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 cancelled her planned trip to a Jewish National Fund conference in London. But this threat followed her once again this past week, when on her way to a conference in London she was summoned by Scotland Yard’s War Crimes unit for questioning.
Foreign governments are funding the. murder of Jews and we need to stop it.
There was no shortage of Israeli organizations that joined the fray of accusing Israel of war crimes for their activities during Operation 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 by these organizations is that they would all be affected by the “Transparency Bill,” which is going to the Knesset plenum for a vote this 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 MK 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 MK Livni is 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 of terror.
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 for foreign governments to meddle in its internal affairs and to advance a policy that undermines its very right to exist.
These delegitimization organizations are not “human rights” organizations, they are political pawns implanted in Israeli society by foreign governments in order 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 on 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.
In France for example, the Penal Code states that contacting a foreign government or a foreign organization with the intent of engaging in hostile activities towards France is punishable by 30 years of imprisonment and a fine of over 450,000 euro. Israel can learn a lesson from France’s policy of self-protection 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 someone 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 z’l 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.Matan Peleg