EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has some explaining to do.
During Mogherini’s visit this week she spoke loftily of Europe’s concern for peace and desire to play a role in establishing a Palestinian state at peace with Israel. And that was very nice.
But what is the EU doing to promote these admirable goals? How do the millions of euros the EU and its member states shovel annually into the coffers of NGOs who exist to delegitimize Israel advance these goals?
The timing of Mogherini’s visit this week was propitious. She came the same week as “Nakba Day,” the day Israel’s enemies mourn its coming into existence 67 years ago.
The concept of the “Nakba,” is an act of political war against the Jewish state. It was invented to deny Israel’s right to exist by propagating the libel that the state was born in sin. The explicit demand at the heart of the “Nakba” narrative is that Israel must be destroyed for justice to be achieved.
The EU generously funds groups that propagate this devastating slander.
Last week the NGO watchdog group NGO Monitor published a list of five EU-funded Israeli NGOs that advance the “Nakba” libel: Zochrot, Adallah, Baladna, 972 online magazine, and Combatants for Peace.
In recent weeks, “Breaking the Silence,” another EU-funded Israeli group made headlines with the publication of its anonymous soldier “testimonies,” relating to last summer’s Operation Protective Edge. The “testimonies” alleged that the IDF is a veritable war crimes machine comprised of blood thirsty war criminals.
To be sure, there is no connection between Breaking the Silence’s allegations and actual testimony. The “witnesses” that the group cites are unidentified. Breaking the Silence refuses to hand over their statements to IDF investigators.
But the kangaroo courts of public opinion in Europe and US university campuses are not impartial courts of law. They need no evidence to criminalize the Jewish state. Unsubstantiated, anonymous accounts provided by Israeli registered NGOs will do just fine.
Next month, representatives of Breaking the Silence will be the stars of a ten-day conference in Zurich sponsored by the Swiss Government and the Zurich municipal government. No doubt, the Swiss know what they are in for. Breaking the Silence is a European racket.
According to NGO Monitor reports, Breaking the Silence receives funding and instructions from the British Embassy in Tel Aviv, the British government, the EU, Germany, Belgium, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands.
Reports of Mogherini’s meetings with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and with President Reuven Rivlin made no mention of any protests our leaders may have voiced about Europe’s political war against Israel. Indeed, far from protesting the massive amounts of money Europe devotes to delegitimizing Israel, Netanyahu gave Mogherini the necessary pound of flesh by announcing his wholehearted commitment to Palestinian statehood. For his part, Rivlin assured her of Netanyahu’s sincerity. Netanyahu should be criticized for his timidity. But the primary fault for Israel’s flaccid response to Europe’s aggressive political warfare lies in other quarters.
The day Mogherini arrived in Israel, we awoke to the alarming news that Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon had communed with his inner Afrikaner and decided to segregate Jews from Arabs, denying Palestinians the right to ride on Israeli public transportation in Judea and Samaria. Everybody Who Is Anybody expressed their horror at his horrific move. Labor party leaders Yitzhak Herzog, Tzipi Livni and Sheli Yahimovich assaulted the decision. They were joined not just by the even more radical Left but by self-congratulatory liberals on the Right including President Rivlin and former interior minister Gideon Saar.
By lunchtime, Yaalon’s crazed, racist decision was revoked by a frightened, contrite Netanyahu. Everybody Who Is Anybody breathed a collective sigh of relief and congratulated themselves for their decisive action. But, they were quick to point out, the damage was already done. The story of Yaalon’s racist move was already being shouted from every European and US television network. The EU ambassadors were about to devour us. And it was all Yaalon’s fault.
There was only one problem with the tales told by our anti-racist heroes.
Yaalon did nothing vaguely resembling what they accused him of doing.
Tuesday Yaalon approved a pilot program that would require Palestinians with work permits in Israel to return to their homes in Judea and Samaria through one of four terminals. The program’s goal was to prevent them from remaining in Israel illegally. No one was barring them from riding Israeli buses. All that the plan sought to do was secure Israel’s border and immigration policy.
There is no reason for people to agree with the means Yaalon chose to achieve this goal. It is perfectly acceptable for people to disagree with him. Indeed, it’s perfectly legitimate for people to oppose the goal of keeping Palestinians from moving to Israel.
What is not legitimate, what is totally unacceptable however, is for people to defame and slander Yaalon as a racist and the Defense Ministry as a racist Apartheid-promoting institution for trying to solve a problem they believe adversely impacts national security.
For whatever reasons, the Everybodies Who Are Anybodies on the Left and the Right that jumped onto the Yaalon-is-a-racist bandwagon never stopped to consider the implications of their charges.
They attacked Yaalon at a time when the State of Israel’s very right to exist is being targeted by a continuous, massively funded, international campaign to deny its right to exist by among other things, falsely accusing it of racism and Apartheid.
