Move to re­vive ‘dis­crim­i­na­tory’ NGO leg­is­la­tion

The Jewish Chronicle - - WORLD NEWS - BY ANSHEL PFEFFER

IN AN at­tempt to keep the “NGO trans­parency” bill alive, Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu has re­moved a sec­tion that re­quires ac­tivists rep­re­sent­ing for­eign-funded hu­man rights or­gan­i­sa­tions to wear spe­cial iden­ti­fy­ing tags in the Knes­set.

Mr Ne­tanyahu said that the law, pro­posed by Jus­tice Min­is­ter Ayelet Shaked, should be “com­pa­ra­ble to Amer­i­can leg­is­la­tion” on NGOs which re­ceive fund­ing from other coun­tries.

Un­der the new law, should it pass, non-profit groups that re­ceive over half their fund­ing from for­eign gov­ern­ments will have to de­clare this in­for­ma­tion on their of­fi­cial pub­li­ca­tions.

The Is­raeli left and hu­man-rights com­mu­nity has ac­cused the govern­ment of dis­crim­i­na­tion, as the law does not re­quire the same dis­clo­sure from groups re­ceiv­ing for­eign fund­ing from pri­vate sources.

While many groups iden­ti­fied with the left re­ceive sig­nif­i­cant fund­ing from the US and a va­ri­ety of EU gov­ern­ments, in­clud­ing Bri­tain, NGOs on the Is­raeli right are of­ten funded by Jewish and Chris­tian evan­ge­list donors from abroad.

The pro­posed amend­ment is partly an ad­mis­sion that the govern­ment will find it dif­fi­cult to pass the law through the Knes­set. Pres­sure to drop the bill has come from sev­eral coali­tion mem­bers, not to men­tion the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion and EU mem­bers.

Other re­cent pro­pos­als for leg­is­la­tion seen as cur­tail­ing demo­cratic rights have been dras­ti­cally wa­tered down or “buried” in com­mit­tees.

This is ex­pected to be the fate of an­other pro­posal from Jewish Home MK Shuli Mualem, who last week tabled a law that would out­law Break­ing the Si­lence, the group of for­mer Is­raeli com­bat sol­diers that pub­lishes al­leged hu­man rights breaches by the IDF.

Other pro­pos­als seen as lim­it­ing demo­cratic rights have been buried

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