January 27: Look outward
In the same period 90 grants for democracy and human rights projects were provided to fund projects submitted by Israeli civil society organizations.
Letters Photo: REUTERS
Sir, – With regard to “Netanyahu, Lapid begin effort to form
coalition” (January 24), last week’s general election was the first in recent
memory that was decided by a middle-class electorate whose primary concern is
quality of life and economic policies. This, while Iran continues to develop
long-range atomic weaponry and generously shares its shorter-range conventional
stockpile with Hezbollah to our north and Hamas to our south, and while a daily
terrorist threat continues to challenge our security forces throughout Judea and
The election’s outcome has possibly compromised Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu’s ability to implement the security measures that are
necessary to continue to protect our country on all fronts, successful measures
that seem to have engendered the illusion of safety and allow us to focus our
concerns on domestic matters.
I hope for Israel’s sake that this is not
Opening the window
Sir, – Yitzhak Santis
(“Opening the door on EU funding,” Comment & Features, January 23) throws
out a number of unsubstantiated statements that need correcting.
writes: “A central element of EU foreign policy is its funding of NGOs in
Israel, the West Bank and Gaza....” Santis insinuates that this funding
specifically targets Israel.
In fact, the EU supports human rights and
peace projects all over the world. He fails to explain why human rights projects
may be funded by the EU in the US, Russia or India, or why peace projects may be
supported in Northern Ireland and Cyprus (itself an EU member), but not in
Israel or the West Bank.
Santis also claims that since 2001 his
organization has “documented the transfer of over one hundred million euros from
the EU and various European governments to scores of NGOs carrying out the
First, I would like to stress that EU funding has no
connection whatsoever with the so-called Durban Strategy, and I would like to
protest this implied linkage.
Second, in the 12-year period (1999-2011)
under the EU Partnership for Peace Program, 158 grants were provided to projects
implemented by Israeli, Palestinian, Jordanian and European organizations. The
total budget for 1999-2011 was approximately ¤61 million.
In the same
period 90 grants for democracy and human rights projects were provided to fund
projects submitted by Israeli civil society organizations, with a total budget
of just over ¤17 million. Hence, in total, EU funding under these programs over
this period (which includes grants to non-Israeli organizations under
Partnership for Peace) amounted to ¤78 million for 236 projects, the
overwhelming majority of which do not appear on NGO Monitor’s black
How “scores” of projects could add up to 100 million euros in a
similar period therefore remains a mystery. And later, “over one hundred
million” becomes “hundreds of millions of euros in taxpayer funds [that are] are
For the benefit of Santis and anyone else, this
“secret” information is readily available on the “List of Projects” page on the
website of the Delegation of the European Union to the State of Israel. For
every project funded by the EU, the list gives the name of the project; the name
of the implementing organization; the size of the grant and its proportion
compared to the total budget of the project; a description of the project; and
the precise duration of the project.
heads the Delegation of the European Union to the State of Israel
Sir, – Yitzhak
Santis cites the Israel Committee against Home Demolitions (ICAHD) as “a radical
Israeli NGO that promotes a ‘one-state’ solution.” He names it as an example of
“scores of NGOs carrying out the Durban Strategy.”
This is unjust. The
Durban Strategy is to delegitimize, demonize and isolate Israel.
not in this category. It is trying to stop the Israeli government from carrying
out cruel and inhuman punishment.
In a democratic state people and groups
are allowed to oppose their government’s policies within legal limits. Even
though ICAHD’s exposure of home demolitions is painful to our feelings and makes
our government look bad, the exposure is legitimate and legal.
should not be classed with the virulent so-called Durban strategists who want to
wipe the State of Israel off the map.
Sir, – Islam has increasingly entrenched itself in Europe’s strategic nerve
centers, aiming to impose religious social and political rules on passive,
submissive, politically correct citizens, intimidating and insulting those who
do not adhere to its values (“Muslim ‘modesty patrol’ stalking streets of
London,” January 22).
Where is the outrage or, at the very least, an
effective backlash emanating from proudly British Londoners, whose sheer
effrontery and exuberance so impressed me back in the 1960s? The dhimmi policies
of submission, humiliation, anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism, together with
appeasement and conciliatory governance shown by Western politicians and their
socalled intellectual elites within the media, are a forewarning of hazardous
GISH TRUMAN ROBBINS
Far from home
Sir, – In
“Palestinian study: Allow population of Gaza Strip to expand into Sinai”
(January 22), Khaled Abu Toameh quotes Egyptian columnist Ahmad Naguid Roushdy
as saying: “The Egyptian government should force any Palestinians in Sinai now
to return to where they came from.”
The vast majority of the nonrefugee
population of the current Gaza Strip, and also of the refugee population from
the coastal area as far north as Ashkelon and Ashdod, are descendents of
Egyptian peasants from the Nile Delta who were settled there by Ibrahim Pasha in
the 1830s in what had previously been a very sparsely populated area. Common
Palestinian surnames such as Masri (Egyptian) or Hindi (Indian) are perhaps the
clearest indicator of their non-indigenous origin.
Given this history,
the implications of the Egyptians’ reaction might be exactly the opposite of
their real intent.
MARTIN D. STERN
With regard to “Ukrainian far-Right party attempting to lose anti-Semitic image”
(January 21), contrary to Yuri Syrotyuk’s statement that there have “never been
any anti- Semitic calls or actions by Svoboda,” party leader Oleg Tyahnybok and
other Svoboda members have made anti- Semitic remarks on many
Svoboda members have called Jews an enemy of the Ukrainian
nation, opposed the annual pilgrimage of Breslov Hassids to the grave of Rabbi
Nachman in Uman, and called for a commemoration of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army,
which fought alongside the Nazis. Several members of Svoboda have been linked to
violent anti- Semitic attacks.
While Syrotyuk claims that the word “zhyd”
has “never had a negative or offensive connotation,” the term is considered
offensive by Ukrainian Jews. The use of this derogatory, racist term is
Until Svoboda’s members demonstrate their commitment to
tolerance and a pluralistic society, NCSJ, the National Conference on Soviet
Jewry, will continue to insist that Ukrainian authorities and the political
opposition denounce and distance themselves from Svoboda.
MARK B. LEVIN
The writer is executive director of NCSJ