Netanyahu: France mulls ban on foreign mosque funds but backs groups hostile to Israel

At cabinet meeting, PM says preliminary check found support from European countries, including France, to a number of organizations that incite against and call for boycott of Israel.

July 31, 2016 11:59
2 minute read.
Hollande netanyahu

French President Francois Hollande (R) and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) at Le Bourget, near Paris, France, November 30, 2015. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Even as France considers banning foreign financing of mosques, it – along with other European countries – is financing organizations intent on harming Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the start of Sunday’s cabinet meeting.

“We intend to enter into a discussion with them [France] about this issue, because terrorism is terrorism everywhere, and incitement is incitement that encompasses the world, and the treatment needs to be unified – as much as possible – among the governments,” he said.

Netanyahu began his comments by saying Israel was shocked by the cruel murder of a priest in Normandy last week.

“I heard about a discussion that took place last week in the French government about preventing foreign money from organizations that harm French citizens,” he said. “That sounds familiar to us. We are also concerned about these types of contributions to organizations that reject Israel’s existence.”

Netanyahu said he ordered a preliminary check into the matter and found support from European countries, including France, to a number of organizations that incite against and call for a boycott of Israel, and which do not recognize the Jewish state’s right to exist.

The premier said a full investigation into the matter will be completed soon, at which time the findings will be presented to the French government.

The international media reported last week that the French government was considering banning foreign funds to mosques as part of a new policy to battle the terrorism hitting the country.

Le Monde quoted French Prime Minister Manuel Valls as saying there was a need for a “thorough review to form a new relationship with French Islam.”

The French premier was quoted as saying: “We live in a changed era and we must change our behavior. This is a revolution in our security culture.”

A spokeswoman at the French Embassy said it had not received any information from the Prime Minister’s Office regarding complaints about French money going to support organizations hostile to Israel.

NGO monitor, a Jerusalem-based organization that monitors NGOs working in Israel, issued a report in March on France, saying it provides “millions of euros to French, Palestinian and Israeli NGOs.

“Organizations receiving French funding engage in political activities and lead campaigns that are inconsistent with French foreign policy in the Middle East, which calls for a ‘two-state’ framework, and with French jurisprudence that considers anti-Israel boycotts to constitute incitement and discrimination based on nationality,” the report read.

“Funded organizations also pursue ‘lawfare’ against Israeli government officials,” it added.

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