The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) voiced renewed concern on Monday over the NGO Transparency Law Israel's Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked is pushing through the Knesset.
The bill would require Israeli NGOs who receive more than half their funding from foreign states to disclose their sources of funding and identify themselves as "foreign agents" when lobbying MKs.
“The strength of Israeli society internally, as well as its international position, has been its bedrock commitment to democracy and free expression,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO.
“There is no doubt that many Israelis today feel beleaguered, both by the security situation and the campaign to undermine the Jewish state’s legitimacy," he continued. "However, efforts to counter such campaigns through the tarring of NGOs and those holding certain political perspectives, threaten to erode Israel’s very democratic character, and could significantly harm Israel’s international legitimacy."
"We urge Knesset members to carefully consider the negative ramifications of the passage of this legislation," Greenblatt added.
The ADL's sudden renewed interest comes after US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro issued a highly irregular statement about his meeting with Shaked with regard to the NGO bill.
"Among the topics discussed was the government’s draft NGO bill," stated the announcement. "Ambassador Shapiro sought more information about the draft legislation from the Minister, and noted the US government’s concerns on the matter."
Shaked quickly rejected the criticism, saying, "there is no cause for concern. Israel is a strong democracy and as such there is no need for other nations to intervene in internal legislation. Our door is open to dialogue with friends."