by Ali Abunimah, co-founder, http://electronicintifada.net
“The Reut Institute defined virtually the entire global Palestine solidarity movement, especially the campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions modelled on the South African anti-apartheid struggle, and those who call for a one-state solution, as an “existential threat” which has the potential to rob Israel of its remaining legitimacy and bring about its collapse.”The Electronic Intifada, the online publication about Palestine that I co-founded in 2001, finds itself at the centre of a storm as a pro-Israel group applies pressure to have a grant from a Dutch foundation withdrawn.”
The latest salvo came in a scurrilous article in The Jerusalem Post based on allegations from a group called NGO Monitor, accusing The Electronic Intifada of “anti-Semitism” – without citing a single example from the almost 12,000 articles we have published. The Electronic Intifada has responded to NGO Monitor’s accusations. Of course the charge of “anti-Semitism” has long been a weapon in the hands of Israel’s apologists when they cannot find a factual basis to challenge the site’s reporting and analysis.
This assault on our freedom of conscience is about much more than our website. It is part of a well-coordinated, escalating Israeli government-endorsed effort to vilify individuals and cripple organisations that criticise Israel’s human rights record and call for it to respect Palestinian rights and international law.
This NGO Monitor zeroed in on a grant The Electronic Intifada has received from the Dutch foundation ICCO, which is itself subsidised by the Dutch government. Since 2006, this grant has made up about a third of The Electronic Intifada’s budget (our total expenses were around $180,000 in 2009 as our public filings show and the majority of our funding comes from donations by our readers).
In published comments, Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal said he would investigate the matter personally. MP Geert Wilders, Europe’s most prominent Islamophobic politician, who has said he is proud to be compared to Israel’s foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, also took aim at The Electronic Intifada in an interview with Israei’s Haaretz.
It is clear that by attempting to starve us – and other organisations of funds – NGO Monitor is trying to silence us. That The Electronic Intifada, a publication run by a handful of people, finds itself under sustained assault, only demonstrates the impact that independent online media have had by consistently reporting stories and providing analysis that mainstream media have sidelined. Continue reading