New Israel Fund witch-hunt continues in Knesset. Meretz MK to the defense

New Israel Fund witch-hunt continues in Knesset. Meretz MK to the defense

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Last week, Kadima MK Yulia Shamalov Berkovich introduced an urgent motion to the Knesset plenum, accusing “organizations supported by the New Israel Fund” of, “treasonous behavior”, “involvement in subversive activity against … officers in the Israel Defense Forces,” and, “making common cause with our greatest enemies to realize their goal – the obliteration of Zionism”. The Kadima MK compared the NIF to the Nazis (“we won’t go like sheep to the slaughter”).
Knesset members from the Likud, Yisrael Beiteinu, National Union, and United Torah Judaism parties joined the ominous chorus.

New Movement-Meretz MK Nitzan Horowitz rose to an impassioned defense of the New Israel Fund. Comparing the Knesset members’ attacks to a “witch hunt”, he said:

“There would be no civil society in Israel without the New Israel Fund. Organizations for … equal rights for the disabled, representation for the mentally ill, for development towns, new immigrants, Ethiopians, for everything just and right in this country…

“I’ve seen the propaganda against the NIF, I’ve seen the personal [attacks] against Naomi Chazan, former Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, who was drawn with a horn on her head. She is a great woman.

“I’ve been listening to what’s been said here: ‘Moser’, ‘terrorists’, ‘knife in the back’, we’re ‘all abetting the terrorists’, we all ‘want to persecute IDF soldiers’, we all ‘want government ministers to sit in jail’. What vicious chatter.”

Referring to the attacks on Naomi Chazan, Horowitz said: “Mister Speaker, the woman is going around with bodyguards. Haven’t we said it enough times … these words have an effect!”

“I want to clarify in the most authoritative manner, and what I’m saying is on behalf of the NIF …

“1. The NIF has not and will not support putting officers on trial outside of Israel;

“2. The NIF has not worked with the organizations mentioned in the report of that organization whose name I don’t care to mention {note: Horowitz is referring to “Im Tirtzu”};

“3. Against this defamation – which borders on incitement to violence – thank God we still have courts in Israel and … slander and libel suits are being brought, because you can’t just stand there all the time and – pardon the expression – say it’s raining when you’re getting pissed on. Enough is enough!

“Knesset members, I want to tell you that all the red lines and all the boundaries have been crossed in this agitation against the NIF and against my friend, Naomi Chazan… This is clearly an attack on freedom of speech unlike anything we’ve ever had in Israel… So you want to silence their voices? To prohibit them from receiving donations? … Deal with their claims. I don’t agree with some of these claims, either – so you have a debate. What are you afraid of, for God’s sake?

“Mr. Speaker: I adopt your definition – as long as this is legal activity under the laws of the State of Israel, we have freedom of expression here and the argument is a political one. Is there something illegal here being done by some organization? Go to the police, then, submit a complaint. The police will know how to handle it.

“In conclusion, … the citizens of Israel need to know that 90% of the NIF’s funds come from Jewish donors who care about Israel’s identity as a Jewish and democratic state in their heart and soul. The New Israel Fund supports hundreds of social support organizations in Israel, and whoever destroys the Fund will critically wound civil society in Israel…

“I was afraid that this bombardment would hurt the New Israel Fund. I want to tell you that, since it began, support and contributions for the NIF from the American Jewish community have grown and grown. So all the agitators should know that they’re achieving the opposite of what they want, because we will not surrender.”

By | 2010-05-07T14:12:07-04:00 May 7th, 2010|Blog, Civil Rights, Israeli Government, Israeli Left, Meretz, Zionism|0 Comments

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