The Israeli Knesset has just passed a law requiring that NGOs who receive more than half their budget from foreign governments and organizations state this publicly. A clamor has arisen, with critics denouncing the new legislation as anti-democratic.
This strikes me as ridiculous, and let’s do some hypotheticals. The UK is facing the Brexit referendum, and the government of France secretly funds pro-Remain groups. Is that fair or democratic? In the past decade several states in our country held referenda over same-sex marriage. How would we feel if it turned out groups proposing a “yes” vote had been funded by the government of Sweden? We would feel, as the Brits would feel in my first example, that our internal debate was being thwarted and distorted by foreigners. That is precisely how the Israeli lawmakers who voted for the new law felt. Prime Minister Netanyahu said the new law will “prevent an absurd situation in which foreign countries meddle in the internal affairs of Israel.” He’s right. Read more »
Nicaraguans go to the polls in a few months, but not for a free election.
A group of Nicaraguan writers, intellectuals, and civil society leaders have written an open letter describing and decrying the conditions under which Nicaraguans will vote. The key line: they urge their fellow citizens to “reject the electoral farce the ruling group is trying to impose on us. If this farce is finally carried out, the results should be considered null and void.” Read more »
The greatest imminent danger in last year’s nuclear deal, the JCPOA, was always that Iran would cheat–taking all the advantages of the deal, but then seeking to move forward more quickly toward a nuclear weapon–and that the Obama administration would be silent in the face of that cheating. Read more »
The argument that Israel is becoming increasingly isolated in the world took another blow this month when–for the first time in the history of the United Nations and of Israel–the Israeli ambassador was elected to head one of the UN’s permanent committees. This the Legal Committee, also called the “Sixth Committee,” and its covers the United Nations’ international law operations–which include matters related to terrorism and to the Geneva Conventions. Read more »
In 2007, President George W. Bush awarded the Medal of Freedom in absentia to the Cuban human rights and democracy activist Oscar Elias Biscet. This week, he was able to place the award on Biscet’s shoulders.
The 2007 citation read as follows: Read more »
Since leaving the White House in January, 2009, I’ve been telling audiences that Palestinian president and PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas will never, never sign a peace agreement with Israel–no matter what its content.
Those still in doubt might reflect on the events of this week. Abbas and Israel’s president, Reuven Rivlin, were both in Brussels, and European President Martin Schulz thought it would be nice to get them together. Rivlin’s post is ceremonial, but that’s all the more reason for a ceremonial gesture toward reconciliation. Abbas simply refused. Rabin could shake the hand of the terrorist Arafat, but Abbas could not shake the hand of the ex-parliamentarian, now president, Rivlin. Read more »
The Project on Middle East Democracy sums up the week in Bahrain:
First, “A Bahraini court ordered the suspension of all activities by al-Wefaq, the island-nation’s largest opposition party. The Justice and Islamic Affairs Ministry, which asked the court to issue the order, said al-Wefaq’s shuttering was needed to “safeguard the security of the kingdom….” Read more »
Pressure Points tracks developments in the Middle East and democratization and human rights issues globally.
In The Hacked World Order, CFR Senior Fellow Adam Segal shows how governments use the web to wage war and spy on, coerce, and damage each other. More
Red Team provides an in-depth investigation into the work of red teams, revealing the best practices, most common pitfalls, and most effective applications of these modern-day devil's advocates. More
Through insightful analysis and engaging graphics, How America Stacks Up explores how the United States can keep pace with global economic competition. More
India now matters to U.S. interests in virtually every dimension. This Independent Task Force report assesses the current situation in India and the U.S.-India relationship, and suggests a new model for partnership with a rising India.
Rates of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in low- and middle-income countries are increasing faster than in wealthier countries. The report outlines a plan for collective action on this growing epidemic.
This report asserts that elevating and prioritizing the U.S.-Canada-Mexico relationship offers the best opportunity for strengthening the United States and its place in the world.
Williams argues that the status quo for peace operations in untenable and that greater U.S. involvement is necessary to enhance the quality and success of peacekeeping missions.
The authors argue that the United States has responded inadequately to the rise of Chinese power and recommend placing less strategic emphasis on the goal of integrating China into the international system and more on balancing China's rise.
Campbell evaluates the implications of the Boko Haram insurgency and recommends that the United States support Nigerian efforts to address the drivers of Boko Haram, such as poverty and corruption, and to foster stronger ties with Nigerian civil society.