Early Monday morning, April 25, 2017, a news report surfaced in Israel that Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had threatened to cancel a scheduled meeting with visiting German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel (Itamar Eichner, "Netanyahu warns German FM against meeting left-wing NGOs", ynetnews, April 25, 2017). The German Minister seemed puzzled. He said, "You can't get a proper and comprehensive picture in any country on Earth if you only meet in government offices" (ibid). He considered the planned 'encounter' with two left-wing NGOs to be "completely normal".
A couple of hours later, Gabriel declared that it was okay if the Prime Minister wanted to cancel their meeting--but he would not change his plans (Raphael Ahrens, et al, "German minister (sic) says Netanyahu 'regrettable', won't cancel plans", timesofisrael, April 25, 2017). Gabriel added that it was normal ("usual") for him to speak with 'civil society organizations'--even those critical of a government--during trips abroad (ibid).
Some five hours later, Netanyahu canceled his scheduled meeting with Gabriel ("Netanyau carries out ultimatum to German Foreign Minister", arutzsheva, April 25, 20-17.
I suspect Netanyahu will get trashed for refusing to meet the visiting dignitary. The Left in Israel will no doubt call him either incompetent--or, no longer qualified to be Israel's Prime Minister. I wouldn't be shocked if someone demanded new elections immediately.
Netanyahu was correct to confront the German Foreign Minister. He was also, in my opinion, correct to follow through on his demand. Here's why.
The two leftist NGOs in question are called, B'Tselem, and Breaking The Silence. These NGOs receive large donations from EU countries, including Germany (Yoel Domb, "German government to terror-supporting NGOs", arutzsheva, April 25, 2017). They are not exactly 'civil' societies. They are not honest critics of Israel.
During the two-year period, 2015-16, B'Tselem received from Germany just under 1,360,000 NIS, and another 1,860,000+NIS from the EU, to which Germany contributes ("B'Tselem", ngomonitor, November 24, 2016). For the same time period, Breaking the Silence received 1,008,000 from German sources, and another 518,000 from the EU ("Breaking the Silence", ngomonitor, July 12, 2016).
This is serious money--more that 4,700,000NIS. Some comes from the German Foreign Ministry itself (ibid). Much of it is used to make war crimes and human rights charges against Israel. All of it promotes and supports the 'kill-Israel' agenda of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.
These two NGOs act like paid foreign lobbyists who advance a foreign agenda in Israel. Their work dovetails perfectly into the EU's hostility towards Israel--and supports Hamas ("Liberman: B'Tselem, Breaking The Silence are traitors", timesofisrael, January 16, 2016). They use often misleading and false 'testimony' to delegitimize the State of Israel. Their anti-Israel work has become so egregious Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman has called them traitors (ibid).
The question here shouldn't be why Netanyahu would cancel a meeting with a visiting dignitary over a simple meeting. The question is, why would a foreign dignitary insult his host State by meeting with such aggressively hostile, anti-State organizations (which, unconscionably, his government and his country support)?
How dare a foreign dignitary come here and consort with those who aid the enemies of the State?
Late in the afternoon, Netanyahu called Gabriel to explain why he had cancelled the meeting. Gabriel refused to take the call (Gary Willig, "German FM refuses to talk to Netanyahu", arutzsheva, April 25, 2017). Netanyahu's office then released a statement that dropped any reference to B'Tselem. Instead, the statement focused on Breaking The Silence:
"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's policy is not to meet with diplomats who visit Israel and meet with organizations that defame IDF soldiers and seek to prosecute them as war criminals...
"The same diplomats will not consider meeting in the US or Britain with representatives of organizations calling for the prosecution of American or British soldiers. The Israel Defense Forces and its soldiers are the basis of our existence. Relations with Germany are very important to Israel and will continue" (ibid).
This statement may not end of this incident. But even if it doesn't, as Prime Minister, Benjamin Natanyahu is supposed to stand up for his country. He did.
He was correct to do so.
He was correct to do so.