Friday, February 25, 2011

Bring it on, Yariv!
24 February '11

This week, the Knesset finally took steps to rein in the humiliating and dangerous phenomenon of hostile foreign entities funding non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Israel:

The Knesset passed a bill into law on Monday requiring nongovernmental organizations to issue quarterly reports about funding they receive from foreign governments, and to reveal when they are backed by other countries in their websites and advertisements.

The bill, which was sponsored by coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin (Likud), passed its final reading by a 40-34 vote after tougher measures against NGOs and plans to form parliamentary inquiry committees to examine them were dropped. — Jerusalem Post

I’ve written before about how extreme left-wing Israeli NGOs that can only be called anti-state are supported by European governments, the EU, the US-based New Israel Fund, and so forth. For example, the group “Breaking the Silence” has toured the US presenting malicious gossip and exaggerations about IDF conduct as fact, and “b’Tselem” and “Physicians for Human Rights — Israel” provided much of the grist for the mill of the UN’s dishonest Goldstone Report.

I think transparency is a more effective (although less exciting) approach than parliamentary investigations, which will blow with the winds of politics.

Unfortunately, the bill doesn’t go far enough. Although it calls for disclosure of funding from foreign governments, it does not do the same for donations from foreign individuals or non-governmental foundations, like the New Israel Fund or the Ford Foundation. This is a hole big enough to drive a truck through.

The Post article continues,

Knesset Law Committee chairman David Rotem, one of the bill’s co-sponsors, withdrew amendments that would have taken tax benefits away from NGOs supported by foreign governments. His amendments would also have required NGOs to report donations from foreign individuals and to write that they received foreign funding on every e-mail they sent…

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu expressed support for Rotem’s amendments at Monday’s Likud faction meeting, in the face of strong opposition to the bill expressed by the leadership of several countries. But Rotem said he had decided to drop the amendments at the request of Zionist organizations that had told him the amendments would harm them.

Rotem said he would submit a different version of his amendments before the end of the Knesset’s winter session next month. He expressed confidence that he would be able to pass them.

Zionist organizations have absolutely nothing to fear from transparency. So what if an American Jewish casino operator or a Christian pastor is ‘revealed’ to be in favor of the continued existence of the Jewish state, or even that he believes that Jews have a right to live in places that “the Palestinians want for their future state?”

On the other hand, contributors to the massive delegitimization campaign that aims to prevent Israel from defending itself — precisely the objective of the Goldstone Report — so that it can ultimately be destroyed by its enemies deserve to be “named and shamed.”

Naturally, the delegitimizers screamed bloody murder:

Yariv Oppenheimer, secretary general of Peace Now, said this new transparency will only apply to left-wing organizations, some of which are supported by foreign governments, but not to right-wing organizations like the Yesha Council, the settlers’ umbrella group. “The logic behind the new bill is simple, to de-legitimize the left-wing organizations and portray them as foreign agents. But no one will ever know who’s pulling the strings of foundations receiving far bigger support from evangelical organizations in the U.S. or tycoons like Irwin Moskowitz,” Oppenheimer said… — LA Times

Far bigger? Even Irwin Moskowitz doesn’t have the tens of millions poured into left-wing NGOs in recent years by the EU. I say make all contributions transparent. Bring it on, Yariv Oppenheimer!

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