Earlier this month NGO Monitor released its report on foreign government funding of radical political Israeli NGOs which work to undermine Israel’s international standing and subvert Israeli society. Along with the usual European suspects who give millions of shekels (or Euros or pounds) to Israeli groups like this, it works out that the US government is also funding extremely radical organizations, courtesy of American taxpayers. Notably, the three groups that reported receiving funding from the US are all in the business of waging political warfare campaigns directed at the Israeli public.
According to the report, in accordance with the NGO Transparency Law which requires NGOs to report on donations received from foreign governments, three Israeli NGOs received funding from the US.
Keshev, a radical leftist “media watchdog” group run by some of Israel’s most outspoken, and radical journalists and writers received NIS 492,452 in direct aid from the US government. To understand how subversive Keshev is, it suffices to note that they criticized the Israeli media for rushing to judgment about Fatah’s unity deal with Hamas. That is, the group the US supports believes we should not criticize Fatah for joining forces with a genocidal jihadist movement committed to the obliteration of Israel that is in cahoots with the Iranians.
Through Catholic Relief Services,the US also gave NIS 220,304 to the anti-Israel pressure group B’Tselem. The money was used to fund B’Tselem’s video project. B’tselem’s video project involves the distribution of video cameras to Palestinians to film snuff films that portry Israelis as aggressive bullies who seek to harm the Palestinians for no reason.
Finally, the US government donated NIS 15,474 through the Foundation for Middle East Peace to the far left internet outlet Social TV. To a certain degree, Social TV can be — and has been — portrayed as the anti-Zionist answer to Latma, the Hebrew-language media criticism site that I run. But Latma is wholly funded by private contributors and foundations.
It would have never occurred to me to ask a foreign government to fund the project. It never would have occurred to me to ask a foreign government to get into the media watchdog game in Israel. But then, from reading the report it is clear that the aim of the US government is not, in fact to help Israeli media outlets do a better job reporting on events. Rather, the report indicates that the US government has decided to use radical Israeli NGOs to wage political warfare in Israel. The aim of this campaign is to convince the public that Israel is to blame for the absence of peace with our neighbors.
It is worth noting that through US Embassy cables published by Wikileakswe learned from B’Tselem’s Executive Director Jessica Montell that B’Tselem is almost entirely dependent on foreign governmental assistance. She said that 95 percent of B’tselem’s budget is paid for by foreign governments. Montell told her interlocutor at the Embassy that B’Tselem wished to engender an international climate of hostility towards Israel that would make Israeli leaders fear the international response to IDF operations against Palestinian terror campaign so much that they would fear taking action. The cable was written after Operation Cast Lead. B’Tselem was one of the Israeli NGOs that told the Goldstone Commission Israel had committed war crimes in Gaza.
According to the leaked cable:
She [Montell] wanted the highest level decision-makers held accountable for the decisions they made on how to prosecute the conflict, including, Military Advocate Gneral (MAG) [BG Avi] Mandelblit…Her aim she said, was to make Israel weigh world opinion and consider whether it could “afford another operation like this.”
The Israeli media itself is already controlled in large part by the far Left. Channel 2 news and the station’s flagship satire program “Eretz Nehederet” played a huge role in shaping public perceptions in the last elections. Both worked overtime trying to demonize Naftali Bennett and the Jewish Home Party. This they did after they worked overtime demonizing the winners of Likud’s party primaries as right wing extremists. Muli Segev, Eretz Nehederet’s editor in chief bragged in an interview in Haaretz that his show was directly responsible for the party’s loss of several Knesset seats.
The media’s overwhelming far left bias has been on shocking display this week with their wall-to-wall coverage of the story of the prison suicide of suspected traitor Benjamin Zygier. This man was apparently a double agent, a turncoat. He was imprisoned under a false name, as agreed to by him, his attorneys and his family. He killed himself. His body was sent to his family in Australia for burial. End of story.
Who cares about him? He was a traitor.
The entire story was brought to light because three radical post-Zionist and anti-Zionist members of Knesset abused their parliamentary immunity to announce on live television what the military censor had, for reasons of national security placed a gag order on. That is, by covering this story — and for the past two days, Channel 2, which has a monopoly share of the prime time news ratings — has devoted half of its broadcast time to the story — the media is dancing to the tune dictated by the most radical leftist forces in Israeli politics. It is a travesty.
But apparently, the State Department thinks this anti-Israel activism posing as the local media is insufficiently pro-Arab. And so it is funding these even more radical Israeli pressure groups.