Likud MK Danon: Criminalize Peace Now’s Political Activities, Including Foreign Govt Funding
October 27, 2009

Israeli Member of the Knesset, Danny Danon (Likud) has announced plans to criminalize the political activities of the Peace Now organization and others of its kind. Danon says he is working on legislation that would prohibit all organizations funded by foreign governments from engaging in political activity inside Israel. Peace Now is heavily funded by European governments, particularly those of Norway, Finland and Britain. Danon has previously called for Peace Now to be stripped of its non-profit status due to its failure to publicize its foreign funding (Maayana Miskin, ‘Danon: Criminalize “Peace Now,”’ Israel National News, October 26, 2009)


In August, Mr. Danon called on the Registrar of Non-Profit Organizations to drop Peace Now from its list and to officially dismantle the group, saying Peace Now was persistently breaking the law by failing to publicize its funding from foreign governments. (According to Israeli law, a non-profit organization that receives funding from foreign bodies must publicize that fact on its website). During prior investigations conducted by the Registrar of Non-Profit Organizations, Peace Now was forced to admit to receiving significant amounts of money from foreign governments.


Peace Now’s European government contributors include the Norwegian government, which gave 800,000 shekels, the European Union as a whole, which gave 451,600 shekels, and the government of Finland. In addition, the British government gave the group more than 540,000 shekels for the express purpose of tracking and publicizing Jewish growth in Judea and Samaria under its “Settlement Watch” project. Danon says that “Peace Now is acting as an agent on behalf of foreign governments, which blatantly interfere in internal Israeli affairs. Either this is essentially treason, or, given the sums of money involved, it’s about the profit” (Maayana Miskin,Danon: Break Up Peace Now,’ Israel National News, August 20, 2009).


Peace Now, once an Israeli fringe group whose idea began to influence the left-of-center mainstream during the 1990s, has urged the Israeli government and public for decades to make major territorial concessions to the Palestinian Arabs and Arab regimes and heavily criticized past Israeli governments for not doing so – and actually blaming Israel for the lack of peace. Despite 16 years since the commencement of the failed Oslo process, in which Israel ceded half of Judea and Samaria, all of Gaza, as well as assets, funds and even arms to the Palestinian Authority (PA), only to receive unprecedented terrorism and extremism in return, Peace Now continues to urged massive concessions to the unreconstructed, terror-supporting PA.


Unsurprisingly, Israelis have lost confidence in the judgment and good sense of Peace Now and no longer support its one-sided, concessionary policies. An August 2009 poll conducted by Magaar Mohot Survey Institute has found that 41% of Israeli Jews believe that the Peace Now movement has caused great damage to the State of Israel while only 19% think it has not. Among new immigrants to Israel, 36% agreed that Peace Now caused great damage and 8% disagreed (Dr. Aaron Lerner, ‘Poll: Peace Now has caused great damage to the State of Israel 41%:19%,’ Independent Media Review & Analysis, August 26, 2009). According to reports, other Israeli pollsters have made a similar finding: 58% of those surveyed agreed that Peace Now has caused great damage to Israel, as against only 28% who disagreed (‘58%: Peace Now Really is a Virus,’ Israel National News, August 31, 2009).


Peace Now also has a history of falsely claiming that Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria are built principally on land that is Palestinian-owned. In a 2006 report, Peace Now claimed that “a large proportion of the settlements built on the West Bank are built on privately owned Palestinian land,” including 86.4% of land upon which the city of Ma’ale Adumim is built. After being proved false, Peace Now never addressed the objections, only eventually admitting that no more than 0.54% of Ma’ale Adumim’s land was privately owned by Palestinians. Similar results occurred with respect of other Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, such as Revava. Sued by The Fund for Redeeming the Land, which formally owns Revava’s land, for libel in Jerusalem Magistrates Court, Peace Now was convicted of libel and ordered to pay the Fund 20,000 NIS and to make a public apology. ZOA has previously described the findings in the case of Revava.



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