ZOA disagrees with AJ Committees opposition
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) supports the Israeli governments formation of a Knesset committee to investigate the funding of Israeli groups that condemn the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and assist foreign campaigns seeking to delegitimize and demonize Israel. The parliamentary committee will be charged with determining if the groups in question are funded by foreign countries or by other organizations with links to terrorism. The ZOA regards this inquiry as being particularly necessary at a time when a full-scale international campaign is being conducted to delegitimize Israel. Moreover, the inquiry legitimately seeks to ascertain the extent and nature of foreign funding of these groups; it is not charged with any plans for closing down these groups. The ZOA believes that Israeli-based groups which receive substantial foreign funding should be required to register and be exposed as foreign agents.
The American Jewish Committee (AJC) has opposed this step, saying it goes against Israels democratic traditions (Rethink probe of groups, AJC urges Knesset, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, January 6, 2011). The ZOA strongly disagrees and has pointed out that, on the contrary, democratic transparency demands that the funding and supporters of these groups and their actions be made public by a proper parliamentary inquiry.
The groups concerned include the extremist, left-wing groups BTselem, Yesh Din and Peace Now, all of which have records of disseminating false stories of Jewish atrocities and hostile acts against Palestinians, lending them, as Israeli groups, a credence that enables the international media to parrot their claims relentlessly.
Information already public reveals that BTselem instance receives funding from the British, Swiss, and Irish governments, Christian Aid, the Ford Foundation, DanChurchAid, (funded by the Danish Government), Diakonia, (funded by the Swedish and Norwegian governments and the EU), Trócaire, (funded by the Irish and UK governments),and others. Yesh Din, which specializes in conducting domestic lawfare against the IDF is funded by the Irish, Dutch, British, German, and Norwegian governments, the EU, and George Soros’ Open Society Institute. Thus, some of these groups are actually funded by foreign governments (Caroline Glick, Agents of Influence, Jerusalem Post, January 7, 2011).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, The American Jewish Committee is mistaken to see any sort of assault on Israels democratic traditions by a Knesset investigation of the funding sources of these groups and their foreign backers. Some of the groups opposed to being investigated have also protested McCarthyite tactics and alleged that democracy is imperiled, a claim unwisely picked up by the American Jewish Committee. Nothing could be further from the truth. To the contrary, anything that results in obliging these groups to reveal their sources of funding and their foreign associations is of democratic service.
The AJC proposes that organizations across the political spectrum be required to make full disclosure of the sources of their revenue, but this is precisely what has not occurred until now. Until a Knesset committee examines the issue, it will not be clear precisely what form new legislation or new regulations must take in order to be effective in realizing this aim.
We need to appreciate that these groups appear to function as they do because of the support of Israelis, but because of substantial international funding by groups with an agenda of delegitimizing Israel. For example, BTselem and 15 other Israeli NGOs all funded by the New Israel Fund and foreign governments lobbied the UN Human Rights Council to appoint the Goldstone Commission into the Gaza hostilities of December 2008 January 2009, which parroted many of its falsifications and tortured legal reasoning. This Report has done great harm to Israel.
These groups have also shown clearly by their actions that despite their protestations of seeking to serve Israel democracy, they actually seek to bypass Israeli democratic institutions and the Israeli public square by pressing for international pressure on Israel and its democratically elected government by corrupt, dictatorship-dominated bodies like the U.N. Human Rights Council.
We also know that most Israelis regard the activity of some of these groups as often damaging. For example, two polls last year showed that a large plurality of Israelis and a majority of Israelis respectively regarded the activities of Peace Now to be damaging to Israel. Clearly, the Israeli public believes they are serving something other than the health and vibrancy of Israeli society and institutions. We applaud the Israeli government taking steps to investigate and shine light on these groups funding and connections. As the great leader of American Zionism and a past president of the ZOA, Justice Louis Brandeis, famously said, Light is the best disinfectant.