By Gerald M. Steinberg.. Op-ed: All foreign government funding to political NGOs operating in another democracy is a violation of sovereignty and self-determination, and this issue is particularly important for Israelis. The clash between Charles Michel, the prime minister of Belgium, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over funding for NGOs involved in the conflict and war crimes allegations highlights the sensitivity of this issue, and the need to go beyond the headlines. For many years, the government of Belgium, together with the United Kingdom and most other Western European governments, provides millions of euros, krona and dollars every year to groups that are supposedly “non-governmental.” In this process, Israeli and Palestinian groups get a highly disproportionate amount through entirely secret decision making, and this has a direct impact on our society and political system. Whether one likes or dislikes Breaking the Silence, B’Tselem, Yesh Din and the 20 additional Israeli recipients of Europe’s largesse, there is no denying that the money they receive gives them a major impact on Israel. (No groups on the right of the political spectrum receive any European funds, which explains the polarized debate in Israel.) Read the full post.