Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has criticized the European Union for supporting anti-Israel groups. Speaking at the beginning of a cabinet meeting on Sunday (31 July), he said that the government was looking into the support of some EU Member States for, what he described, anti-Israel activities.
Mr Netanyahu said that some European countries support organizations that are in favor of the activities of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS Movement) – a global campaign attempting to increase economic and political pressure on Israel to comply with the stated goals of the movement, such as the end of Israel’s occupation and colonization of Palestinian land and the Golan Heights, full equality for Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel, and respect for the right of return of Palestinian refugees.
The Israeli government has regularly condemned support given by foreign governments to those non-profits that criticize Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians. Last month, the Knesset adopted a law that requires all non-profits to declare aid they get from foreign governments. The move is seen as targeting left-wing groups. Mr Netanyahu also made a reference to the recent announcement by France that it would consider a temporary ban on foreign financing of mosques out of security concerns. “We are also disturbed by such donations to organizations that deny the state of Israel’s right to exist,” he said.
Israel has recently experienced a series of attacks involving knives and guns, which claimed the lives of more than 250 people. Analysts say that the resurgence of violence from the Palestinian side is a result of a lack of progress in peace negotiations coupled with their own fractured leadership and the Israeli settlements being built in the West Bank. The BDS campaign was started in 2005 by more than 170 Palestinian NGOs and is organized and coordinated by the Palestinian BDS National Committee. The scope, efficacy, and morality of the BDS movement is widely debated and criticized for being anti-Semitic and for promoting the de-legitimization of Israel, including its right to exist.