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      Israeli NGO Sues EU for Hiding Funding of Anti-Israel Groups

      The NGO Monitor watchdog group is suing the EU for not revealing names of anti-Israeli groups that received $48 million “to fuel conflict.”
      By Yoni Kempinski and Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
      First Publish: 1/20/2010, 1:43 PM / Last Update: 1/20/2010, 1:56 PM

      The Israeli watchdog group NGO Monitor is suing the European Commission for refusing to reveal which groups received $48 million in funds since 2005 “to actively work to demonize and de-legitimize Israel and fuel the Israeli-Arab conflict.” The suit is to be filed in the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg this week.

      U.S.-born Professor Gerald Steinberg, chairman of NGO Monitor, told a news conference the unprecedented suit for “transparency failure" charges the executive body of the European Union -- the European Commission -- with violating its own Freedom of Information law.

      "The actions of the EU, in providing considerable funds to these organizations, occur without any real oversight or review and are in direct contradiction to European objectives in the region," Professor Steinberg said.

      "We have made every effort to obtain the documents necessary for analysis for over a year, without any substantive response," he added. "We therefore have no other option than to take this issue to the courts and sincerely hope this will lead the EU to act in a responsible, law-abiding manner on such critical funding issues."