Netanyahu Needs to Cut Left-wing NGO's Foreign Life Line

If left-wing activists had even a basic sense of self-respect, they would have told their donor countries: Thanks, but we'll use our own resources to realize our shared goals.

Human rights activists claim that the transparency law is undemocratic.

But don't they realize they also stand to benefit from such a law? After all, it would also expose the sources of right-wing organizations. But what would be so awful about exposing the sources of the money that finances studies assailing academic freedom, the campaign against the New Israel Fund or land purchases and construction in the settlements?

Netanyahu -  Ariel Jerozolimski
Ariel Jerozolimski

Evidently, they fear it would also reveal that they themselves have sold their souls to advance the interests of foreign countries. And then, when the inevitable outcry erupt, a law might even be passed forbidding them to accept such donations. And what would these hordes of activists live off of then?

The transparency law would indeed have been unnecessary had these "activists" internalized what sovereignty means. If they had even a basic sense of self-respect, they would have told their donor countries: Thanks, but we'll use our own resources to realize our shared goals.

The State of Israel was established so that the Jewish people would once again be sovereign in its own land. Sovereignty, among other things, means keeping foreigners from interfering in domestic issues.

It also means that if foreign countries do start meddling in our affairs again, as they did in the dark days of exile, we should contemptuously turn our backs on them. "Stop intervening in Israeli legislation," is what the government should have said in response to the statement issued by the European Union yesterday, in which it voiced support for the leftist organizations it funds in Israel.

The saddest symptom of this phenomenon is the continued yearning to please the foreigners and dance to their tune - to act as "front organizations" for countries that hide their hostile attitudes toward Israel and to further these countries' interests in exchange for payment, even when they oppose the policies of Israel's elected government. What is particularly problematic is their effort to alter Israeli public opinion so that Israelis will elect a government more amenable to their funders.

Those engaged in providing services to countries that seek to alter the political situation in Israel are not innocent. They know very well why their service is being commissioned and who it really serves.

Norway and Sweden do not engage directly in recruiting Israeli front organizations; they do have some inhibitions. Usually, it is the organizations that apply to them, or else to EU institutions. The organizations then submit detailed plans for how they think it might be possible to alter political views in Israel. The EU, under its freedom of information policy, publishes such documents on its websites.

The funders, as is the nature of funders, want to see results. And the Israeli entrepreneurs make haste, with unseemly vigor, to supply them. So every year, new organizations arise, which rummage through the same garbage and roll in the same dunghills. Yet, miracle of miracles, all of them find countries to adopt them and fund them generously, even when Europe is suffering an economic slowdown.

These organizations also have a silent partner - the Israeli government. Weak-willed and lacking confidence in the rightness of its path, it allows foreigners to meddle in its affairs. Britain, by contrast, would protest "It's not done" if Israel were, for instance, to donate to Scottish separatists. And Spain would pound on the table and threaten to sever diplomatic relations if Israel were to offer even verbal support for Basque aspirations.

There is no need for public rebukes. Personal conversations between the prime minister and the heads of certain European governments (some of whom may not even be aware that their embassies in Israel support leftist organizations ) might well suffice to reduce this practice significantly.

Unless, of course, Benjamin Netanyahu is perfectly happy to have Switzerland keep funding the Geneva Initiative, or to have Britain's embassy in Israel keep funding radical organizations that, inter alia, are working to unseat him.