Peace Now Statement On Knesset Probe into Left Wing Groups

Peace Now is very concerned about the new developments in the Knesset and from the proposed committee to investigate NGOs.

From a public standpoint, this is the first time that the Knesset has proposed the establishment of a committee that will investigate private citizens and NGOs based soley on their political activity. A situation where politicians are probing into the lives of private citizens based on their political opinions and activities is a very grave one. This investigation goes against all the values of a democracy and we must not let it happen in the State of Israel.

The current law (before the announcement of the committee) already gives adverse treatment to organizations that receive funding from sources abroad, even though the lists of all sources of funding are transparent and available to the public. The claims of the right-wing factions in the Knesset are absurd as all sources of foreign funding are made readily available. Right-Wing organizations on the other hand, keep the sources of their funding private and the lists of their donors are not available to the public.

While we are extremely troubled by the recent unprecedented actions against democracy, it is important to remember two important facts.

1. The committee will have no legal jurisdiction to force witnesses to appear before it to testify.
2. Even without testimony, the results of the committee’s investigations may speed up legislation that will not allow the organizations in question to continue operating in practice or in their current capacity.

We sincerely hope that the committee will not be organized and we will continue working and lobbying to stop it. If the committee does in fact begin its work, we anticipate that it will lead to a surge of action in our camp and hope that a boomerang effect is felt throughout mainstream Israeli society on both the Left and the Right.