Wednesday, January 20, 2010

NGO-Monitor sues European Commission

NGO Monitor, a Jerusalem-based watchdog group, announced at a press conference today that it has brought suit against the European Commission (EC) for failing to fulfill EU transparency obligations regarding the distribution of funding to non-government organizations (NGOs).
NGO Monitor President Professor Gerald Steinberg said that his group resorted to legal recourse after 13 months of attempts to secure documents detailing non-governmental agency funding by the EC, the executive branch of the European Union. Under the European Freedom of Information law, such funding details must be made available upon request. However, the EC cited “public security,” “privacy,” and “commercial interests” in denying NGO Monitor’s information request.
NGO Monitor legal counsel, Trevor Asserson  of Asserson Law Offices, dismissed these reasons as “absurd” and “essentially unsupportable.” He described the EU activity as “typical of the types of obfuscation that one gets when someone does not want to do what they are meant to do.”

The lawsuit, filed yesterday at the European Court of Justice, seeks “to obligate the European Union, which claims to be a law-abiding institution and committed to looking out for the interests of world peace and security, to act according to its mandate and reveal these documents and the full extent of their funding.”
NGO Monitor disclosed that its researchers identified 177 million shekels provided by the EC since June 2005 to NGOs active in Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Many of these organizations are active in the strategy of demonization which seeks to isolate Israel, using lawfare and boycott campaigns.

 Professor Gerald Steinberg of Bar Ilan University (left) gives a presentation about the Goldstone-report during a meeting of the Jewish Agencency. To his right th Agency;s chairmen Nathan Sharansky. The meeting was devoted to the study of antisemitism.

Oh yes,  may the Commission follow the example of NGO-monitor itself  when we are speaking about transparancy and the interests of world peace and security. Or of the Israeli government in the case of the budgets for settlemenst building, for that tmatter. World peace and security, the chutzpah.

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