Last October, the EU Delegation to Israel published an unusual tender, worth €285,000, soliciting the assistance of local public relations companies in order to “change the negative image” of Europe in Israel.
The proposal cites an EU-commissioned survey which demonstrates the extent of Israeli public mistrust of Europe. According to the survey, 55% see the EU as Israel’s “enemy,” while only 18% identify it as a “friend.” According to the Israeli news outlet ICE, the results of the survey reaffirm negative perceptions toward EU member states on a number of fronts, including their funding to non-governmental organizations (NGOs), claims that the EU supports the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign directly or indirectly, and even accusations that it “supports terror entities indirectly.”…
Israelis see that the EU engages selectively with a narrow ideological group of civil society, such as B’Tselem and Breaking the Silence. They hear the repeated condemnations of Israeli policy concerning Area C of the West Bank, as if this is the major issue on the EU’s agenda.
Then there is EU and European funding for organizations that delegitimize Israel, including those that have ties to groups which the EU itself designates as terrorist entities…
Israelis rightfully wonder if European governments would deal so casually with organizations connected to ISIS. Would an NGO working in Europe be lavished with funding and legitimacy if its employees and board members were photographed at an al-Qaeda rally, let alone arrested as a part of a terrorist cell?
Perhaps there is a better way for Europe to improve its image in Israel than by hiring PR companies.
European governments should instead heed the Israeli public’s criticism, increase oversight over their foreign aid, and end funding to radical NGOs and terrorist-tied groups.