Lieberman Slams Netanyahu for Rejecting Probe of Leftist Groups

Passage of boycott law prompts Yisrael Beiteinu to revive inititiative to advance bill to investigate funding sources of human rights groups; PM's Likud party says won't support bill.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman harshly criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday for opposing a parliamentary committee to investigate the funding of left-wing human rights groups.

Lieberman criticized the Likud ministers' opposition to the Yisrael Beiteinu bill as "very strange", noting that since the establishment of the Knesset, more than 25 parliamentary investigation committees have been set up, and seven of them were headed by Likud MKs.

The passage of the boycott law by the Knesset earlier this week prompted right-wing legislators to revive the initiative for parliamentary inquiry into human rights groups. Lieberman said on Tuesday he would bring the bill on the parliamentary committees for a Knesset vote next week.

Now the initiative is unlikely to pass the Knesset vote because a majority of Knesset members appear set to vote against it.

Leftist protesters in Tel Aviv on Saturday, June 5, 2010.
Nir Keidar

Lieberman went on to criticize Likud's opposition on Sunday, saying the party has supported many other parliamentary inquiry panels such as the one on integrating Arab employees into the public sector, chaired by United Arab List-Ta'al MK Ahmed Tibi.

Lieberman said that Yisrael Beiteinu is very surprised by Likud's stance on the proposal to investigate leftist NGOs, and that it feels deep discomfort by Likud's actions on this matter. He noted however that he is not interested in causing a coalition crisis due to Likud's opposition.

The foreign minister also went on to claim that the parliamentary inquiry panel that his party wants to advance is not aiming against leftist organizations or human rights groups, but against bodies that delegitimize Israel and aid terror, in particular those who helped the Goldstone committee.