Why does Europe fund left-wing Israeli groups?
The so-called NGO Law or Transparency Law by Ayelet Shaked
would require all Israeli groups that receive half or more of their budget from foreign governments — which is true for many left-wing but few right-wing groups — to disclose their foreign benefactors.
Senior EU officials, in meetings with their Israeli interlocutors, left no doubt as to their strong opposition to the bill.
EU’s ambassador to Israel, Lars Faaborg Andersen:
“We are deeply concerned about the draft bill published by the government. Enhancing transparency is legitimate. But this draft bill is discriminatory and explicitly intended to target certain NGOs critical of government policies. It will negatively impact on Israel’s image and credentials in Europe as an open and democratic society,” the document said.
Why, one might wonder, is the EU getting so upset about a law that does not curtail the activities of any groups, or even limit the amount of foreign funding they can receive — as some Israeli lawmakers have proposed — but merely requires full disclosure from groups that rely on foreign governments for their survival?
“We know that Breaking the Silence is funded heavily by the EU,” said Gerald Steinberg, the president of NGO Monitor, an Israeli watchdog group critical of the way Europeans allocate funds to Israel nonprofits. Breaking the Silence, he charged, is clearly associated with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
Steinberg, a political science professor at Bar-Ilan University, complained:
“The EU has to be more transparent and open up the processes of its NGO funding to the Knesset and the Israeli public,” he added. “How are these decisions made? Who makes these decisions, and what is their objective? It’s entirely a black box.”