Knesset to vote on possible probe of left-wing NGOs

Israel Beiteinu, Likud MKs propose parliamentary inquiry into funding of organizations that "delegitimize" state.

July 13, 2011 01:40
2 minute read.
The Knesset adjourning for its spring break.

Knesset session 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin announced on Tuesday that the Knesset will vote next week on whether to establish a parliamentary inquiry into left-wing NGOs and their funding.

After consulting House Committee chairman MK Yariv Levin (Likud), Rivlin decided to put the vote, proposed by MK Faina Kirschenbaum (Israel Beiteinu), on the agenda for next Wednesday.

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Kirschenbaum’s proposal began as a motion on the Knesset’s agenda in January, which passed with 41 MKs in favor and only 17 opposed.

MK Danny Danon (Likud) also asked that his proposal to form a parliamentary inquiry committee to investigate Israeli NGOs that take part in delegitimization of the IDF be put to a vote on July 20.

“After it approved the ‘Boycott Bill,’ I believe the Knesset will vote in favor of forming investigative committees that will close the loopholes in the law, which allow extremists to harm the State of Israel,” Danon said.

Rivlin said that although he is wary of “turning the Knesset into the ‘investigative branch’ of government,” the Knesset should make a decision on the issue of foreign funding for NGOs.

He added that parliamentary inquiries should be used for national issues only, and not sectorial ones.

“This is undoubtedly a dangerous and problematic precedent,” Rivlin said. “However, I do not think it is the Knesset Speaker’s role to intervene in this manner.”

A number of left-wing NGOs, which are likely to be subjected to the inquiry should it be approved by the Knesset, released a joint statement that they “do not intend to play a role in this political show trial.”

“In a democratic state, the Knesset supervises the executive branch, and not civil, social organizations,” the statement by Doctors for Human Rights, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel and Yesh Din read.

Later Tuesday, during the time allotted for MKs to give one-minute speeches in the plenum, MK Ahmed Tibi (UAL-Ta’al) called the move a result of “Israel Beiteinu’s appetite for McCarthyism,” which followed “the Likud’s meal of fascism” in the form of the “Boycott Bill.”

MK Shlomo Molla (Kadima) warned that “the Knesset is falling into the abyss by following every political caprice of the extreme right, which proposes a new, anti-democratic bill each day.”

MK Yohanan Plesner (Kadima) asked Rivlin to “prevent this embarrassment. I ask you to stop this proposal,” he said.

Rivlin said in response that he does not have the authority to prevent the vote from taking place.

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