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UK Funding NGO Lawfare On Israel's Legal System

NGO Monitor report reveals UK and EU giving $20 million to NGO sabotaging Israeli legal processes.
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 3/11/2014, 10:00 PM

EU NGO lawfare project against Israel
EU NGO lawfare project against Israel
NGO Monitor

The UK, along with the European Union (EU) and other European governments, has been investing massive public funds in an NGO engaged in lawfare against Israel's legal system, reports research institute NGO Monitor.

The NGO, called the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), has been acting to sabotage Israel's legal processes, according to the report, which was released in time for British Prime Minister David Cameron's visit to Israel on Wednesday.

"From 2011-2015, the UK provided £6 million (roughly $10 million) to NRC, one of the largest single grants to any NGO in the region, used to pursue legal cases aimed at influencing Israeli policies, lobby for international sanctions against Israel, and support international campaigns of demonization," reported NGO Monitor President Prof. Gerald Steinberg.

Between the UK, the EU, Norway and Sweden, NRC received over $20 million between 2011 and 2013 to provide "evidence and analysis to form the basis for international pressure on Israel," as well as to change Israeli policy and practice.

The new report reveals that NRC has used the funds to launch a massive 677 legal cases to "disrupt the Israeli judicial system...to increase the workload of the courts and the Supreme Court to such an extent that there will be a blockage."

Regarding the scale of the legal attacks, Steinberg noted "we know of no other examples in the world where democratic countries are engaged in such activity on a massive scale. This direct involvement of the UK and other government funders, via the NRC, stands in direct contradiction to efforts to negotiate peace, and to the ethical norms that govern relations between democracies."

'Low visibility' for covert lawfare
Additionally, internal British documents cited in the report reveal NRC utilizes a "low visibility policy" to hide its involvement in affecting and undermining the Israeli legal system.

Steinberg argued such steps are meant to avoid accountability for donor states, and may constitute a violation of "the terms of NRC staff members' humanitarian visas in Israel."

The report calls on the European governments to freeze funding to NRC until inquiries can ascertain the decision making processes behind the lawfare initiative, and added that the Israeli government should be involved.

Last June, NGO Monitor reported that the Spanish government was similarly guilty of funding NGOs delegitimizing Israel, donating 15 million euros (roughly $21 million) between 2009 and 2011 to the cause.