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October 31, 2014 / 7 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘NGO’

How the EU Will Reverse Itself, in Three Easy Steps

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

Yesterday’s announcement by the European Union, to block funding to any organization that has direct or indirect ties over the Green Line (Jerusalem, Golan, Judea and Samaria), unless they are a leftwing organization, has shocked Israel.

The overt anti-Semitism, the transparent politicization, and the blatant chutzpa took Israel by surprise. Worse, at first it felt as if Israel were trapped in a corner with no options to respond.

But reality is different.

The EU is in bad shape. It has economic problems, social problems, and credibility problems.

With its most recent action, the EU overplayed its hand, not considering the backlash the decision could cause.

Some responses Israel may choose would hurt the EU quite a bit.

THE PEACE PROCESS

In March 2012, following a UN attack on Israel that went too far, Israel announced a boycott of the UN Human Rights Council, declaring it a “superfluous and extravagant body” that Israel would have no connection to anymore.

This caused an earthquake in the UN, and it still threatens to destroy the credibility and legitimacy of the council.

Most importantly, Israel’s declaration has forced the HRC to take clear steps to correct itself.

The first action Israel must take here as well is the most obvious one: the EU craves legitimacy on the international stage. With wildcat strikes hitting Greece, Spain, and Portugal, to name but three ailing EU members, the organization must prove it is relevant and credible.

Israel should expel the EU from the Peace Process.

Israel should declare—something Prime Minister Netanyahu was hinting at in his Tuesday night statement—that the EU and all its member states will no longer be considered honest brokers, and no Israeli official will meet with them on any issue related to the Peace Process. It only takes a simple statement, and it will be enough to cause them to capitulate.

Any member state wishing to be included in the peace process must sign a statement that the territories of east Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights are in dispute and their fate will be determined through direct negotiations. It must also commit to disregarding the EU directive regarding those same territories.

Be firm and consistent – they will fold.

Israel is an important trade partner with Europe, and its third largest trade partner in the region following the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Israel buys from Europe more than it sells. A retaliatory trade war and boycott in response to their expulsion from the Peace Process would hurt the already flailing European economy, it’s the last thing they want, and not a step they would take in response.

DIVIDE AND CONQUOR

Next Israel must immediately pass the Foreign Agents Act, with an additional stipulation.

As the EU’s declaration makes it clear that they will now only be financially supporting NGOs on the far left, Israel must make it clear that any NGOs receiving EU funding are de facto foreign agents. These NGOs fund raising will be curtailed, their access to Israeli government officials would be restricted, and their entry into the Knesset will be forbidden.

Watch the left wing NGOs quietly pressuring the EU to back off their directive.

All it takes is a firm conviction on our part.

REPLACEMENT THERAPY

The third step is financial.

The EU invested close to 1 billion dollars in research grants and investments, some of which could now be lost.

Israel should approach private, patriotic wealthy Jews — Sheldon Adelson, who put his money where his mouth was this past U.S. election, comes to mind — to pick up the slack. In return, those who invest in Israeli research will reap the benefits in royalties, shared patent ownership and so on. They could stand to make a lot of money.

Stand your ground, don’t blink, they’ll blink first.

Egypt Convicts 43 American NGO Workers

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

An Egyptian court on Tuesday convicted 43 employees of NGOs in Egypt, including 19 Americans, of using foreign funds to incite violence in the country.

The workers were sentenced to jail terms of one to five years and fines. Most of the American workers, including Sam LaHood, the son of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, had already left the country.

Sam LaHood worked as director of the Egyptian program for the International Republican Institute, a nongovernmental organization with close ties to the Republican congressional leadership.

The verdict also ordered the closure and seizure of the offices and assets in Egypt belonging to the nonprofit groups. Along with LaHood’s group, the other American NGOs are the National Democratic Institute and Freedom House, a center for training journalists.

The crackdown on the groups, which also included Germany’s Konrad Adenauer Foundation, began in December 2011 while Egypt was under military rule following the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.

Man Who Found Majdi Halbi Wants His Reward

Monday, October 15th, 2012

Ibrahim Kozli, the man that found the body of missing Druze soldier Majdi Halbi is demanding the NIS 10 million reward that the organization “Born to Be Free” (L’Chofesh Nolad) was offering for information leading to his (and other missing soldiers) being found.

