On 19 October 2021, Israel’s Minister of Defense, Benny Gantz, designated six Palestinian NGOs as “terrorist organizations” closely linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), one of the most vicious and bloody-handed of the numerous terrorist groups at war with the State of Israel. The PFLP has been wholly or partly responsible for some of the most horrific episodes in Israel’s history. These date back to the late 1960s; more recently they include the 2001 murder of Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze’evi, the 2014 attack on a synagogue in the Har Nof neighborhood of Jerusalem in which four rabbis and a police officer were murdered, and the 2011 murder of five members of the Fogel family. In 2019, the PFLP murdered 17-year old Rina Shnerb with a roadside bomb.
The NGOs “provided a funding ‘lifeline’ for the PFLP, employed PFLP terrorists, and … PFLP terror operatives used NGO offices for meetings,” according to Israeli security officials. In addition to the detailed classified (to protect sources) information behind the decision, there is a great deal of publicly available evidence collected by the NGO Monitor organization for these and seven other NGOs which share members with the PFLP and channel funds to it. Of the 13 organizations mentioned by NGO Monitor, they “identified over 70 staff and board members, as well as other officials who hold positions in both the NGOs and the PFLP.” One of them, Samer Arbid, worked as an accountant for one of the banned NGOs, Adameer. In his spare time he was the leader of the cell that murdered Rina Shnerb.
The organizations get most of their money from individual European governments, the EU, the UN, large “humanitarian” funds like the Rockefeller Brothers Fund in the US and Oxfam in Europe, various Soros-related funds, and so on.
The terrorist designation means that Israeli authorities can close their offices, seize their assets, and prevent them from raising funds. Membership in them becomes illegal.
The announcement brought forth a flood of accusations and denunciations of Israel from every corner, including the European Union, anti-Israel members of the US Congress, the major “human rights” organizations, multiple anti-Israel groups in the US like J Street and Jewish Voice for Peace, some left-wing members of Israel’s Knesset, and numerous others. US State Department spokesperson, Ned Price, said that Israel had not informed the US of its intentions or provided documentation of its charges. He added that “[w]e believe respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms, and a strong civil society are critically important for responsible and responsive governance … [we will] be engaging our Israeli partners for more information regarding the basis for these designations.”
Israel credibly responded that it had informed the State Department, and then sent another delegation to the US to present further evidence.
Leaving aside the question of whether Israel is required to inform the US before it takes any substantive action, even without classified information, the publicly available evidence presented by NGO Monitor should suffice. The reaction of the State Department is a troubling sign of its lack of respect for the Jewish state.
Even if these NGOs weren’t funneling large sums of money to actual terrorist murderers, they are hostile to the state. One of them, Adameer, which receives money from Ireland, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, and the German Heinrich Boll Foundation, “is a leader of campaigns in support of Palestinian prisoners convicted of security offenses, referring to them as ‘political prisoners’ and altogether omitting the context of violence and terror.” Another, Al Haq is a “leader in anti-Israel ‘lawfare’ and BDS … campaigns” as well as having been an “active participant” in the 2001 Durban Conference that promoted “the complete international isolation and demonization of Israel.”
It’s hard to imagine any other country permitting subversive, foreign-funded organizations like these to operate freely in their sovereign territory. But even Israel draws the line when money collected to promote human rights goes directly into the hands of murderers.
One of the reasons for the almost universal condemnation of Gantz’ action was the enormous clout of the funders of these NGOs, who are committed to the idea that they are advancing their political objectives without directly killing anybody. Many Europeans would be happy if Israel would change from the nation-state of the Jewish people into a “state of its citizens,” perhaps with a right of return for the descendants of Arab refugees; but few would admit (at least, out loud) that this would unavoidably be a violent process, and even fewer that they favor such violence. Gantz essentially called them out.
These six NGOs make up a small part of a massive anti-Israel industry, which operates throughout the world. This industry is nourished from several main sources: Arab and other Muslim countries, Europe, and the American and international Left. Its components range from the fake “pro-Israel” J Street, to the terrorists of the PFLP and Hamas. Those who contribute resources or time to it vary in their understanding of the ultimate goal of the enterprise, which is not essentially different from those of Haman or Hitler. But the action taken by Israel rips the veil from not only these six NGOs, but of those behind them, in Europe and elsewhere.
Those who suck at the tit of European funding, for example, include numerous left-wing Israeli groups which, one hopes, at least believe that they want to improve the state rather than destroying it. Nevertheless they must express outrage because otherwise they will have to face up to the fact that they are naught but useful idiots.
The American government, too, especially with the Biden Administration in charge, is riddled with anti-Israel elements. They too vary from the more moderate elements who favor the impossible “2-state solution” but think (illogically) that Israel should still continue to exist, to the Rob Malley types who believe that the Jewish state was a mistake that should be corrected.
The crackdown on these groups was long overdue. Like the reopening of the Jerusalem consulate to the Palestinians, it is an issue that will bring massive pressure on Israel to reverse its correct decision. At the same time, it too is an issue that directly bears on whether Israel is a sovereign state or a banana republic.