Left-wing Israeli NGOs, funded by Europe, aided ICC decision to investigate Israel

Extreme left-wing organizations like B’tselem received European funding to bash the Israeli Supreme Court so that the Hague would intervene.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor decided Friday to open a war crimes investigation of Israel thanks in part to the actions of far-left Israeli and Palestinian organizations, Israel Hayom reported Tuesday.

These NGOs, chief among them B’tselem, ran a campaign to delegitimize Israel’s highest court in order to make it easier for the ICC to interview. According to its rules, the ICC cannot investigate alleged abuses in a country whose justice system already does so.

B’tselem received a €250,000 grant from the Dutch government with a clause in the agreement assuring it would target Israel’s Supreme Court. The clause described planned activities “for the second half of 2018” that included producing a report “on the role of the Supreme Court in the expulsion of Palestinian communities.”

The extreme leftist group added that it “regards the Supreme Court as a central mechanism that enables the ongoing occupation and the violation of human rights by giving legal legitimization to Israel’s policies.”

The report noted that in many cases, part of the funding that groups received from foreign governments was specifically for the purpose of getting Israel in trouble with the ICC.

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The Swiss were particularly active in this regard. Al-Dameer, a Palestinian prisoner rights association run from the Gaza Strip, received 3.9 million francs from Bern in 2018-2019. Among the tasks in its contract was presenting “information and reports to the International Criminal Court  on the violation of human rights carried out by the Israeli occupation forces.”

Another Palestinian group the government funded was told that its success would be measured according to the number of people who would be able to “access the international justice mechanism due to its activities,” said Israel Hayom.

B’tselem celebrated after ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda ruled that the ICC should investigate Israel for war crimes on Friday.

“Israel’s legal acrobatics in an attempt to whitewash its crimes must not be allowed to stop international legal efforts to at long last hold it to account,” the organization tweeted.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu led a chorus of Israeli politicians in slamming Bensouda’s announcement, calling it “absurd… scandalous and baseless.” Israeli justice officials also blasted the decision and vowed to keep fighting it on varied legal grounds.

NGO Monitor, a group that exposes funding foreign governments siphon to anti-Israel NGOs, focused on the importance of addressing this financing in order to help Israel in both the long and short term.

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“The main question is how to make it clear to the Europeans that their money cannot continue being a key pillar of the ongoing persecution campaign against Israel,” said the group’s president, Gerald Steinberg.