“Born to Be Free” was established as an NGO in 2004 by former military personnel and public figures, with the goal of locating all of Israel’s missing soldiers.

One of their main tools was advertising in Arab countries and territories a NIS 10 million reward for information leading to the finding and return of the missing IDF soldiers.

In 2011, the Israeli government decided to stop funding the NGO, which they had been doing at the cost of NIS 11 million per year. It was decided that the NGO was not bringing in results – information leading to the missing soldiers.

In 2012, the NGO announced that it was shutting down for financial reasons.

This greatly upset the families of the missing soldiers at the time, and the government stated that they were still searching for the missing soldiers using other means.

Related story: Remains of Druze-Israeli Soldier Missing for Seven Years Identified

How to Write About Israel

Sunday, May 20th, 2012

http://sultanknish.blogspot.com/2012/05/how-to-write-about-israel.html

Writing about Israel is a booming field. No news agency, be it ever so humble, can avoid embedding a few correspondents and a dog’s tail of stringers into Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, to sit in cafes clicking away on their laptops, meeting up with leftist NGO’s and the oppressed Muslim of the week.

At a time when international desks are being cut to the bone, this is the one bone that the newshounds won’t give up. Wars can be covered from thousands of miles away, genocide can go to the back page, but, when a rock flies in the West Bank, there had better be a correspondent with a fake continental accent and a khaki shirt to cover it.

Writing about Israel isn’t hard. Anyone who has consumed a steady diet of media over the years already knows all the bullet points. The trick is arranging them artistically, like so many wilted flowers, in the story of this week’s outrage.

Israel is hot, even in the winter, with the suggestion of violence brimming under the surface. It should be described as a “troubled land.” Throw in occasional ironic biblical references and end every article or broadcast by emphasizing that peace is still far away.

It has two types of people: the Israelis who live in posh houses stocked with all the latest appliances and the Arabs who live in crumbling shacks that are always in danger of being bulldozed. The Israelis are fanatical, the Arabs are passionate. The Israelis are hate-filled, while the Arabs are embittered. The Israelis have everything while the Arabs have nothing.

Avoid mentioning all the mansions that you pass on the way to interviewing some Palestinian Authority or Hamas bigwig. When visiting a terrorist prisoner in an Israeli jail, be sure to call him a militant, somewhere in the fifth paragraph, but do not mention the sheer amount of food in the prison, especially if he is on a hunger strike. If you happen to notice that the prisoners live better than most Israelis, that is something you will not refer to. Instead describe them as passionate and embittered. Never ask them how many children they killed or how much they make a month. Ask them what they think the prospects for peace are. Nod knowingly when they say that it’s up to Israel.

Weigh every story one way. Depersonalize Israelis, personalize Muslims. One is a statistic, the other a precious snowflake. A Muslim terrorist attack is always in retaliation for something, but an Israeli attack is rarely a retaliation for anything. When Israeli planes bomb a terrorist hideout, suggest that this latest action only feeds the “Cycle of Violence” and quote some official who urges Israel to return to peace negotiations– whether or not there actually are any negotiations to return to.

Center everything around peace negotiations. If Israel has any domestic politics that don’t involve checkpoints and air strikes, do your best to avoid learning about them. Frame all Israeli politics by asking whether a politician is finally willing to make the compromises that you think are necessary for peace. Always sigh regretfully and find them wanting. Assume that all Israelis think the same way. Every vote is a referendum on the peace process. A vote for a conservative party means that Israelis hate peace.

The Israelis can also be divided into two categories. There are the good Israelis, who wear glasses, own iPads and live in trendy neighborhoods. They are very concerned that the country is losing its soul by oppressing another people. They strum out-of-date American peace songs on guitars that they play badly, but which you will describe them as playing “soulfully,” and they show up at rallies demanding that the government make peace with the Palestinians.

Your good Israelis invariably volunteer or work for some NGO, a fact that you may or may not mention in your article, but you are not to discuss who funds their NGO, particularly if it’s a foreign government. Write about them as if they are the hope of an otherwise brutish and unreasonable Israel too obsessed with killing and destroying to listen to the hopeful voices of its children.

When writing about them, act as if they are representative of the country’s youth and its best and brightest, which for all you know they might be, because you rarely meet anyone who isn’t like them, because you rarely meet anyone who isn’t like you. When you do it’s either a taxi driver, repairman or some working-class fellow whom you have nothing in common with, and who turns out to be a raving militant when it comes to the terrorism question.

