German taxpayers funding anti-Israel hate
Despite Chancellor Merkel’s recent high-profile call to fight rising anti-Semitism, the German tax payer remains one of the leading sponsors of hate groups targeting Israel and the Jewish people. It's got to stop
A week after Chancellor Angela Merkel reaffirmed her government’s commitment to fight anti-Semitism at a landmark rally in Berlin, a lot needs to be done on the ground to stop the rising tide of anti-Semitism.
At home, German Law enforcement authorities have not only shown apathy and inaction, as in the case of the Muslim Imam in Berlin who called for the extermination of Jews, or against demonstrators in many German cities blaring anti-Semitic slogans. Police have sometimes seemed to go out of their way, allowing demonstrators to use police-megaphones and vehicles to spread the hate – as in Frankfurt and Hagen recently.
Internationally, the German tax payer remains a leading sponsor of NGOs and groups that target Israel and the Jewish people.
According to conservative estimates provided by the watchdog group NGO Monitor, between 2010 and 2014 the German government gave more than €4 million to organizations in Israel and the Palestinian territories that are actively running campaigns to demonize and delegitimize the State of Israel.
Two German political foundations alone, the Rosa Luxembourg Foundation and the Heinrich Boell Foundation, could be funneling more than €2 million worth of taxpayer’s revenue every year to such groups.
According to NGO Monitor, both of these political foundations have shown a lack of transparency in their allocation practices, making it difficult to estimate the actual amount of money going to these groups. The real figures could be even higher.
Not surprisingly, both these foundations also happen to have a long history of supporting anti-Israel campaigns in Germany.
Kerstin Müller, the Green Party politician who was active in the anti-Israel Boycott-Movement and campaigned for the labelling of Israeli goods coming into the European Union, now heads the Heinrich Boell Foundation office in Tel Aviv.
The Rosa Luxembourg Foundation is affiliated to the far-Left party “Die Linke”, successor of the East German Communist Party (SED). The Luxembourg Foundation regularly organizes events for anti-Israel activists and publishes literature promoting Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) tactics directed against Israel.
The overall figures from Europe and other Western countries are just as staggering. Between 2011 and 2014 European governments gave over €25 million to Israeli and Palestinian NGOs that are involved in de-legitimization and anti-Israel Boycott campaigns. Globally, around €100 million are granted annually to NGOs operating from Europe, North America and elsewhere that run anti-Israel campaigns.
Many NGOs receiving funding from Germany are involved in Lawfare campaigns against Israel. Using this so-called Lawfare strategy, these activist groups seek to exploit legal provisions abroad to intimidate the Israeli government and officials with civil lawsuits and investigations.
The main purpose of the exercise is to harass, bully and use courts as platforms for activism, rather than achieving any legal outcome.
However, it is even more troubling when German funding goes to groups that are blatantly anti-Semitic. German funds allocated in the name of “development projects” end up with groups that regularly use anti-Semitic themes and imagery in their campaigns.
This stream of funding coming from German and other European countries is part of a sustained campaign to put pressure on Israel, forcing it into making one-sided concessions.
It is a diplomacy driven by a childish belief that all the conflicts in the Middle East would cease to exist, if only Israel could willingly shrink itself to whatever size Arab nations are willing to allow her -- at a given point in time.
However, the geopolitical “arm-twisting” and demonization of Israel comes at a price.
Instead of lifting the level of education or developing the skills of the Palestinian youth, these groups continue to fuel the age old hostilities. And instead of helping impressionable Palestinian youth to think critically about the deficiencies in their own society and strive for real change, these groups present them with easy scapegoats in the form of Israel and the Jewish people.
This hatred of Israel has harmed Palestinian and Arab societies more than it has hurt the Israelis.
Today, when German politicians are grappling with the issue of rising anti-Semitism, it would be a good time for them to demand accountability from donor organizations and to take a closer look at the networks in Germany that fund this hate.
Recent anti-sematic riots in Germany are clearly a precursor of things to come. If migration from the Arab counties continues at the current pace, a good measure of this hate could be imported back to Germany, and that too is an issue we cannot ignore.
Vijeta Uniyal is an Indian-born analyst living in Germany
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