Last night, Netanyahu’s right wing government pushed a law through the Knesset to silence dissent. Although it was touted to the public as a matter of transparency, the reality is that this law is aimed at Peace Now and other progressive groups.
Never mind that all non-profit organizations receiving funding from foreign governments must already disclose all such funding. Never mind that NGOs on the left, which are already transparent about their donors, are publicly branded, in effect, as agents of foreign governments. Never mind that right-wing groups – whose agendas align comfortably with that of the current Israeli government and who receive millions of dollars in donations from foreign individuals and entities – are able to keep their donors secret.
When Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked says that this law will diminish “blatant interference…in Israel’s domestic affairs by means of money,” she is explicitly excluding the influence of foreign donors –such as US gambling mogul Sheldon Adelson - who use money to interfere in Israel’s domestic affairs and advance a far-right agenda.
This law, a gross violation of Israel’s freedom of expression, that specifically targets only peace and human rights organizations, is intended to divert the Israeli public discourse away from the occupation and silence opposition to the government's policies. It is a direct attack on Israeli democracy and human rights and an explicit attempt to silence organizations that promote and protect these rights.
But Peace Now and its pro-peace, pro-democracy, pro-human rights allies in Israel refuse to be silenced.
Peace Now is already working on a petition to the Supreme Court that would challenge the legitimacy of this law. It is urgent that we raise funds to launch a sustained effort to battle this dishonest legislation.
President and CEO
Americans for Peace Now
P.S. While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu strongly supported the passage of this law, which adds no transparency to those receiving private donations and attempts to delegitimize Israeli organizations which abide by current transparency laws, he himself is currently –again– under investigation for allegations that he illegally received funds from foreign businessmen during his current tenure as prime minister. No wonder he doesn’t want private donations under too much scrutiny!