‘Next Year In Jerusalem’ Doesn’t Have To Be A Meaningless Cliché

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Often, upon returning home to Israel after a speaking tour in North America, I am asked by Israeli friends, “Nu, did you get people to make aliyah?”

I explain that I prefer not to talk too much about aliyah while abroad. I try to get Jews to renew their love for the homeland, connect with life in Israel. I find the issue of aliyah often distances my audience. Though I am a firm believer in the ingathering of the exiles, when I speak to Jews around the world I am trying to bridge worlds, not drive them apart.

Indeed, the biggest schism among Jews today is the great Atlantic Divide. Six million Jews live in North America and six million live in Israel. Israeli Jews and North American Jews live worlds apart and grow up with a completely different set of circumstances and experiences. One group goes to liberal arts colleges, the other the army; one speaks English, the other Hebrew; they read different books and watch different programs on TV.

It was not always like that. Early on in Israel’s history, American Jews saw Israelis as brothers and establishing, defending and building the Jewish state as a common project. By 2012, however, American Jews have grown to see Israelis as slightly annoying distant relatives with bad manners and strange political choices.

This is why my Israeli friends ask whether I made any aliyah converts: deep down, Israelis are worried about their North American Jewish brothers and sisters. They are afraid to lose them to assimilation, and they are also afraid of growing apart. No doubt, North American Jews are also concerned about it and have taken real steps to bridge the divide with one-year Israeli yeshivas, gap year studies, internship programs, and, of course, the Birthright-Taglit program, an amazing project that has bridged the Atlantic Divide for tens of thousands of young Jews.

Still, it’s not enough. Eighty percent of North American Jews have never been to Israel, and most Israelis have no connection to American Jewish life. To feel again as one family, our people need one vision to rally around, a star to guide us, so that we can navigate our lives toward one goal that will eventually bring us together. What is this vision?

The vision of a rebuilt Jerusalem is one our people have shared ever since we were dispossessed of our land 2,000 years ago. From Addis Ababa to Los Angeles, from Kabul to Vienna, our people have always proclaimed “Next Year in a Rebuilt Jerusalem!” No matter where we are on the globe, we have one homeland and one capital to which our heart belongs.

To foster that vision, and to make it current and applicable in our lives, we need to get behind the idea of mass aliyah.

But wait – didn’t I you just tell you I don’t preach aliyah because it’s divisive?

Let me explain: There is the grand ideal of “making aliyah,” moving to Israel. But the word “aliyah” in modern Hebrew also means “the process of going up.” If we define aliyah as a process of going up, there are many steps in the staircase before you get to the landing. And that is exactly what we have to do – take steps toward our united goal, with each step being a mini-aliyah.

Those steps can be big or small, but they are steps nonetheless. Deciding to drink only Israeli wine on Shabbat is a type of aliyah. Putting up a poster of Jerusalem in your house is a type of aliyah. Sending your kids to Israel on Birthright or to a yeshiva or for gap year is certainly a step in the right direction. Buying real estate in Israel is definitely an aliyah. Under this rubric, “mass aliyah” means that we, as a nation, take steps toward Jewish unity by recognizing the centrality of Israel in our national life any way we can.

And here’s a very important aliyah: If you have the budget to go away for Passover, you certainly have many wonderful alternatives to choose from around the world, from Italy to Mexico to Arizona to Florida – great places, no doubt. However, Passover is also an opportunity make a mini-aliyah and come to the international Passover hub – Jerusalem.

The term aliyah is also applied to the act of going up to Jerusalem three times a year during the Festivals, so coming to Israel on Passover is definitely an aliyah. Isn’t Passover supposed to be about educating our children? What could be more enriching for a young Jew than coming to Jerusalem for Passover?

Nothing shows our values as a nation more than the way we celebrate the Holiday of Freedom. When we choose Jerusalem over other destinations, we strengthen the bond of brotherhood among the Jewish nation, our core values shine through, and our children imbibe it. The world, too, notices when we put Jerusalem ahead of other destinations and it strengthens our nation’s claim to the land.

