Lieberman slams PM's opposition to NGO inquiries

FM: NGOs aid terror organizations; Yesh Din: If PM doesn't file criminal complaint against them, "he's a liar"; ACRI calls FM true danger to Israel.

July 17, 2011 10:59
2 minute read.
Avigdor Lieberman

Avigdor Lieberman 521. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Sunday attacked the Likud and its leader, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for not supporting his party's legislation for parliamentary inquiries into human rights and left-wing NGOs, Army Radio reported.

"I expect loyalty and collegiality from the heads of the Likud," the foreign minister said ahead of the weekly cabinet meeting. "It strikes me as strange that they are so staunchly opposing a proposal for creating parliamentary investigatory committees to investigate the funding of leftist organizations."

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"I was surprised by the prime minister's announcement," he said, referring to Netanyahu's statement last week that he would not support the Israel Beiteinu inquiry initiative. "There's a campaign of delegitimization and lies against Israel Beiteinu and our proposal," Lieberman accused.

Arguing for the establishment of the inquiry committees, Lieberman said that the NGOs are not left-wing or human rights organizations, but rather accused them of delegitimizing Israel, aiding terrorism, particularly those who assisted the Goldstone Commission.

Human rights NGO Yesh Din responded harshly to Lieberman's comments accusing the organizations of aiding terrorism. "If the foreign minister doesn't file a police complaint and pass on the information in his possession within 24 hours, everyone will know that he is a liar and his sole purpose is to incite against the [NGOs]," Yesh Din chief legal advisor Michael Sfard said on Sunday.

Lieberman's operating methods, Sfard added, "are reminiscent of the methods applied by dark regimes in order to deal with those deemed as government critics."

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel responded, saying, "It's a shame that Lieberman is not familiar with the official documents, among them Foreign Ministry reports boasting of the important actions of human rights organizations in Israel."

"The truly dangerous thing is politicians who lead by using incitement and hate in order to appeal to populism."

Earlier, Lieberman's Arab affairs advisor said that Israeli leftists, not foreign activists caused the most damage in the recent fly-in protest dubbed "Flightilla" by media outlets, Army Radio reported on Sunday.

Ishmael Khaldi, a Lieberman advisor, told career soldiers in a closed meeting that Israeli leftists "behaved in a way that borders on damaging the security of the state," according to the report.

"Those that caused damage to our image in the 'Flightilla' events were not foreign activists," the advisor said, "they were leftists from Israel."

Khaldi also addressed the Arab Spring, denying that the revolutions taking place are democratic, instead saying that they are popular protest against dictatorial regimes against a backdrop of harsh economic conditions.

"Israel is the strongest country in the the Middle East," he said, and it does not need to feel threatened by the turmoil in the region.

Addressing the Palestinian plan to seek statehood recognition in the United Nations this September, Khaldi said such a plan would be breaking every bilateral agreement between the two sides. "Such a decision will create false expectations, it won't bring any political benefit to Palestinians and will cause increased frustration."

Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report

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