Monday, June 6, 2016

Europe: How the EU subcontracts Its Middle East policy to NGOs

Via Mosaic Magazine

For over two decades, the European Union has effectively allowed nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to interfere in the Israel-Palestinian conflict on its behalf. The results, writes Gerald Steinberg, have been very damaging:

In 1995, the European Union’s Barcelona Conference launched the grand-sounding Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, a massive effort encompassing the countries of North Africa, Israel, Syria, and Jordan. The main objective was to establish economic and political frameworks to stabilize the Arab regimes; the second goal was to compete with the U.S. in Arab-Israeli peace making after Oslo.

Both missions failed. But in the process and through a very large budget, the EU built alliances with a number of highly politicized NGOs. . . . [It] began bankrolling dozens of such institutions, including the [far left-wing] Israeli organizations B’Tselem, Breaking the Silence, and Adalah and the radical Palestinian political NGO Applied Research Institute Jerusalem (ARIJ), [which receives] close to €1 million annually. This NGO funding was and still is decided in great secrecy and without external oversight. . . .

This outsourcing and mutual dependence is critical to understanding the ways in which EU officials in Brussels promote their objectives, interests, and prejudices regarding the Middle East peace process, which have remained unchanged in the two decades since the Barcelona conference. For officials in [the EU’s foreign-policy wing], these NGOs are the main point of contact with Israeli society. By making connections, writing reports, and providing analyses, NGO officials fill in for missing EU capabilities, while hundreds of NGO employees, in turn, get EU funding. This creates a kind of vicious circle—the EU funds NGOs which confirm EU biases and then get more EU funding.

The process reinforces the biases already held among many EU officials, based on images of Palestinian victimization and overwhelming Israeli power, without countervailing views or more nuanced and complex analyses. . . .

[Furthermore, for] many of [these NGOs], the goal is not merely Israeli withdrawal [from the West Bank] but the elimination of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

Read more at Watching the Watchers

No comments :

Post a Comment