Fighting Israel's 'other war' - in the court of public opinion

In Arutz Sheva interview, MK Michal Cotler-Wunsh rips foreign governmental funding of NGOs in Israel, including those with ties to terrorism

Yoni Kempinski ,

Michal Cotler-Wunsh
Michal Cotler-Wunsh
Arutz Sheva

Michal Cotler-Wunsh (Blue and White), Member of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, spoke with Arutz Sheva about the implications of efforts to delegitimize Israel abroad and the use of ‘lawfare’ against the Jewish state, as well as the importance of exposing foreign governmental funding of NGOs inside of Israel.

The Knesset held a hearing this week on foreign funding of groups operating in Israel, Cotler-Wunsh noted, including organizations with ties to terrorist organizations like the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

“The issue of foreign funding generally and foreign government funding specifically was raised in the Security and Foreign Relations Committee.”

“Because it is such an important issue, it is unfortunate when it is phrased or discussed in a political way. At the end of the day, it is imperative that the State of Israel recognize the importance of engaging with this topic as one symptom of an entirely unidentified source of real strategic threat on the State of Israel.”

“Those that are accused of Rena Shnerb’s murder actually received their salaries from an NGO, and that NGO is affiliated with a terror organization – with the PFLP – those NGOs receive funding from European countries. Not the terror organization, but the NGOs affiliated do receive foreign funding.”

“This is very important to bring the attention of European countries – and to all countries - because we know that they are trustees of human rights and international law.”

What actions are you taking on this issue?

“Since this war was declared on Israel at Durban in 2001, a war utilizing what some call ‘lawfare’ and the war for public opinion, the war has really been fought in abstentia.”

“Israel, very often, is not present and certainly within the Knesset, MKs must engage and recognize the strategic threat.”

“It’s not just security, but it is foreign relations that we look at.”

“We have formal and informal ways of engaging our peers around the world.”

How serious of a problem is the International Criminal Court’s probe of Israel?

“There is no jurisdiction” for the ICC to rule on the Palestinian Authority’s accusations against Israel or claims of war crimes relating to the IDF operation against the Turkish vessel, the Mavi Marmara, which attempted to breach the blockade on the Gaza Strip, Cotler-Wunsh said, noting that Israel is not a party to the ICC treaty.

“Because the State of Israel has a functioning legal system…in fact, the ICC has no jurisdiction in the Mavi Marmara.”

“But as we face the possibility of Israeli soldiers will be investigated and prosecuted for war crimes from the 2014 Operation Protective Edge, we have to understand the ramifications on each and every one of us.”

“The use and abuse of international law in this way undermines the very mandate that the ICC was given…to protect those who actually suffer from crimes against humanity.”

“Palestine is not recognized as a state, and only state parties can make the representations that have been made in the ICC.”

This week, Cotler-Wunsh was named by JNS as one of the top forty global advocates for Israel online.

Cotler-Wunsh called the recognition “humbling”, and praised others on the list for devoting “all of their time, all of their attention” to defending Israel in the court of public opinion – what she dubbed the “other war”.

“These are individuals who are committed to addressing those challenges.”



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