The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has praised recent laws passed by the Knesset in Jerusalem that would lead to the ouster of Members of the Knesset (MKs) who declare support for terrorism or racism, penalizes desecration of the Israeli flag and obliges non-Governmental organizations (NGOs) to reveal their sources of foreign government funding if such funding accounts for more than half of their revenues.
The ZOA believes that these laws strengthen rather than weaken Israeli democracy, ensuring that the democratic norms and conventions of Israel are not abused by MKs who have no loyalty to the county in whose legislature they serve.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “These laws are designed to give due protection to Israeli sovereignty by demanding transparency, preventing disloyal MKs from abusing their position of public trust by supporting criminal activities like terrorism and racism, and providing reasonable protection to a national symbol like the national flag.
“Thus, an MK who, for example, pays a condolence call to the families of terrorists who were killed carrying out terror attacks on Israeli citizens, can be expelled by the Knesset if a three-quarters majority of its 120 members agree. The large majority required ensures that any such expulsion would not be a simple, partisan measure adopted by a governing coalition, but would have broad recognition and support in Israeli society.
“The NGO law, as we have already said in its support earlier this month, does not prevent free and vigorous advocacy of whatever positions a NGO chooses to take up. It does not prohibit or impede foreign private funding. Nor does it prohibit or impede foreign government funding; it is solely a matter of public disclosure of foreign government sources.
“Far from harming free speech, honest opinion and civil society, this is democracy in action, as it obliges NGOs to disclose their sources of foreign government funding if such funding accounts for more than half of its revenues.
“No genuine liberty is thereby abused. Rather, the rights and interests of all Israelis can be better protected by these laws.”