354575001
One can explain that sometimes the funding of NGOs hostile to Israel is a result of lack of understanding and ignorance, along which a decision is taken, thinking that they are doing something good. Or, the Europeans want to give their money to help the Arab refugees cause to return “home,” which is Israel. This comes from a cultural and political gap. They think it will be wonderful to see the refugees return home and flood Israel even though it will have a negative results, the end of Israel.
On May 5, 2010, BADIL, the original Arab-turned “Palestinian” NGO, its activities revolve around the Arabs’ “right of return,” announced the winners of its 2010 “Al-Awda” Awards at ceremonies in Ramallah and Gaza. Second place in the “Best Caricature” category, along with $600.00 prize was awarded to a blatantly anti-Semitic cartoon, featuring a grotesque caricature of a Jewish man holding a pitchfork dripping with blood standing over a dead Arab child. BADIL’s funders include a number of European governments and church groups.
Since “human rights” is the enlightened Europeans main obsessive weapon with which they attack Israel, it is worthwhile mentioning the outrageous response of NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) to the massacre that took place in Har Nof synagogue in which four rabbis were brutally murdered while they were praying:
On November 19th, 2014 HRW opened its statement by noting the illegal and unjustifiable nature of the synagogue attack. But the focus immediately shifted to Israel: “The Israeli response to this attack should be limited to those responsible and adhere to the rule of law.” HRW then discussed the other terror attacks, albeit in a highly misleading and at times factually incorrect manner. For instance, after listing the attacks, HRW stated, “Israeli forces later killed several suspected attackers,” without noting that, with one exception, the terrorists were killed while carrying out their attacks. HRW also repeated the conspiracy theory that a Palestinian bus driver who had committed suicide may have been murdered [By Israel].
Same day Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW’s Middle East division director, posted her message on Twitter weakly condemning the synagogue murders as “unlawful.” In contrast, few days later, on November 22nd, 2014, she labeled Israeli responses to terror, namely demolishing homes of the attackers, as “despicable, medieval,” and that Israel is guilty of “war crimes.”
The EU do not want Israel to know their entire policy toward and pressure they put on Israel policy. The NGOs are their conduit. Because? They know it is not to Israel’s liking. Therefore, they outsource their policy and funding, and thus they are creating a vicious circle against Israel.
The NGOs use and abuse the phenomenon of ‘human rights’ concept. And the results, there is a continuous, organized political campaign only against the Jewish state and of one people, Israeli-Jews.
NGO Monitor is constantly investigating the NGO industry. With a staff of fifteen-to-twenty and a modest budget, they constantly reveal the NGO scene behind the scene. NGO Monitor’s audience are politicians, NGOs, especially the large ones, the media and people who are interested in their investigative work. It holds ECOSOC (United Nations Economic and Social Council) position with the UN and if their budget is increased, NGO Monitor could employ more brain power, they can appear in front of a broader audience, who, in return, can use their research information and thus the organization will have more influence worldwide.
The NGOs ar an industry and when people make lots of money in this industry they could care less if they earn good or bad money and if they do good or bad. They could care less if the Jewish state is suffering because of them or not.
In Medieval times European societies were against the individual Jew and his/her religion. Then, in the 1930s Germany said, no problem with the Jew but it his blood, his race we have a problem with and the Europeans joined Germany in its anti-Semitic choir. Now it is Israel, the Jewish state, they have a problem with. They have a notion against the existence of a Jewish state where Jews can decide their fate, regardless of religion, race or nationality.
What do we do and how do we bring back the real human rights, not the ones that serve the political agenda? Human rights blessing for all not the curse and the weapon against Israel it has become! What do we need to do to open the straits?
No matter if you are on the Right or the Left of the political spectrum, if Israel is important to you and you care about her future, if you are concerned with this phenomenon you have to participate and help in any way possible. No matter of ego and political choice, together we must create a network, not hierarchy, like the NGOs network. Since human rights are important to all of us, since Judaism gave the world the first human rights laws in the Ten Commandments, together we must fight this phenomenon.
This is a lesson to be learned. We need to do a complete overhaul of how we think and behave meaning, rectification of this entire phenomenon.
NGO Monitor is a professional organization and is serving as part of the solution to end the discrimination of Israel. Now all those who care about fairness need to join them. They have the message, we, the public, need to take the message on a flag pole and implement it everywhere.