July 12, 2016

Bibi imposes Putin-leaning NGO restrictions

In Israel today, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's carefully constructed Knesset majority passed a new law restricting NGOs that receive more than half their funding from foreign governments. Effectively, it establishes a second class for those NGOs, nearly all of which are devoted to expanding civil society and to connecting Israelis with likeminded democracy activists in Western Europe and the United States. That's right, U.S. Government-supported organizations are also included.

Not included? Dozens of right-wing, pro-settlement groups which receive funding from non-governmental foreign sources. In most cases, this unofficial funding is difficult to trace. And in many cases, those donating to the 'acceptable' NGOs are also major donors to political campaigns in the United States...invariably, Republican ones. And guess what? Netanyahu's Likud also receives significant support from those same individuals and enjoys close ties and coordination with the U.S. Republican Party; as Ambassador to the United States, Netanyahu confidant Ron Dermer has even spoken at the annual Republican strategy retreat convened by Sheldon Adelson. And Adelson is the most prominent of these donors, putting him in position to pull the strings of major politicians in both countries. And yet, no need for disclosure or special status, or Knesset speeches denouncing the right-wing groups as traitors.