Turning Off the Left's Tap



By: ELAD BENARI  
Published: February 18th 2010


 

Israel has begun to take actions against organizations that are spreading libel using financing from foreign bodies, following a revelation that tens of millions of dollars were transferred from countries in the European Union to left wing organizations in Israel. Included in these organizations were those that provided most of the material to the Goldstone Report, including the New Israel Fund among others. The government is seeking to limit this blatant interference by using new legislation. This week, the ministerial committee on legislation approved a bill on this issue that was brought forward by MK Ze’ev Elkin of the Likkud.

 

The bill would apply to any organization with a political agenda, and its purpose is to increase transparency and tighten legislation regarding the funding of political activity in Israel by foreign entities. The bill says that today, only non-profit organizations are required to report about money received from a foreign political entity. This is due to the fact that many organizations who engage in political activities are not registered as non-profit organizations. Even this requirement can be bypassed by having a third party transfer the funds, or by delaying the report until it is no longer relevant.

 

Another lacuna in the current legislation was found in the absence of mandatory reporting about support of publications put out by the body or about the activities in which it takes part. Elkin is seeking to find a balance between the rights of political organizations in a democratic country to work freely and the right of the Israeli public to know who funds the promotion of political views. The proposed bill determines that anyone who receives financial support from a foreign body without registering with the parties registrar would be imprisoned for one year or have to pay either a penalty set by law or four times the amount received, whichever is higher.

 

New Israel Fund for or against Israel?

The catalyst for the bill was a special report recently published by the Im Tirtzu movement about the New Israel Fund, which is referred to as a capital fund which invests in and cultivates hundreds of extreme left wing organizations. The Goldstone Report was assisted by and referred to many NGOs as sources on which to base its arguments and findings. Among these NGOs were 16 organizations who are supported by New Israel Fund: Adalah, Shovrim Shtika (Breaking the Silence), B’Tzelem, The Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Center for the Defence of the Individual, Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, Yesh Din, Physicians for Human Rights, Gisha (Access), Bimkom, Rabbis for Human Rights, Itach (Women Lawyers for Social Justice), Kol Acher, as well as organizations affiliated with the Coalition of Women for Peace, including New Profile, Machsom (Barrier) Watch, and Who Profits from the Occupation?

 


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