Kedar: Egypt’s Question of Sovereignty

Sunday, February 12th, 2012

For generations, countries in the Middle East have been in the “cross-hairs” of the Western countries: Europe, the United States and Canada. The colonialism of the previous centuries resulted in the conquest, control and exploitation of natural resources. During the twentieth century, colonialism underwent a change of character. It became characterized by political hegemony, taking over the state security apparatus and buying the support of economically corrupt individuals with money. During the past twenty years a new form of Western influence on Middle Eastern countries has developed: influence by means of “civil society organizations” (NGOs), which are underwritten with Western funds.

In the Arab world, thousands of these organizations are active, and the great majority of them act with the approval of the government since these organizations lighten the burden on the government, and help the society to adopt and implement modern and rational characteristics such as democracy and the rule of law, and to marginalize traditional qualities such as tradition, tribalism and belief in evil spirits. There are organizations that deal with health and establish clinics that provide the population with medical care. Another important issue that many organizations deal with is the status of women, and many of these deal with instruction to women, in subjects ranging from mathematics to how to start up a business. Others establish clinics for women’s medicine, and others teach them handiwork. The Western volunteers who work in these organizations are motivated by dedication to the people that their organization serves, and oftentimes live in clearly uncomfortable conditions. They sacrifice their comfort and sometimes also their health and even their lives, when they are attacked by local people who object to their activities.

Sometimes the local government harasses these organizations, principally when it seems to the government that they are subverting it and encouraging deeds that should not be done according to the view of the people in power. This is the current situation in Egypt, which has closed a number of organizations that deal with education towards democracy, and where nineteen American volunteers, together with local Egyptian operatives, are about to stand trial for their activities. This matter severely clouds Egypt-U.S. relations. The Egyptian government’s claim is that these operatives transgressed Egyptian law because they ran organizations without permission, but everyone knows that this claim is only a fig leaf to hide the truth: the government of Egypt does not want foreigners to be involved in its internal matters or to educate its populace in a way that the government finds disagreeable.

Moreover, there is the issue of national pride, which in Egypt has been emphasized and developed in a special way during the past year, after the Egyptian people succeeded in overthrowing the ruler who humiliated and degraded them for many years by imposing a dictatorial and debasing regime upon them, under the auspices of the Americans. The feeling that encompassed the Egyptians as a result of Mubarak’s overthrow a year ago is one of great pride; that they succeeded to remove the “Sphinx” that oppressed them, tortured them, and refused them their rights and their honor. They did this with their own hands, and many people sacrificed their lives, and immediately after the success in removing him, they were galvanized by the feeling of “Yes, we can!!”. This feeling brings them out again and again to the streets in protest against the continuation of the rule of the Supreme Military Council, since those youngsters in Tahrir Square feel that they did not sacrifice themselves in order to push the old officers out the door, only for young officers to come in by the window.

On the other hand, the Supreme Military Council, who runs the government as General Tantawi sees fit, does not agree with the excessive freedom (in its opinion) that the Egyptian people have gained and sees foreign organizations as part of the problem, because it suspects them of sticking their noses into Egypt’s internal affairs and encouraging Egyptian youth to organize and become more active and effective in activities against the new military dictatorship, which has developed in Egypt during the past half year.

At issue are about nine organizations, four of which are Egyptian, four American and one German, and 43 people being put on trial for receiving foreign funding illegally: 16 Egyptians, 19 Americans, 5 Serbians and 3 Germans. They are also accused of collecting information in order to transfer it to the United States, and for drumming up support for Egyptian candidates and parties “in the service of foreign interests.” And indeed, the “sin” of these organizations is that they supported the Egyptian secular, liberal youth, and the parties who represented them, who lost the elections. The American organization “Freedom House” indeed admitted that it sent people to Egypt who would educate the Egyptian press on how to conduct a free press. Other organizations dealt with spreading the ideas involved with civil society, and promotion of fair democratic elections. Despite this, spokesmen of the American organizations emphasize that they complied with all of the instructions on Egyptian Law and all of their activities were transparent and open.

Egypt Arrests Two More Foreign Nationals

Sunday, February 12th, 2012

Egyptian authorities have arrested an Australian journalist and US student on allegations of attempting to bribe people to join a demonstration against continued Egyptian military rule.

The arrest comes as US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey is in Egypt for meetings with his Egyptian counterparts, to discuss, among other things, the Obama administration’s disapproval of Egypt’s recent crackdown on pro-democracy NGOs. consequences.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/egypt-arrests-two-more-foreign-nationals/2012/02/12/

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