17 Knesset members back bill labeling foreign NGOs as ‘plants’

The Israeli Knesset building. Credit: Beny Shlevich via Wikimedia Commons.

(JNS.org) Member of Knesset Yoav Kisch’s (Likud) new bill proposing the characterization of certain NGOs that receive funding from entities outside Israel as foreign “plants,” or agents working against the state from within, is gaining momentum.

Seventeen Knesset members, including some from the opposition, have signed the bill, and 25,000 Israelis have expressed support for it on social media sites.

The proposal comes as a recent report issued by the Zionist group Im Tirtzu, titled “Shtulim (Plants) 2015,” argues that “there are Israeli organizations perceived by society as ‘leftist’ or ‘human rights’ groups but in fact they are not as such. They are foreign agents, extensively funded by foreign governments, and operating from within against Israeli society, against IDF soldiers, undermining Israel’s ability to defend itself in the war on terror.”

Kisch’s bill, which was first reported by Israel Hayom, proposes compelling NGOs listed as “plants” to divulge all funding sources and banning them from collaborating with government bodies or the IDF, with exceptions to be approved by the justice minister. The bill says it aims to provide the authorities and the public with the tools to “confront the erosion of democracy and the internal delegitimization of Israel, funded by foreign institutions and states.”

Under the proposal, an NGO classified as a “plant” that fails to comply would be fined $25,700. It proposes allowing Israel’s Registrar of Nonprofit Associations to petition the courts to dismantle any organization involved in activity deemed hostile toward the state.

Posted on December 18, 2015 .