Groups incl. Peace Now, ACRI, Breaking Silence, BTZELEM
The Zionist Organization of America has praised the initiative of Minister Michael Eitan (Likud) for convening a conference in the Knesset 2 days ago, entitled Foreign Government Funding for Political Activity in Israel At the conference, co-sponsored by two research organizations and attended by many Ministers, MKs and prominent academics, Minister Eitan presented a draft law requiring any group which engages in political activity and receives foreign governmental funding, to report it, and to identify itself as an agent of the funding government.
The amount of foreign governmental support for selected, usually very left-wing political NGOs is enormous, millions of shekel each year. In virtually every instance, the recipient organizations could not conduct their political campaigns, including demonstrations, ads in the media, world tours of their spokesmen, lobbying in the Knesset and law suits in the High Court, without such massive outside support.
Examples of organizations benefitting from foreign funding, primarily from European countries and the European Union, are:Adallah, Btzelem, Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Breaking the Silence, Peace Now and Ir Amim Although invited to participate in the conference, the organizations chose not to attend, and instead published attacks on the conference and on the proposed law
Unfortunately, until recently, the practice of foreign governments financing of proxy Israeli NGOs in order to implement their policies toward Israel, went virtually unnoticed. It was stressed at the conference that Israel is the only country in the world in which other governments intrude so blatantly into its internal decisions, by the use of surrogate Israeli political organizations
The idea behind the law is not new. Although the circumstances are different, it is based on the American law entitled Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), which was enacted in 1938 to combat Nazi propaganda within the US. Only last week, the US administration was asked to investigate an unregistered Iranian group, the National Iranian American Council, for possible violations of FARA in view of its political activity.
Morton Klein, President of the ZOA, declared, We are pleased that this insidious phenomenon is now being confronted. It is an unacceptable affront to the sovereignty of Israel, and we commend Minister Eitan for bringing it before the Israeli public. And, in particular, we are very proud of our former National Executive Director, Dr. Jan Sokolovsky, who has been writing about this subject for several years, and who participated in the drafting of the new law. At the conference, she compared the FARA law and the proposed Israeli law.
In a letter to the Jerusalem Post in March, Dr. Sokolovsky wrote: If foreign governments object to our policies, they should address their concerns at the diplomatic level. That is what nations do. We must not allow them to impose their foreign policy upon us from within, by vicariously infiltrating our judicial and legislative systems by means of paid surrogate NGOs.