By B. Cohen
More than $27 million of foreign donations flowed into the bank accounts of radical NGOs in Israel during 2012-14, the leading Israeli watchdog monitoring NGO activity disclosed in a new report published today.
Of special concern, said NGO Monitor in its report on the financial activities of NGOs as submitted to the Israeli government’s registrar for non-profits, are those organizations “involved in polarizing activity and advocacy in the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict.”
These groups, the report said, represent the local arm of the international campaign against Israel, and “are directly or indirectly active in BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns, lawfare, delegitimization, demonization, and lobbying against the state of Israel, including involvement in the Goldstone report, the UN fact-finding commission on the Gaza War (2014- ‘Schabas’ commission), and campaigns concerning the International Criminal Court (ICC).”
Among these organizations are left-wing activist groups like B’Tselem, which campaigns against Israeli policy in the West Bank and which accused the IDF of committing war crimes furing the summer 2014 war in Gaza, and Breaking the Silence, a small group of former IDF officers who present themselves as lifting the veil on the true nature of Israel’s military actions.
Some of these groups are openly anti-Zionist and advocate the elimination of Israel as a sovereign Jewish state. Of special note here is Zochrot, an Israeli- NGO that advocates for the return of Palestinian refugees and the dismantling of Israel, which received over $250,000 between 2012-14 from taxpayer-funded humanitarian foundations and organizations from Germany, Belgium, Ireland and Finland.
Under the terms of the 2011 “NGO Transparency Law” passed by the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, Israeli NGOs are required to promptly submit records of donations received.
“No other democracy in the world is permeated by such massive political funding from other countries under the facade of ‘civil society organizations,'” Professor Gerald Steinberg, the President of NGO Monitor, told The Algemeiner. “Previously top secret, the reports provided under this law give the Israeli public the vital information necessary to assess the scale of this externally directed influence, particularly from Europe. And European taxpayers and their representatives can now see what, if anything, these programs designed to manipulate Israeli democracy have accomplished.”
Implementing the reporting system required by the law, however, has not been without significant problems, some stemming from government inefficiency, others from lack of NGO compliance with the law’s provisions.
“Many political advocacy NGOs that regularly receive funding from foreign governments did not submit quarterly reports at all,” NGO Monitor’s report said. “It is unknown whether they did not receive foreign government funding during the reporting period, whether they have failed to act in accordance with the law, or whether they did not report due technical issues in the reporting system.”