The haters from within

B'tselem, Israel's anti-Israel NGO

B’tselem, Israel’s anti-Israel NGO

It’s not only the antisemites, and those who disguise themselves as “merely” anti-Zionists, whom we need to confront and from whom we need to defend ourselves. It is the enemy within (about which I have written previously) which is in a way more dangerous and more insidious. This has become all the more urgent following the outrageous behaviour of B’tselem, the Israeli “human rights for everyone except Jews” NGO, whose members went to the UN, just a couple of days after the disgusting UNESCO vote denying the Jews’ connection to Jerusalem, to demand an end to the occupation.

The UN Security Council held a special session at the behest of the Palestinians on the subject of the Israeli settlements. Israeli left-wing NGO B’Tselem was invited by the Security Council to speak at the council condemning Israel over settlement activities.

B’Tselem chairman Hagi El-Ad, used his time at the UN to attack the Israeli government’s policies, blame the government for violence against the Palestinians, “take action (against Israel), now.”

The Israeli leftist organization “Peace Now” was also invited to the session, but was unable to come, instead sending a representative from its US office. The representative said that “the values enshrined in the Israeli Declaration of Independence are in question.”

Their behaviour was seen as so unacceptable that Israel’s UN envoy Danny Danon called for the UN to end their funding of the NGO. Of course, given B’tselem’s stance, it is more likely that the UN or EU will only increase their funding.  Various other ideas, some more surreal than others, were mooted in the Israeli government, from stripping B’tselem’s activists of their Israeli citizenship to passing a law to prevent Israelis from addressing the UN. All of these ideas made international headlines and caused the expected outrage against Israel, and none of them got anywhere near success. Which rather proves the point that Israeli politicians ought to learn to keep their mouths shut, a whole other story.

Noah Beck expands on this issue of leftist Israeli NGO’s which undermine Israel in his article: The Hostility and Hypocrisy of Left-Wing Israeli NGOs: (emphases added):

In 1975, the UN famously declared that “Zionism is racism” and, four decades later, the organization continues to hound Israel. In each of the last four years, as the Syrian bloodbath claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, there were at least five times as many resolutions condemning Israel as those rebuking the rest of the world.

Given the UN’s chronic hostility, efforts by Israeli NGOs to persuade the UN to act against Israel are arguably treasonous. Indeed, one attorney and activist for Israel’s left-leaning Labor party filed a police complaint alleging treason against B’Tselem, arguing that the NGO has harmed state sovereignty, tried to give land away to a foreign entity, and taken steps that could cause a war.

Israeli democracy is extremely tolerant, to the point of allowing its members of parliament to openly support terrorism and terrorist groups. Last March, several Israeli Arab Knesset members condemned Arab states for labeling Hizballah a terrorist organization, even though it has been at war with Israel for decades and regularly threatens new hostilities.

Thus, Israel already has plenty of dissenting voices and activists without foreign intervention. Nevertheless, foreign interests have identified Israeli NGOs as the soft underbelly of Israeli democracy and have leveraged them to promote their own agendas. The problem became so acute that a watchdog, NGO Monitor, was formed in 2002 to track the self-hostility being funded largely by European and other foreign sources. As the organization notes: “NGOs lack a system of checks and balances, and…provide accountability to their funders and activist members, and not to the citizens or societies whose lives are directly impacted by their activities.”

NGO Monitor also notes that, even though most of the foreign government funding for these Israeli NGOs is “formally designated for ‘educating the Israeli public’ and ‘changing public opinion’ (both in violation of the norms on non-interference in other democracies), these Israeli NGOs are very active externally, in the delegitmization and political warfare against Israel.

These left-wing Israeli NGO’s receive money from about two dozen foreign governments, and some private organizations. That includes millions of dollars from billionaire George Soros.

Some foreign funders of Israeli NGOs have even unwittingly enriched Hamas. Last August, Hamas allegedly siphoned off “tens of millions of dollars” from World Vision, a U.S.-based charity, and used the funds for weapons purchases, tunnel construction, and other military activities.

The Knesset passed a law in July requiring disclosure of foreign funding sources for NGOs that get more than half of their money from overseas. The law is “clearly aligned with the American Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA),” wrote legal scholar Eugene Kontorovich.

“Israel is unique in the sheer scale of the foreign government sponsorship of domestic political groups,” he wrote. “For example, the European Union alone has in recent years given roughly 1.2 million Euro a year for political NGOs in the US and roughly an order of magnitude more in Israel—a vastly larger per capita amount.”

The Obama administration opposes foreign influence only when that influence promotes a dissenting view. President Obama opposed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to the U.S. Congress against the Iranian nuclear deal, but was happy to give a speech to the UK parliament against Brexit. The Obama administration critiqued Israel’s NGO-funding-disclosure law, even though it sent U.S. taxpayer money to an Israeli NGO working to oust Israel’s prime minister.

The same hypocrisy seems to prevail among Israel’s foreign-funded NGOs. They ostensibly exist to promote democracy and peaceful co-existence, but are conspicuously silent when Palestinian institutions violate those ideals. Such silence enables abuse by Palestinians and promotes a distorted and incomplete picture of the complex reality in which Israelis operate. Foreign-funded Israeli NGOs remained silent  after the Palestinian Authority arrested Palestinians who visited a Sukkah in a symbolic peace event promoting coexistence.

“These organizations are silent when the Palestinian leadership pays salaries to the families of terrorists, glorifies murderers and calls streets and city centers after them,” Netanyahu said.

“These organizations prove again and again that they are not actually interested in human rights, but only in shaming Israel and libeling it around the world.”

