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Breaking the Silence about EU-backed NGO War on Israel

Breaking the Silence about EU-backed NGO War on Israel

Europeans furious at proposed laws addressing Non-Governmental Organization abuses.

In November of 2012, the UN voted 138 to 9, with 41 abstentions, to recognize a state of “Palestine” in the West Bank and Gaza.  There was no requirement that such “state” cease terrorism, its violence and hostilities towards its neighbor Israel, even recognize Israel for what it is and what it was always intended to be, a Jewish state.

What shocked me at the time was not the outcome of the vote, but that fact that, except for the Czech Republic, every single member of the EU either voted in favor or abstained.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s speech preceding the vote, referring to Israeli “aggression” rather than defense in Gaza, and claiming to want peace despite having rejected a far-reaching peace proposal only four years prior, was mendacious from the first sentence to the very last applause line.

How was it, I wondered, that the European nations were unable to see through his charade?

I simply could not understand at the time how so many representatives from the EU member states could be taken in by Abbas’s claims.

Of course, I shouldn’t have been shocked.

The truth about Europe is that while anti-Semitism went underground there for a period of time, it never really disappeared, and it is now resurfacing. The 2012 vote at the UN was just one sign. It is most noticeably visible in the rise in violence against Jews on the streets of European cities, but street violence is not the only manifestation of the resurgence of Europe’s anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism is re-asserting itself in the governments of the EU’s individual member states, as well as in the European Parliament itself.

NGO War Goal – Tie the IDF’s Hands

One of the less visible ways that European anti-Semitism is manifesting is in the EU giving direct financial support to Non-Governmental Organizations (“NGO’s”) operating inside of Israel whose sole actual role, despite their protestations to the contrary, seems to be defaming Israel in the international media.

Breaking the Silence (BTS), for example, has been featured prominently in the news this month, for releasing a collection of anonymous, unsworn, uncorroborated “testimonies” in an attempt to malign Israel to the international press over its conduct during Operation Protective Edge.

In 2013-14, according to the group NGO Monitor, BTS received funding directly from the EU itself, as well as directly from the government of Norway, and indirectly, through a group called Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat, from the governments of Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.

As explained here, however, BTS’s unstated but apparent actual goal is not to uncover IDF misconduct; if that were the goal, BTS would provide the details of events so that the IDF could investigate and, if warranted, prosecute misconduct. Instead, BTS aims to shackle the IDF so that its ability to defend Israel is markedly decreased.

As journalist Matti Friedman wrote about the BTS report:

were the Israeli army to adopt what Breaking the Silence appears to recommend—that is, to act with less force and expose soldiers to greater risk—Hamas would have an easier time fighting Israel and more Israelis would die.

It’s not a very far leap to conclude that this is exactly what BTS’s funders in Europe want.

Another example is B’Tselem, a group which claims to document human rights abuses but which recently was found to be employing a Holocaust denier as a researcher. Even after admitting that its staffer Atef Abu Roub made statements denying the Holocaust, and saying that the group “reject[s them] with disgust,” there was no indication that B’Tselem had actually discharged Abu Roub.

From 2012-2014, the EU gave B’Tselem approximately NIS 1.3M in direct grants.

Like BTS, B’Tselem has also received funding from the governments of Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, and the Netherlands through the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat. There is no pretense of evenhandedness with these groups, they exist only to issue one-sided condemnations of Israel.

As set forth in an NGO Monitor report and summarized here, B’Tselem and BTS are only two of many groups hostile to Israel that get funding from European governments.

I doubt that there is any country on earth that would tolerate this type of foreign funding for an attack from within, without trying to fight back.

A proposal to combat this assault on Israel’s legitimacy has been discussed for some time, mainly by requiring greater transparency for these groups and refusing them tax-exempt status.

EU – Afraid of the Sunlight

One version of this bill, proposed in May of 2014 by now-Justice Minister, then-Knesset Member Ayelet Shaked, would have defined as a foreign agent “a body that receives funding from a foreign state, following a commitment to advance that state’s interests, or the interests of people who are not Israeli citizens.” It would have required such a group to disclose the governments that provided its funding and any commitments made in exchange for the money, and it would have revoked the group’s tax exempt status.

Transparency, and elimination of the Israeli government subsidy in the form of a tax exemption. Sounds horrible!

So I was somewhat blown away when I read the European reaction to the mere possibility that such a bill, along with others unpopular with the international left, would again be proposed in the new Knesset. According to Reuters:

 ‘The red lines for us aren’t just about settlements,’ said the ambassador of one EU member state. ‘When you look at some of the legislation being proposed, it is very worrying. It is anti-democratic and looks designed to shut down criticism. It’s the sort of thing you normally see coming out of Russia.’

Actually, although Russia does have an NGO law, it is not the only country that has one. The US has one as well, with requirements about transparency similar to those that are being discussed in Israel.

