Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 - 6 of Tishri, 5781

Israel summons Belgium’s ambassador over financing of NGOs trying to silence pro-Israel voices

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An Israeli foreign ministry source, quoted by The Jerusalem Post, said: “The Belgians would never fund an organization that supports white supremacists or Catalonian separatists under the claim of free speech.”

Israel summoned Belgium’s ambassador Jean-Luc Bodson for a reprimand after a report by a Jerusalem-based institute showed that the Belgian government is funding organizations trying to silence pro-Israel groups, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Anna Azari, the Israeli foreign ministry deputy director-general  summoned Bodson after the research institute,  NGO Monitor , reported last month that the Belgian government is  giving aid to Palestinians through a group of NGOs, consisting of Oxfam Solidarity, Broederlijk Delen, a Catholic aid agency, and Solidarité Socialiste, whose listed goals include “mitigating the influence of pro-Israel voices.”

Israel’s Ambassador to Belgium Emmanuel Nachshon officially complained to the Belgian foreign ministry soon after, taking issue with the fact that the goal was explicitly anti-Israel, as opposed to pro-Palestinian.

Nachshon reportedly received an answer last week, that the Belgian foreign ministry “does not intervene in the legitimacy of the goals of these organizations” and that they value freedom of speech.

The Belgian foreign ministry also said that it does not necessarily share the goals of the organizations that it funds, and that they oppose “racism, antisemitism and discrimination.”

An Israeli diplomatic source called the answer “hypocritical and evasive.”

An Israeli foreign ministry source, quoted by The Jerusalem Post, said: “The Belgians would never fund an organization that supports white supremacists or Catalonian separatists under the claim of free speech.”

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