Israel’s Knesset Passes Controversial ‘NGO Bill’ despite International Criticism

Minister of Justice, Ayelet Shaked. (Photo: File)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

Israel’s Knesset, passed the controversial “NGO bill” on Monday, following a six-hour debate, despite human rights groups insisting the bill seeks to “silence criticism” and deligitimize left-wing groups.

The legislation, also referred to as the “transparency bill”, compels left-wing organizations to make their foreign funding public in official publications and at government meetings, if more than 50 percent came from foreign entities. Failure to do so would result in fines of up to $29,200 shekels ($7,500)

Israeli Justice Minister, Ayelet Shaked, leader of the ultranationalist Jewish Home Party, said the bill would crack down on groups who receive foreign funds in order to criticize Israel. She has long been promoting violence against Palestinians and ethnic cleansing of Palestinian Arabs, the native population of today’s Israel.

Gilad Grossman, spokesman for rights group Yesh Din, said the bill was an attempt to “paint human rights organizations as foreign agents.”

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) said: “The law is but one of a series of bills and initiatives that oppose legitimate social and political action, adding that it aims to “silence criticism”.

The Israeli human rights watchdog, Peace Now, condemned the bill’s passage, saying that its “true intention is to divert the Israeli public discourse away from the occupation and to silence opposition to the government’s policies”.

“While the law will de-legitimize left wing organizations, pro-settler NGOs who receive millions of dollars in foreign donations without any transparency will remain unaffected,” the group said.

Peace Now also announced that they would be challenging the new legislation in Israel’s Supreme Court.

(Palestine Chronicle)

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