This is probably because transparency furthers, rather than hinders, the democratic process, by allowing people to understand the sources of the information that they hear and read, thereby facilitating an understanding of the possible motivations and credibility of the speaker.

There is simply nothing anti-democratic about transparency. Nor is there any principal of democracy that requires government subsidies for organizations whose primary function is to defame the state.

While there has not yet been a proposal in the new Knesset, it’s reasonable to presume that any new bill would look a lot like the 2014 bill, requiring transparency, and removing the Israeli government’s subsidizing of such groups through an automatic tax-exempt status. The coalition agreement between Netanyahu’s Likud party and Shaked’s Jewish Home party requires submission of a bill “stipulat[ing] that an NGO seeking a tax exemption for a contribution from a foreign state will require the approval of the defense and foreign ministers and the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.”

Yet the mind-boggling response from Europe is to compare such a measure to a government that jails punk rock bands.

Europe pumps money into groups that meddle in Israeli internal affairs and malign Israel in the international press, making it even more difficult for Israel to defend itself from military and diplomatic attacks, and then claims that attempts to shine a light on this process are anti-democratic.

The EU is funding a war against Israel through biased NGOs. Shedding sunlight on who is behind that war is the least Israel can do to defend itself.

[Featured Image – Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, via The Official CTBTO Photostream].


Mirabelle is a non-practicing lawyer, skier, chef and blogger. She mainly writes about Israel, the US-Israel relationship, and media bias at On twitter: @MiraWard375


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legacyrepublican | May 17, 2015 at 9:32 am

It would be nice to know who it is that funding the anti-IDF press reports.

Hope the proposed requirement is retroactive too.

Why doesn’t Israel simply refuse to allow,subversive NGOs to operate?

What am I missing?

On the other hand, it’s increasingly hard to be sympathetic to the Jewish state when Jewish Leftism has been a prime proponent and financier of multiculturalism and subversive NGOs–for,everyone else.

Once conservatives fully grasp the cultural and political destruction wrought by Left Jews–fully one half of the funding of the Democrat party comes from Jews, and open borders Jews finance about one quarter of the GOP–Israel is going to find itself with precious few passionate defenders indeed.

For far too long American Jews have been absurdly paranoid of a cohesive Christian majority–and it’s going to be too late for them and Israel once the Democrat coalition reaches its tipping point with vicious Jew haters.

How far are we from that now?

    Ragspierre in reply to bildung. | May 17, 2015 at 10:43 am

    “What am I missing?”

    Well, let’s start with your inability to see things as they are.

    Israel is not American Jews. Often, the Collectivists in the American Jewish population are some of the most dangerous enemies of Israel. Collectivist Jews in America are hardly unique in being anti-Christian. It’s all the rage among Collectivists, or hadn’t you noticed?

    Israel LOVES American (and other) Christians, and sees them as an important ally on many levels.

      bildung in reply to Ragspierre. | May 17, 2015 at 11:10 am

      The ‘Right’ in Israel commands no unassailable heights–Israel is full of far left loons advocating for a Palestinian Terror State. There is very considerable continuity between establishment Israeli opinion and the Far Leftism of American Jews.

      I never said it makes sense–Jews have been reflexively Leftist so long , it’s so culturally Ingrained, that Jews both here and there simply cannot recognize the path of self harm.

      What I imply in my rhetorical question is that Bibi serves up half measures out of a reluctance to offend the Left Consensus both here and in Israel.

      But it’s well past time somebody offended it.

      I see things pretty realistically Mr. Rags; I find that thrust pretty funny coming from the guy who assured us all for months that Joseph Walker was going down, down, down–when I said all along he wouldn’t.

        Ragspierre in reply to bildung. | May 17, 2015 at 11:26 am

        Your glowing butt-hurt is blinding.

        Put up some posts of mine where I said Walker was going down, down, down. I think Walker was dirty. I thought it then, and I gave my reasons.

        You are famous here for your telekinetic diagnosis of psychopathy respecting the teens Dunn killed, if memory serves, earning you my nick name for you “Bulldung”.

        Is Bibi trying to walk a line between liberty and “public safety”? Yes. All pluralistic societies do that. And we should.

          bildung in reply to Ragspierre. | May 17, 2015 at 12:18 pm

          You, being a lawyer, saw the deterministic workings of evidence and procedure leading to Walker’s conviction.

          I, as an actual human being, saw what I told you the jury would see– a purple faced drunk who endangered a man and his family and got dead for it.

          So I’m not sure what I’ve got to be butt hurt about.

          And the first jury failed to convict Dunn on the murder charge, did it not–so I guess some on that panel shared what I think you meant to refer to as my telepathic powers.

          If Dunn had had the resources to mount a repeated, first class defense–in other words, if it were a fair comtest against the State–his final disposition may well have been much more favorable.

          Because, bottom line, Dunn didn’t start it. And only one ‘teen’ was killed–but I heard that multiple, innocent, fresh faced ‘teens’ On Their Way Up just burned down half of Baltimore.

