January 5, 2011 – New York – AJC is urging the Knesset to reconsider its decision today to create a parliamentary committee that will investigate Israeli groups critical of the Israel Defense Forces.
“The Knesset’s action today contravenes the democratic principles that are Israel’s greatest strength,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris. “Israel’s vibrant democracy not only can survive criticism, but it also thrives and is improved by it.”
The measure, adopted by a vote of 47-16, calls for establishing a special committee to examine funding of Israeli organizations engaged in advocacy seen by some as undermining support for Israel. Yisrael Beitenu, the party headed by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, introduced the measure afterIsrael’s attorney general, Yehuda Weinstein, had declined during the summer to investigate Israeli groups criticizing IDF actions.
AJC called on the Knesset to seek other means to address concerns about the role of funding in political and civic activity.
“The selective targeting of groups critical of the IDF runs counter to Israel’s legal and political tradition, and does no service to the one state that is a beacon of democracy in the Middle East,” said Harris.
“If there is a concern that foreign, and possibly malign, forces are funding civic or political groups in Israel, then let there be a debate on the advisability of requiring full disclosure of the revenues, and their sources, of all such groups across the political spectrum.”