Tuvia Tenenbom‘s excellent Catch the Jew (reviewed here) has several eye popping episodes exposing the foreign funding of anti-Israel activities in Israel. Why do foreign governments do this? Well, the proposed legislation to force NGOs – that receive more than half their funding from foreign governments – to publicly declare and display the support received, has stirred up debate on this very point.
One Jerusalem Post article (here) suggests that the predominantly left wing organizations that may be affected, proves this is a politically driven attempt to stifle dissent. However, whatever you think of that, spend a little time considering the comments by Im Tirtzu:
In response to the list, nationalist organization Im Tirtzu said it shows that European motives for funding the organizations are anti-Semitic, and that the bill is necessary.
“The list of organizations proves beyond all doubt that these are not left-wing or human rights organizations,” Im Tirtzu director-general Matan Peleg said. “These are delegitimization organizations that are meant only to slander the State of Israel and reduce its sovereignty, and these activities are funded by foreign governments, so they [the NGOs] make money off of the conflict.”
Peleg said he found it “very strange that European countries are obsessed with sending millions of euros specifically to propaganda organizations meant to discredit the Jewish state. This phenomenon is reminiscent of dark times in history.”
The Im Tirzu director-general said Israelis have the right and the responsibility to respond through legislation to “blatant undemocratic foreign intervention in our internal affairs.”
There’s a debate to be had about the proposed legislation. For example, I think it should also apply to individual as well as state funders. But, regardless, I have still to see a reasonable explanation about why foreign governments should be allowed to interfere in Israeli politics, in a way they would never accept inside their own country, without taking appropriate measures. I remain open to suggestions.