They Say/We Say: "Transparency is a good thing – unless you have something to hide."

They Say We Say We know that pro-Israel does not mean blindly supporting policies that are irrational, reckless, and counter-productive. Pro-Israel means supporting policies that are consistent with Israel's interests and promote its survival as a Jewish, democratic state.

You've heard the arguments of the religious and political right-wing, and so have we. They've had their say. Now, we'll have ours.

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They Say, We Say: Why should we be worried about Israeli democracy?

They Say:

Why does the Left oppose Israel’s 2016 NGO Transparency law? Transparency is a good thing – unless you have something to hide.

We Say: Transparency is indeed a good thing. However, Israel’s NGO law (passed in July 2016) is not about transparency – it is about demonizing progressive NGOs. The fact is, transparency regarding NGOs and their funding has long existed in Israel. Indeed, enhanced transparency for NGOs receiving foreign government funding has been in effect for years, by virtue of a 2011 law. According to that law, all non-profit organizations receiving funding from foreign governments must disclose all such funding in their quarterly reports to the government’s registrar and must post this information publicly. The NGOs in question do, in fact, publish these details on their websites, fully available to the public.

If transparency was truly the issue in question, then the 2016 “transparency” law would have been written to require disclosure not only with respect to foreign government funding (which goes almost entirely to progressive civil society NGOs and other NGOs working on peace and human rights) but also with respect to foreign individuals (who provide massive amounts of funding for right-wing NGOs). Instead, the bill permits right-wing NGOs to continue to maintain secrecy with respect to their funders, while NGOs on the left, which are already transparent about their donors, are publicly branded, in effect, as agents of foreign governments.