by Jonathan Rosenblum
Jerusalem Post International Edition
July 27, 2001
In March 1967, Ramparts dropped one of the great journalistic bombshells of the decade when it revealed that the National Student Association had been heavily funded by CIA for nearly twenty years. The NSA had been active on the international scene in organizing left/liberal, but anti-Communist, student groups in opposition to those controlled by the Soviet Union.
With the Ramparts revelations, the NSA was completely discredited and soon ceased to be a presence on American college campuses. Then Vice-President Hubert Humphrey in a speech at Stanford University described the revelations as ``one of the saddest times, in reference to public policy, our government has had."
Two weeks ago, Maariv investigative journalist Yoav Yitzchak dropped a similar bombshell when he revealed that European Union has been actively involved in swaying public opinion in Israel through a variety of left-wing groups. As with the NSA recipients described in the Ramparts article, the recipients of EU beneficence gained ``lots of money [with] little feeling of having sold out one’s political convictions."
One of the EU major goals was to move the Russian immigrant vote towards the peace camp. To that end, $320,000 was transferred to a non-profit organization headed by MK Roman Bronfman, who had broken away from Yisrael B’Aliyah after the 1999 elections and who was far to the Left of Yisrael B’Aliyah’s leaders. The EU proposal noted that the Russians had moved to the Left in 1999 indicating that the grant would be a good investment.
A $200,000 EU grant was approved for the Four Mothers Movement, which campaigned for Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon. Though the grant purported to be for the creation of dialogue between Israeli and Lebanese women, as soon as Israel withdrew from Lebanon the grant was cancelled.
The EU also financed a number of groups on the left fringe of Israeli society. Jeffrey Halper’s Committee Against House Demolitions received $200,000. Halper, who regularly travels around America denouncing Israel’s ``Nazi" regime, has a loose regard for the truth. In 1999, he accused Israel of planning to destroy 6,000 homes in Jerusalem, when the actual number was no more than 152. (Halper’s 6,000 figure appeared in Amnesty International’s 1999 report.)
The Committee Against House Demolitions is closely affiliated with Gush Shalom, which describes Palestinian violence since October as a ``legitimate revolt against colonial oppression." Peace Now, another recipient of a very large EU grant for ``peace educaton," has placed ads in the Arab press blaming the settlements for the violence of the last 10 months.
The EU also funds a super computer located at Orient House of all pre-1948 Arab property holdings in Israel. Those records are designed to allow former owners to reclaim their land and/or seek compensation from Israel. Ir Shalem’s litigation against construction at Har Homa and against the purchase by Jews of formerly Jewish-owned homes in East Jerusalem is also EU financed.
Unlike the Ramparts revelations, those of the EU’s heavy hand in internal Israeli policy have occasioned relatively little outrage in Israel. Perhaps manipulation of recent Israeli elections by the Clinton administration have already habituated us to heavy foreign involvement in our affairs.
Far from feeling compromised by revelations of their funding sources, none of the recipients of EU largesse felt it necessary to deny or apologize. Yet unlike the NSA leaders, who were at least serving their own government, the Israeli benefieiceers were in the employ of a foreign governmental body frequently seen as hostile to Israel. Danish Foreign Minister Mogens Lykketoft, for instance, remarked recently that the Dolphinarium bombing did nothing to change his view that Israel is primarily responsible for the current violence and advocated an EU boycott of goods produced beyond the Green Line.
In addition to attempting to influence internal Israeli opinion, EU money also went to undermining Israel’s international standing. The Council on Foreign Relations received funding for a project run by Henry Siegman, who has made a career bashing successive Israeli governments in the prestige press. Another beneficiary was the Foundation for Middle East Peace, which lobbies in Congress against the Israeli government. In attempting to undermine the international standing of the Israeli government, the EU is lifting a page from the book of many of its Israeli recipients.
The entire thrust of Yasir Arafat’s policy since October has been to ``internationalize" the conflict and to bring the EU peacekeepers into the area knowing that he can count on European support. Many on the Israeli Left are only too happy to aid him in achieving his goal.
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