According to a news story in the Jerusalem Post (February 27, 2013), the Israeli political advocacy NGO Breaking the Silence was responsible for leaking the latest internal EU document condemning Israeli policy. The “EU Heads of Mission Jerusalem Report 2012,” which recommends various sanctions against Israel, was not shared with the Israeli government. Many of the claims and conclusions in it are based on non-verified statements and prejudicial opinions of NGOs, which themselves receive funding from the EU and European governments.
This highly irregular EU practice stands in stark contrast to good governance standards, which require consultation of a wide spectrum of political positions and expertise when formulating policy.
This episode, like numerous other instances of leaked internal EU documents, highlights the inappropriate relationship between European funders and their NGO grantees, which violates democratic and diplomatic norms. The secret cooperation between the EU and fringe NGOs produces damaging and ill-informed policies. This “echo chamber,” whereby the EU and European governments fund NGOs and then repeat their false, inaccurate, or misleading allegations in determining foreign policy, also exacerbates conflict between the EU and Israeli consensus positions.
NGO Monitor notes that Breaking the Silence was awarded a €166,538 grant from the EU for 2012-2013. It is unknown which other European-funded NGOs also had access to this internal EU document.
As seen in NGO Monitor’s freedom of information lawsuit against the EU, these are the same secretive backroom dealings that characterize the EU’s non-transparent NGO funding decision making.
Reportedly, in the next few weeks the EU will embark on a new Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative. However, the anti-diplomacy seen in the secretive cooperation with NGOs, behind the back of the Israeli government, threatens to further erode the EU’s credibility within Israel.
NGO Monitor (www.ngo-monitor.org), based in Jerusalem, was founded to promote critical debate and accountability regarding the political activities of non-governmental organizations claiming a human rights agenda that are active in the Arab-Israel conflict. NGO Monitor’s independent research reports and analysis are quoted frequently in the press, academic publications, by NGO officials and donors, and in governmental and parliamentary discussions.