          I’m not aware of anyone referring to me as Bull Dung except your fellow egg facers in the Walker affair.

          Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | May 17, 2015 at 1:51 pm

          “And only one ‘teen’ was killed–but I heard that multiple, innocent, fresh faced ‘teens’ On Their Way Up just burned down half of Baltimore.”

          See? You have trouble keeping whole populations of people straight in you poor, demented mind.


          Gremlin1974 in reply to Ragspierre. | May 17, 2015 at 6:44 pm


          Well I as a human being completely disagreed with you and still believe that Walker should have been convicted of murder. I also am intelligent enough to realize that if he hadn’t been a LEO he would have been.

        Milhouse in reply to bildung. | May 17, 2015 at 5:49 pm

        But it’s well past time somebody offended it.

        It certainly is, but I’m afraid Netanyahu is not going to do it. Compounding the problem I just wrote about the judicial coup controlling Israel, is that there is a huge ignorant mass of Israelis who’ve been brainwashed to worship “the rule of law”, which they take to mean the dictatorship of the judicary. They think that if the courts have decided something, or if the legal advisers have pronounced on it, then it’s the law, and to stand up it would be to defy the law. It’s nonsense, but I don’t beleive there can be a majority in the current Knesset to change it.

    Milhouse in reply to bildung. | May 17, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    What you’re missing is that Israel is a free country, and can’t just refuse to allow these groups to exist. The USA would also have difficulty controlling such groups.

    The other thing you’re missing is that the Israeli judicial and legal establishment pulled off what amounted to a coup about 20 years ago, whereby a small cabal of leftists has given itself a veto power over all government and military decisions. The Israeli supreme court is effectively self-appointed, and it has ordered the government, as well as every government department, to hire “legal advisers” who act as comissars, just like the “political officers” who accompanied military units in Stalin’s army. There is some hope that the new Attorney General, Ayelet Shaked, may have the balls to stand up to the courts and bring them into line, but I don’t think she’ll succeed.

    (Linguistic note: For some reason I cannot fathom, all English-language material on Israeli politics translates the “legal adviser” as “Attorney General”, which is just not correct. An AG is a politician, the government minister who heads the justice department and oversees the legal system. That is the job Ayelet Shaked has now been given. Her title translates literally as “minister of laws”, which, as any English speaker recognises, describes the office of AG. The correct English title that corresponds to “government legal adviser” is, perhaps, Solicitor General, or Office of Legal Counsel. This information is vital for anyone trying to understand news reports about the Israeli “AG”.)

    Captain Keogh in reply to bildung. | May 19, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    Don’t even dare compare American Jews with Israeli Jews. In Israel they solidly re-elected Netanyahu, in America they re-elected Obama. America’s Jews (excluding the Orthodox) have a religion called Liberalism to which they owe blind obedience.

PS–Bibi’s ‘transparency ‘ measures are very weak sauce.

The ministry knows who the bad actors are and should simply proscribe them root and branch on national security grounds.

Quite frankly, these groups should receive the same treatment as the Muslim Brotherhood.

Didn’t Putin run them all out of Russia?

    Milhouse in reply to bildung. | May 17, 2015 at 5:50 pm

    The ministry can’t “proscribe” them. The legal avisers and courts would never allow it.

Federica Mogherini is a good lil’ Collectivist (former Communist) and a Arafat Fan Gurl.

She’s strong on Putin.

That puts her in sorta the big, fat, putrid middle of European bureaucrats, thought-wise.

“I doubt that there is any country on earth that would tolerate this type of foreign funding for an attack from within, without trying to fight back.”

The US would, and arguably already does.

    Milhouse in reply to randian. | May 17, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    Exactly. The constitution requires the USA to tolerate speech designed to undermine it. Even the tyrant Lincoln acknowledged (and bemoaned) that while he had the power to hang a teenaged soldier who deserted, he couldn’t do anything to the mother who encouraged him to desert.

Sam in Texas | May 17, 2015 at 5:56 pm

It isn’t anti-Semitism, it’s Jew hating.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to Sam in Texas. | May 17, 2015 at 6:46 pm

    Not to be offensive or adversarial but I fail to see the difference.

      Milhouse in reply to Gremlin1974. | May 17, 2015 at 7:35 pm

      “Antisemitism” is a fancy word, designed to pretend that hating Jews is some sort of scientific principle, rather than outright bigotry. Some people think that it’s worth their while to protest against this attempt. The rest of us don’t bother, because it failed. Everyone knows that “antisemitism” is a synonym for “hating Jews”.

        Captain Keogh in reply to Milhouse. | May 19, 2015 at 3:54 pm

        I prefer the term “judenhass” (Jew hatred) since it is right to the point and the German is perfectly symbolic. Anti-Semitism has too much of a genteel country club feel to it.