If Israel’s left-wing NGOs truly are committed to democracy and peace, why haven’t they condemned the PA’s efforts to prevent “normalization” with Israel? In 2014, Jibril Rajoub, the deputy secretary of the Fatah Central Committee and the head of the Palestinian Supreme Council for Sport and Youth Affairs, condemned a coexistence-promoting soccer match between Israeli and Palestinian youths on a southern kibbutz, as “a crime against humanity.”

The answer to the above question, why haven’t these NGOs condemned the PA’s rejection of normalization, is because they themselves support this rejectionism, despite their highfalutin’ peacenik titles.

The Elder of Ziyon expressed some thoughts about B’tselem’s speech at the UN, and as always, his thoughts are well-worth paying attention to: (some emphases added):

Some points:

“For the past 49 years – and counting – the injustice known as the occupation of Palestine, and Israeli control of Palestinian lives in Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem, has become part of the international order. “

In 1968, no one called it the occupation of “Palestine.” When in fact did that occupation start? And indeed, on what date was the land no longer considered occupied Jordan? And why wasn’t it called “occupied Palestine” when Jordan occupied it?

The answer to that question is that when Jews are ethnically cleansed, in the eyes of the world they had better STAY ethnically cleansed!  “Right of Return” is only for the enemies of Jews. Not for “regular” refugees, and obviously not for Jews of any nationality.

He continues:

El-Ad almost addresses this:
“Almost all aspects of this reality are considered legal by Israel. Israel’s control of Palestinian lives is unique in the careful attention the occupying power gives to the letter of the law, while strangling its very spirit. The occupation has so perfected the art of watering down International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law as to render them virtually meaningless. Once military lawyers, State Attorneys and Supreme Court justices are done masterfully chiseling out legal opinions, all that remains is raw injustice.”

Once you remove the rhetoric, this is B’Tselem admitting that it does not have a legal leg to stand on.

The fact is that this is not about human rights of Palestinian Arabs, as B’Tselem and most of the world wants to pretend. This is about competing human rights between Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs. The great ignored fact is that the rights of Jews to live in Judea and Samaria, their ancestral homeland, is a human right at least as much as the rights of Palestinians.

Hypocrisy, hate, self-hate, latent or even overt antisemitism – all these are the essence of these two-faced NGOs.

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5 Responses to The haters from within

  1. Reality says:

    We need some clever lawyers to end this farce.I would love that it would be legal to strip them of their citizshhip,but obviously,that’s not legal.However ,if they act like terrorists, ie trying to destroy Israel from the inside,and out,could social security or some other dues be withheld from them?

  2. Reality says:

    Alternatively ,they could be tried for treason

    • anneinpt says:

      You’ve proposed some very good ideas here. Why don’t you send a message to the Knesset? Do you know any MKs who would be receptive? Betzalel Smotrich for example. They could propose your ideas.

  3. Brian Goldfarb says:

    I have always thought that it is a serious mistake to charge freely elected political representatives with treason, unless and until it can be found that they have (or there is convincing evidence of them having) conspired to do physical harm to their country – way beyond espousing views we find unacceptable. It’s called freedom: of speech; of action; of thought; etc.

    Only if they have clearly broken an existing law (and not one passed to punish behaviour retrospectively – that is, it was ;legal when they did it) should one even think of charging them. And even then, one might pause and decide, perhaps, not to act.

    Freedom is precious and can easily be lost. We always need to weigh just what freedoms we are prepared to give up for “security” – and who is defining that term. Turn the whole thing on its head and ask yourself how would you feel if what you felt was perfectly reasonable and allowable statements was “threatened” by a left-wing (from where I stand, you and Reality are right-wing) regime: one elected quite democratically, according to the rules, but still felt that your conservative views were damaging to the state?

    You may recall that way back, I argued that George Galloway’s views on Gulf War II, when he wished for the defeat of the allies in Iraq, including welcoming the death of British troops could well be argued as being seditious and actionable. I also argued that to charge him would be a mistake: it would make him a martyr. Leave him to the Labour Party, which expelled him and his constituency party deselected him.

    Are you sure that Israeli democracy is so at risk that it can’t stand MKs and NGOs being critical of the very existence of the state? Leave civil society to deal with them and don’t invoke the law.

    • anneinpt says:

      I think Reality is exaggerating here. We all know that they are not going to be accused, tried or convicted for treason. In fact even people who did commit treason, e.g. Azmi Bishara who aided Hezbollah and eventually fled Israel to Lebanon or Syria, and Hanin Zoabi who took part in the Mavi Marmara flotilla, and actively harmed Israel and endangered her citizens, have not been officially indicted for treason, when in fact they should be rotting in jail, or alternatively, enjoying a pleasant life under Assad in Syria.

      As for feeling threatened, well, the truth is that some of these extreme left-wing organizations do threaten Israel’s security. Yes, they claim they are out to “save Israel from itself”, save its soul and all those other do-gooding ideas. And certainly Israel has plenty of flaws which need to be fixed. But then why do they go to the UN?? Why not challenge Israelis within Israel ?

      When they join forces with Israel’s enemies like Palestinian terrorist organizations, when they disrupt security procedures at checkpoints (which were set up to protect precisely people like them, i.e. Israelis) when they broadcast their message only in hostile forums, like the UNSC or the UNHRC, and their message is only in English and not in Hebrew, then can you blame the average Israeli for feeling threatened?

      It’s not a matter of Israeli democracy not being able to withstand criticism. Of course it can!! Israelis are the most self-critical people on earth! (as you well know).

      It’s a matter of Israeli LIVES being threatened by their behaviour. That’s what worries me and that’s what makes me wodner what kind of deterrence can be applied to them.

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