The French Revolution

Only a sick democracy allows foreign governments to meddle in its internal affairs and advance a policy that undermines its very right to exist.

Former foreign minister Tzipi Livni of the Zionist Union addresses a conference in New York (photo credit: REUTERS)
Former foreign minister Tzipi Livni of the Zionist Union addresses a conference in New York
(photo credit: REUTERS)
In December 2009, a British court issued a warrant for the arrest of then foreign minister Tzipi Livni over alleged war crimes committed by the Israeli government during Operation Cast Lead. Consequently, Livni decided not to take any chances and canceled her planned trip to a Jewish National Fund conference in London. But this threat followed her once again this past Sunday, when on her way to a conference in London she was summoned by Scotland Yard’s War Crimes unit for questioning.
There was no shortage of Israeli organizations that joined the fray of accusing Israel of war crimes for its activities during Cast Lead. Some were gathered under the umbrella organization Coalition of Women for Peace, and some, like Zochrot and Israel Social TV, acted alone.
These organizations receive funding from foreign political entities and governments including Holland, Germany, Norway and the European Union. This foreign funding is used to accuse Israel on a daily basis of war crimes, apartheid, ethnic cleansing and more. These funds also promote a policy of boycott against Israel, and represent the clear product of the campaign of delegitimization and dehumanization against Israel.
Another common denominator shared between these organizations is that they would all be affected by the Transparency Bill, which is going to the Knesset plenum for a vote next week. Given this, it is surprising to discover that the very person leading the opposition against this bill is none other than MK Tzipi Livni, who almost spent the night in a London prison cell because of these very organizations.
Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in a while, and this week Livni sounded very different when speaking in London: “The British legal system unfortunately is being abused by those who seek to blur the moral distinction between those fighting terror and those defending it, and we cannot accept that, especially because of the good relations between our countries and the partnership of values and interests.”
At the same time Livni is assuming the role of savior of democracy and freedom by condemning those who seek to convict her and other Israeli officials by circumventing the Israeli judicial system and turning to international tribunals, she is voicing the complete opposite view in Israel. In the UK, and only in the UK, Livni seems to understand and recognize the problems of such organizations engaging in lawfare against a democratic state that is fighting a war against terrorists.
Livni and her colleagues from the Zionist Left must understand that this “British problem” is nothing compared to the problem in Israel. Only a sick democracy allows foreign governments to meddle in its internal affairs and advance a policy that undermines its very right to exist.
These delegitimization organizations are not “human rights” organizations, rather they are political pawns implanted in Israeli society by foreign governments to serve their interests. This objective was best illustrated by Britain’s former minister of Middle East affairs, Alistair Burt, who noted: “Since we began supporting these programs some significant changes have been made in the Israeli justice system, both civilian and military, and in the decisions they make.”
It is the right and the obligation of the Knesset to institute transparency laws governing organizations that receive the majority of their funding from foreign governments, the very same organizations that were leading the calls to convict Livni and other Israeli officials for alleged war crimes. The Transparency Bill is just a drop in the bucket of the parliamentary action needed to halt this anti-democratic intrusion.
Take France, for example, whose Penal Code states that contacting a foreign government or a foreign organization with the intent of engaging in hostile activities toward France is punishable by 30 years’ imprisonment and a fine of over 450,000 euros. Israel should also be wise enough to protect itself and see to it that the right to freedom of expression is not distorted into the right to freedom of incitement.
Tzipi Livni above all else symbolizes one who suffers from a severe case of Stockholm syndrome, as she has been leading the charge against the bill that seeks to defend Israeli democracy from foreign persecution and arrests. In one of the Knesset committees discussing the bill, Devorah Gonen, a bereaved mother whose son Danny was murdered last year by terrorists, expressed the sentiment shared by many other bereaved families: “Foreign governments are funding the murder of Jews and we need to stop it.”
It would be wise for the leader of the Hatnuah Party to understand this and stop defending those who are advocating for her arrest. If not for her own sake, then at least for the sake of Israeli democracy and sovereignty.
The author is CEO of Im Tirtzu.