Israel Aims to Outlaw Foreign Government Funds for Subversive NGOs

[Jerusalem Post] Herb Keinon - Recent revelations about foreign government funding for local NGOs involved in political activity have triggered discussions by senior Israeli officials about the possibility of making such aid illegal. Senior officials are looking into whether it might be possible to ban donations from foreign governments to political NGOs, just as it is forbidden for foreign residents, let alone governments, to contribute to Israeli political parties. The discussion follows revelations that foreign governments are funding a number of NGOs that have issued scathing reports of the IDF's activities in Gaza. Ron Dermer, chief of policy planning in the Prime Minister's Office, decried the funding of political NGOs by foreign governments as a "blatant and unacceptable" intervention into Israel's internal affairs. "Just as it would be unacceptable for European governments to support anti-war NGOs in the U.S., it is unacceptable for the Europeans to support local NGOs opposed to the policies of Israel's democratically-elected government." Moreover, Dermer said, some of the NGOs are not merely opposed to specific policies, but "are working to delegitimize the Jewish state." There is a new government policy to take a more proactive stance against NGOs very critical of Israel, after reports that Human Rights Watch, a consistently harsh critic of Israel, had engaged in fund-raising in Saudi Arabia, using its criticism of Israel as a sales pitch.

2009-07-31 06:00:00

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