Maybe Yahimovich, Livni, Herzog, Rivlin and Saar thought that by hyperventilating unsubstantiated, unhinged and unfair condemnations of Yaalon they were helping Israel by showing the world that not all Israelis are Jim Crow racists and so it is okay for Europeans and American leftists to support Israel despite the fact that our government is led by evil men. Maybe they thought they were protecting Israel’s reputation by destroying Yaalon’s reputation. But the fact is that their rush to indict him was highly detrimental to the country.
Their statements contributed to the anti-Semitic narrative that the IDF specifically and the defense establishment more generally are illegitimate racist institutions. They gave credence to accusations from groups like Breaking the Silence that everyone from Israel’s foot soldiers to its top security brass are violent racists.
Moreover, their rush to condemn Israel for moral turpitude made it all but impossible for Netanyahu to attack the EU for its hostility and demonization of the country during his meeting with Mogherini. How could Netanyahu possibly expect a protest of the EU’s aggressive support for the cause of Israel’s delegitimization to be taken seriously when the President of Israel was attacking the Defense Minister as a racist?
Unfortunately, it isn’t just opportunistic politicians that prevent the government from adequately combatting the international campaign to deny Israel’s legitimacy. Israel’s unelected public servants also block efforts to beat back the attackers.
European governments are not the only sources of funding for anti-Israel Israeli NGOs. These groups also receive generous funding from American tax exempt organizations like the Ford Foundation and the New Israel Fund.
According to NGO Monitor reports, Breaking the Silence, 972 magazine, Adallah, and Baladna all receive funding from the NIF.
Next month scores of Jewish American organizations and institutions will send representatives to march in New York’s annual Salute Israel Parade. For the second year in a row, some ten groups and institutions have formed a coalition to try to prevent organizations that support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, including the NIF, from participating in the parade.
This week their efforts hit a brick wall. Wednesday it was reported that Ido Aharoni, Israel’s Consul General in New York intervened on behalf of the NIF’s participation in the parade. The Consulate issued a denial of the reports on Thursday.
If the government of Israel has no problem with NIF members marching, far be it for American Jewish activists to mind.
But they are right to mind. Because by giving the NIF legitimacy to march, Israel gave it legitimacy to slander.
And the truth is that whether or not the Consulate actively supported NIF’s participation or did not, the fact that the government isn’t condemning the NIF for its backing of anti-Israel groups is problematic. The longer the NIF and likeminded organizations are able to argue that supporting groups that delegitimize Israel is not an anti-Israel act, the longer these actions will be considered legitimate.
Consider the case of United Arab List chairman MK Ayman Oudeh. Wednesday Oudeh spoke at the “Nakba Day” protest at Tel Aviv University. On the face of it, his remarks seemed reasonable enough.
Oudeh said, “You can argue about the important events that happened in 1948 and 1949. But from a humanitarian perspective, you can’t argue that the Arab peasants and villagers paid the highest price. Their villages were destroyed, they were expelled from their homeland and the new state didn’t allow them to return. This is what we call the Nakba. And we are asking for recognition and to repair this crime.”
Everything appeared basically reasonable, although his call for Israel “to repair the crime,” was disconcerting.
His call was unmasked as downright treacherous when his colleague MK Yussuf Jabarin elaborated on Oudeh’s message in his own remarks at the protest.
Jabarin said, “We demand historic reconciliation that will include the return of the displaced to their original communities.”
In other words, Oudeh and Jabarin rejected Israel’s right to exist and demanded its destruction.
If their actions at the university weren’t enough, Wednesday evening Channel 2 reported that Oudeh is pushing his position to foreign governments.
According to the report, this week Oudeh met at the Knesset with visiting Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende. Before the meeting began Oudeh trounced protocol and barred Foreign Ministry representatives from participating in the meeting.
According to the report, Oudeh proclaimed that he refused to have representatives of “the occupation” present in the room. That is, he said that Israel is illegitimate.
Distressingly, the stench of the next hot war is already hovering over us.
In recent weeks the IDF revealed how Hezbollah has built a vast infrastructure of war amidst private homes in residential neighborhoods of villages along Lebanon’s border with Israel. Hamas as well can be expected to repeat its practice from last summer of launching its missiles and its fighters from apartment buildings and schools in crowded neighborhoods.
Although it should be obvious, it bears noting that Israel’s enemies’ practice of fighting behind civilians is the most barbaric form of warfare humanity has ever seen.
If the government doesn’t immediately start seriously and aggressively pushing back against the governmental and non-governmental forces in the West that seek to destroy Israel’s moral right to exist, the country as a whole will pay a huge price in lives and property. The citizens of Israel will again find ourselves targeted for mass murder as our soldiers are forced to fight with their hands tied behind their back while our leaders engage in yet more pathetic, feckless attempts to minimize libelous accusations against the IDF.
Israel has the ability to win the political war being waged against its very existence. But in order to win, our politicians and our public servants need to recognize that they too are responsible for our plight.