What the EU Doesn’t Want Israelis to Know https://mosaicmagazine.com/picks/israel-zionism/2016/07/what-the-eu-doesnt-want-israelis-to-know/

July 18, 2016 | Evelyn Gordon
About the author: Evelyn Gordon is a commentator and former legal-affairs reporter who immigrated to Israel in 1987. In addition to Mosaic, she has published in the Jerusalem Post, Azure, Commentary, and elsewhere. She blogs at Evelyn Gordon.

Last week, the Knesset passed a fiercely debated law requiring Israeli non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to report publicly if they receive the majority of their funding from foreign governments. The law was roundly condemned by European and American officials; Evelyn Gordon explains why:

If, as [the law’s opponents] stridently claim, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with NGOs getting most of their funding from a foreign government, then why would simply being required to state this fact in all their publications exercise a “chilling effect” (the U.S. State Department) or “stigmatize” them (the New Israel Fund) or result in “constraining their activities” (the European Union)? The obvious answer is that the critics know perfectly well it isn’t alright: an organization that gets most of its funding from a foreign government isn’t a “non-governmental” organization at all, but an instrument of that government’s foreign policy. . . .

[Furthermore], a nontrivial portion of Europe’s influence in Israel comes from the fact that Israelis still admire it and, therefore, want it to like their country, not merely to trade with it. The fact that Europe is Israel’s biggest trading partner obviously also matters greatly, but the emotional angle, which stems mainly from Europe’s role as part of the democratic West, shouldn’t be underrated.

Now consider how that admiration might be affected by the discovery of how much money Europe gives, say, Breaking the Silence. This organization, which compiles “testimony” by Israeli soldiers about alleged abuses, is unpopular in Israel for many reasons, [even among those who lean left].

The knowledge that the EU itself, and its member states, are the primary backers of such organizations could make many Israelis reconsider their infatuation with Europe, Gordon concludes.

Read more on Evelyn Gordon: http://evelyncgordon.com/what-eu-wants-israelis-not-to-know/

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