English translation of the new anti human rights organizations Knesset bill

Posted: June 17th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: In the News, The Left, The Right | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Israeli legislators increase their efforts to put limits the work of human rights organizations, and even ban them altogether. Last month I reported here on a new Knesset bill which, if passes, will enable the state to shut down any association or organization which provides information that is used in prosecutions outside Israel against IDF officers. In other words, all watchdog groups which deal with Israel’s security forces – from Amnesty to The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel -  are in danger.

The bill was introduced after the extreme right-wing group Im Tirzu launched a smear campaign against the New Israel Fund, falsely claiming that the NIF is responsible for most of the anti-Israeli evidences in the Goldstone report.

Ironically, it was announced this week that a former IDF infantry soldier might be charged with manslaughter during operation Cast Lead. The soldier shot at a group of Palestinian civilians carrying white flags, killing two women. B’Tselem, an NIF sponsored human rights organization, conducted an independent investigation that led to the charges in this case, which was also cited on the Goldstone report. The Israeli army ceased to conduct its own investigations into the killing of Palestinian civilians, unless a clear evidence of wrongdoing is brought before it.

If the new bill is passed, B’Tselem won’t be able to investigate such cases anymore, as the evidences it collects might be used to prosecute Israeli generals and government ministers.

Here are the two changes that will be put into the law concerning associations in Israel if the new bill is passed, followed by the introduction to the bill, as it was submitted to the Knesset not long ago.

I thank Dena Shunra of Shunra Media, Inc. for translating the bill from Hebrew.

First: “No association will be formed if the Registrar has been persuaded that the association will be involved with or will convey to foreign elements information on the subject of law suits proceeding in instances operating outside of the Stated of Israel, against senior persosn in Israel or military officers, due to war crimes.”

Second [an addition to the close on shutting down associations]: “The association was involved in or will convey to foreign elements information in the subject of law suits being heard in instances operating outside of the State of Israel, against senior persons in Israel or military officers, due to war crimes.”

“Explanation:

As it stands today, the act prohibits the registration and activity of an association which denies the existence of the State of Israel or its democratic nature. Additionally, the association cannot be registered or would be stricken by force of an order by a District Court to the extent that its activity is unlawful.

In recent years the State of Israel has undergone upheaval which has not been easy, neither in terms of security nor in terms of statesmanship. Israel’s propaganda [hasbara] ability has been gravely damaged in light of the fierce and anti-Zionist opposition abroad to the defense actions by the state.

Palestinian propaganda has been influential in the public at large, and especially with youngsters and students at many academic institutes throughout Europe and the United States. Israel’s activity in the [occupied] territories, even if it is within the framework of a defensive military operation following attack and firing of missiles toward our state is perceived as not being legitimate.

The controversial and uni-dimensional United Nations report by Justice Goldstone about the actions of the Israel Defense Forces in Gaza in the course of Operation Cast Lead has brought Israel to an unprecedented nadir, in terms of propaganda.
In many countries, such as Britain, calls are growing stronger for the arrest of senior figures in the Israeli government and officers of the Israel Defense Forces, due to war crimes carried out against Palestinians.

The best leaders and officers find themselves anxious lest they be arrested in a foreign country, for crimes that did not occur and which are ascribed to them.

It is most regretful that especially in this era, when we ought to be united against those groundless accusations, we witness Israeli associations and organizations which act against Israel, below the surface.

These organizations provide assistance of one form or another to foreign organizations which wish to issue arrest warrants and indictments against senior Israeli figures. [punctuation sic] Be it by conveying information (which is mostly erroneous and also untruthful) to foreign elements who are our enemies, or be it by publicly agreeing or affirming that Israel is guilty of war crimes. They sometimes even provide substantial legal assistance in establishing the arguments.

The foundation for this proposed law is that this activity or any hint thereof must be outlawed (especially with regard to associations which receive much funding and some of which are also supported by the State), as they are in fact undermining the State and harming it, as though they had denied its existence.

For this reason, the proposed legislation proposes that the registration of an association about which there are reasonable grounds to suspect that it will act in a judiciary manner against senior figures in the government or in the Israel Defense Forces, in cooperation with foreign elements.

Additionally, it is proposed that any association whose activity is directed against senior figures in the government or in the Israel Defense Forces be dissolved. The dissolution will be in the manner set forth in the Associations Act 5740-1980, by way of expanding the causes of dissolving an association by court order, which would be filed by the Registrar of Associations or by the Attorney General.”

Last week, 20 lawmakers introduced another bill, that would  make it illegal for Israelis to take part in calls to boycott Israeli products or institutions. Both bills, whose intention is to limit the possibility to protest or fight government policy, received support from most Knesset parties, including members of dovish opposition party Kadima.


5 Comments on “English translation of the new anti human rights organizations Knesset bill”

  1. 1 anonymous said at 6:53 pm on June 17th, 2010:

    This is my last comment on your blog because today I came to understand that just by being here I am supporting you.

    I hope this bill doesn’t pass, but I challenge you to think carefully about why this is happening. It is not happening because of a rightward shift in Israel – the same Likud and Netanyahu are in power as 11 years ago, and in fact this Likud has accepted a two-state paradigm. In fact, Kadima won more votes than Likud last election even with all of Olmert’s screw-ups.

