By Yehuda Erdman
January 8, 2011
Meretz UK notes with alarm the recent vote in the Knesset to investigate funding of Israeli NGOs on the grounds that they may be harming the IDF. This motion was sponsored by Yisrael Beitenu led by Avigdor Lieberman the current Foreign Minister of Israel. Many have called on Prime Minister Netanyahu to sack Lieberman from this post as he is regarded as a loose cannon and the Prime Minister's office is often issuing qualifying statements after one of Lieberman's non-diplomatic outbursts. Now Lieberman is flexing his muscles and has launched an attack on leftist organisations in Israel which he has accused of aiding the enemies of Israel. These organisations include Peace Now, Betzelem and other human rights organisations. The New Israel Fund (NIF) has previously been the target of a smear campaign by a group of right wing extremists calling themselves "Im Tirzu" who also attacked the President of the NIF, former MK Professor Naomi Hazan, in a virulent ad hominem way. They contended that the NIF was chanelling funds to orgainsations which then passed information to "Israel's enemies", specifically the Goldstone investigation of operation Castlead.
Not content with a smear campaign, the attack on the left wing in Israel has been raised to a new height by a McCarthyist style witch hunt of NGOs. This is going to backfire because one day the pendulum will swing away from Yisrael Beiteinu, and they may find themselves under investigation for various matters. In any case it is very undemocratic to launch an attack based on partisan considerations, and as democracy is a fragile system at the best of times it is highly regrettable that the Knesset has voted in favour of this ill-judged motion.