PES condemns decision of the Israeli government to limit the work of NGOs

Friday, December 9, 2011 - 00:00

The recent legislation proposed by the right wing majority in the Israeli Knesset allows for classifications of NGOs into two categories, so as to limit the work of human rights NGOs in Israel. The legislation will effectively divide NGOs into two kinds: those considered “friendly” to Israel and those considered “political” or “unfriendly” to Israel.

If an NGO is classified as “political” they will be banned from receiving funds from foreign governments and donations from private sources will be taxed at 45 percent rate. These rules do not apply to NGOs that do not take a critical stance towards the Israeli government and its policies. PES shares the concerns raised by several Pro-peace NGOs in Israel who have labelled this legislation ‘discriminatory’ and that it clearly shows the Israeli government is applying double standards.
This bill is the latest in a list of legislative changes in Israel that has resulted in serious restrictions being placed on human rights organisations and NGOs. Furthermore this bill and previous pieces of legislation have been written in a manner that allows for a wide application of the term ‘anti-Israel’. The PES believes that this is a severe restriction on the freedom of expression of NGOs in Israel, and that the government should abandon this course of action. The PES joins High Representative Catherine Ashton and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton in expressing concern over what has been described as a series of anti-democratic bills.
PES Secretary General Philip Cordery stated that “during a year of spectacular movement towards democracy, the Israeli government is heading in the opposite direction. This is unacceptable. The PES implores the Israeli government to repeal this, and previous bills as they undermine the democratic life of the country”.
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