    The reason this is happening is that people like you have thrown Israel out the window with your incessant attacks about everything it does while excusing the Palestinians and their refusal to make peace. The problem is that because you are Jewish or Israeli and Jewish, you have provided the perfect cover for those people and groups who want to seriously harm Israel and make it into some mythical “Palestine” as if there was ever a Palestine of any sort, mythical or not.

    Most of the serious and most harmful anti-Israel activists are Jewish or Jewish and Israeli. You serve as a mask for people who want to destroy Israel. It is not accidental that Goldstone is Jewish.

    But you, Noam, should know better. You know, for example, from personal experience, that while the IDF is a big lumbering organization that makes mistakes, it is an army that checks itself to prevent unnecessary casualties on both sides. You know, from personal experience, that while there are certainly some soldiers who hold the Palestinians in contempt (among them Beduin and Druze soldiers), most soldiers would rather have peace and the army itself is not disposed to either brutality or to wanton murder.

    Reading your blog would lead a person to think otherwise about Israel, about the IDF, about Israelis and about Israeli politicians. I’m not a utopian and I believe that Israel’s faults should be criticized, but a rational and fair approach is the only reasonable way to do this. You are not reasonable and neither is B’Tzelem. Adalah is ridiculous and so are the several other organizations this legislation is targeting.

    The Israelis are under severe pressure because of you and people like you, that’s why they are now closing in on themselves. What’s left when no matter what you do, there are shills from among your own people who support the enemy? Armies on every side, Arab leaders constantly threatening, Israeli Arabs on the offensive with a mission to make Nakba part of a new constitution, and then Jews and Jewish Israelis are now being the most vocal critics.

    And lo and behold, here you are criticizing the latest Israeli reaction. What did you think would happen? Did you think they would make peace when the other side won’t even discuss serious proposals like Olmert’s? Did you think they would move back to 1949 lines and give up the kotel to people who don’t even believe Jews were there? How stupid do you think the Israelis are?

    Sure, you want the occupation to end. Fair enough. But all the rest of it? The endless attacks on Israel? Come on.

    Imagine, for a moment, that you had used all this energy to point out the unfortunate positions of the Palestinians in this conflict. Imagine if you had used your voice to convince other Leftists and anti-Israel activists to target the Palestinian leadership instead of Israel. You know you couldn’t because you would be shut up, but imagine if you did. Perhaps then, instead of feeling empowered, the Palestinians would today feel threatened and in trouble so that they have to make peace and could not postpone it indefinitely.

    Would this legislation have come up in the Knesset then? Never. And there might even be peace.

    It’s you and the far Left and the not so far Left and your friends the Islamists who want to destroy Israel. You have killed the center and you are killing Israel. The irony is that you are killing it so that it can become another Lebanon and eventually another Gaza. That’s when you will have your supposed “justice.” Then you can write, if they let you, about kneecapping opposing party members, or dark visits in the night or legally sanctioned murder of “traitors.”

    Here, look at this article. If you start planning now, you can blame the next war on Israel as well, or just plan how to accuse them of war crimes:

    http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=178723

    You don’t have to respond, I’m not coming back.

  2. 2 noam said at 2:35 am on June 18th, 2010:

    Anonymous – I’m sorry to hear you won’t be coming here anymore. Still, there are a few things I have to answer, if not for you than for other readers.

    First, though I hold very critical views on the current Israeli policies, if you followed this blog from the start, you would have realized I deal with other things as well, especially political analysis. But since Netanyahu’s government came into power, there has been a change in the political atmosphere here, and I think my writing reflects it.

    You claim that the criticism on Israel is a result of the action of a small number of. I don’t agree. But even if it was true, the real question is whether this criticism is justified or not. Saying that Israelis are becoming anxious and hostile because of the way they are portrayed in the world, so they abandon basic democratic principle, is a strange argument as well. I believe Israelis should get the message and change their ways, not kill the messenger.

    I’m glad you brought up B’tzelem in your comment, because it captures the whole debate. You say: since people who hate Israel and wish it destroyed use B’tzelem’s reports against Israel, let’s shut down B’tzelem. I say: let’s check if what B’tzelem is saying is true, and if so, let’s fix it, because this is what really matters. This goes for other issues as well. If the Israeli parliament passes a law banning human right organizations or limiting freedom of speech for Arabs, you say we should not report it, because it gives the country a bad name. But in these cases, it’s a bad name it deserves.

    As for your political analysis regarding who is to blame for the situation, the tendencies among Palestinians or the actions of the IDF, you know we are in disagreement (though most of our arguments weren’t on facts, but on their meaning). It’s OK to have different opinions, and you are always welcomed here to debate these issues. But what you ask now – just like what the Knesset would like to do with its new bill – is to stop the debate.

  3. 3 meika said at 3:19 pm on June 19th, 2010:

    All countries are myths. No country has a right to exist. Peace is not an optional extra.

  4. 4 Henry said at 4:41 am on June 20th, 2010:

    Israel is ruled by the eight bankers families which own the private FED. Without them nothing goes either in Israel or anywhere in the capitalist world.

  5. 5 Kalman said at 11:37 am on June 24th, 2010:

    Henry is a certifiable lunatic. I wonder why he writes in this thread.

    BTW A proposed piece of legislation is not the same as a passed law.

    One can propose legislation to force elephants to fly by flapping their ears but getting it passed and enforcing it is about as probable as Henry having a working brain.