EU and NGO Monitor
In his uncomfortable and somewhat childlike defense of EU “human rights” policy (“What is flawed: The EU’s report on Israel or NGO Monitor’s analysis of the document?” Comment & Features, June 2), Mose Apelblat provides us with the self-evident reason the EU posture is rooted in integrity: “Israel is the only country that occupies territories and continues to build on them.”
Well there it is. And to make sure that there is no confusion about the repercussions, he recites EU policy, chapter and verse: “‘Settlements are illegal under international law [and] constitute an obstacle to peace.’” So we have been accused, tried and convicted, and all policy flows from this continuing sin of occupation.
And yet, we know that this is just not true. We know that Judea and Samaria are not “occupied territories” according to the same international law the EU quotes in order to skewer us. The problem is that while we know this, we don’t insist on it. We have become so flaccid in our self-defense that we have in effect abdicated our positions and let others supply the “facts.” For this, we have no one to blame but ourselves.
Our adversaries show remarkable persistence in staying on message, insisting on the definitional correctness of their point of view, even for patently absurd positions. And guess what? The world adopts them.
We, who have fact and reality on our side, are more interested in managing, contextualizing and controlling, but not in defending, exhorting and proclaiming the legality, justice and correctness of our positions and policies.
This must change. Perhaps Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely is just the person to begin this desperately needed renaissance of truth.
DOUGLAS ALTABEF Rosh Pina
Mose Apelblat misrepresents NGO Monitor’s position on foreign funding of Israeli NGOs and our critique of the EU’s deeply flawed approach to Israel.
NGO Monitor has consistently emphasized the need for transparency in European government funding for NGOs, in particular Israeli NGOs that are politically active in democratic frameworks.
Initiatives and labels that go beyond transparency and accountability are ineffective, if not counterproductive.
In addition, NGO Monitor’s evaluation of key EU policy documents shows a series of double standards applied to Israel.
First, in the “European neighborhood” country reports, Israel is the only country with a special chapter devoted to its responsibilities under international law. Yet other countries are involved in territorial disputes and ongoing conflicts.
Second, the EU cites uncritically a selective group of politicized, EU-funded NGOs. The EU lacks the capacity to confirm the data provided, and it ignores information from civil society groups that do not share prevailing European sentiments about Israel.
More fundamentally and reflecting the adoption of a Palestinian, anti-Israel narrative, the EU repeatedly disregards or downplays the nationalistically motivated killing of Jewish people. The same EU report that details the despicable and inexcusable murder of the Palestinian teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir and other violence by Israelis omits any mention of the Har Nof synagogue massacre or the numerous casualties resulting from deliberate Palestinian vehicular attacks, stabbings, and shootings.
The EU, in both its funding of NGOs and its understanding and portrayals of Israeli society, needs to be more judicious.
SHAUN SACKS Jerusalem The writer heads NGO Monitor’s Europe Desk.Uplifting report
Thank you, Judy Siegel-Itzkovich, for that wonderful reporting on the IDF field hospital in Nepal (“Small country, big heart, warm hands,” Health & Science, May 31). It was uplifting and made one feel proud to be part of this wonderful country.
All those people, so dedicated and selflessly giving of their time and knowledge to help people in distress, and all this being done only to be humane, and not for any ulterior motive! This article should appear on the desks of the head of the UN Human Rights Council and other organizations that see only the bad side of Israel and wait to accuse us of human rights violations at the drop of a hat.
Israel is always among the first to help out in natural disasters anywhere and everywhere. To think that out of 1,600 patients seen in three weeks, only three lost their lives? How commendable! Thank you to all those wonderful men and women who brought such honor to Israel and hope to the people of Nepal.
VICKY SCHER Jerusalem Serious reforms needed
The recent confluence of two unrelated events reminded me of a development in Australia in the 1970s that is probably largely unknown to American and European readers, but which suggests to me that we could learn a valuable lesson and benefit if it were applied today.
The two events are the revelations of deep-running and pervasive corruption in the monolithic world soccer body FIFA, and the blatant politicization of the governing council of Jewry in Israel, the Chief Rabbinate, in its attempt to block the extension of Rabbi Shlomo Riskin as chief rabbi of Efrat. In both instances, we see examples of cabals exercising overarching control in the pretense of governing, all without proper constraints and while clearly being in themselves wholly corrupt.
In 1970, the central controlling body of Australian cricket was performing in exactly the same way we see FIFA today, operating without external answerability for its behavior and blatantly awarding profitable contracts to third parties for the purpose of kickbacks. The answer to this was provided by TV channel owner Kerry Packer, who simply bypassed the whole structure and set up a parallel, open and fair competition for which he was prepared to fight, with publicity and money, all the way to the High Court.
Since then, world cricket has become a much fairer and more popular sport with as many as a billion fans and supporters.
Clearly, soccer needs to get rid of the whole structure of FIFA.
Who will be its Kerry Packer? And Israel needs to get rid of the Chief Rabbinate. Who will be our Kerry Packer?
HENRY KAYE AshkelonNaive fool
After reading Caroline B. Glick’s “Barack Obama’s anti-Semitism test” (Column One, May 29), I’ve concluded that my president is clueless on leadership qualities.
It doesn’t matter if he’s anti-Semitic or not. President Obama has proven to be a naive fool who should not be commander- in chief of anything. His policies toward Israel have put the region in great danger and encouraged disrespect of our democratic foundation.
The first and only order of business he should focus on right now should be the annihilation of Islamic State, Hamas and their ilk. You can’t make a pact with the devil and expect him to own up to it. In this case, Iran, Iraq and the rest of the Israel- haters are indeed the devil.
I, for one, look forward to the 2016 elections, when we will say good riddance to one of the weakest presidents in the history of our nation. On the other hand, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has shown extraordinary restraint and leadership through these perilous times.
I pray for a peaceful solution to the current Middle East carnage.
HERBERT W. STARK Mooresville, North Carolina The beautiful Israel
I recently saw the beautiful Israel. A school bus driver had the radio on when he stopped to let kids off from school. All the children inside and getting off were singing along.
JESSICA FISCHER Michmoret
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