The NGO Transparency Bill

There has been an international furore over the Bill being considered by the Knesset, introduced by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and supported by the Netanyahu Government, to require NGO’s to report the sources of their foreign income.  This bill results from many previous discussions and attempts to legislate the NGO’s that are mainly in the business of criticizing the Israeli Government over its security actions.  What is most disturbing about these NGO’s is that many of them are left-wing and highly critical of Israeli Govt. actions and try to limit these actions thru Israeli law.  They often characterize themselves as “humanitarian,” whereas in fact they are anti-Israeli organizations that hide their foreign support and true intentions behind the screen of humanitarian concerns.

The Israeli Govt. maintains that there is a need for more transparency in the support for these organizations, that often receive large sums from foreign Governments that are hostile to Israel, and that use them to try to undermine Israeli Govt. decisions and actions. For example, Sweden and the EU give large sums to so-called humanitarian NGO’s that are little more that pro-Palestinian fronts.  But, the liberal media has taken up the concern expressed by the Obama Administration that this Bill will inhibit freedom of speech and democracy.  This is not only manifestly untrue, but is hypocritical when one considers that the US has a far more stringent requirement for the registration of organizations as agents of foreign powers if they receive funds from abroad.  By the way, this Bill will apply to all NGO’s, including right-wing ones.  But, so far as we know there is no Government supporting the actions of right-wing Jewish NGO’s.

The current Bill will require the NGO’s to report their foreign sources of funding and only if they receive more than 50% of their funding from foreign sources will they have to register as an agent of a foreign country.  This will avoid the anomaly of a supposedly Israeli organization being funded with money from the EU, building homes for Palestinians in a disputed area where the EU is protesting construction of Israeli homes.  Or for example in the E1 area, a contested area between Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim, where Israel is intending to build homes, but where the EU has been secretly funding the construction of a road to enable the Palestinians to occupy parts of the area.  This is direct interference of a foreign power in the sovereign rights of the Israeli Government, and the sources of funding must be exposed.




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