Transparency Needed for All Israeli NGOs

A body that seeks to hide from the light of day is bound to have rot or to develop it.

It is difficult to understand the strong opposition of leftist organizations and their supporters in the media and Likud to a parliamentary committee of inquiry. Strategic thinking, rather than the conditioned reflex with which they responded, would have taught them that such a committee would raise their status at home and abroad, and would only increase donations from governments and organizations abroad. The media, which decides what will be broadcast from the committee's deliberations, which statements to exult and which to ridicule, is, a priori (as the proposers of the idea may have realized since the start of public debate on the issue ) on the side of the leftist groups; especially the foreign press, which will derive particular delicacies from the hearings.

Dan Meridor, Benny Begin and Reuven Rivlin
David Bachar

What Israel needs, and exists, for example, in the United States, is a "transparency law," which requires any body assisted by contributions from foreign organizations and governments to annually declare the source of those contributions, their purpose and beneficiaries. The law would apply to both left-wing and right-wing groups, Jewish as well as Arab; associations for the unification of Jerusalem and associations for its division; groups claiming that information they gave to the Goldstone Commission is the absolute truth and groups proving that the information is false and that the goal of the foreign governments and groups funding Breaking the Silence, a group that collects testimony from IDF soldiers and veterans about their service in the territories, is to prevent Israel from defending its citizens.

Transparency will also apply to groups that claim that the IDF commits war crimes and to those that prove that the IDF is pure and clean and that no army in the world comes close to the high moral standards of its combat - and that is true.

Those who work within the law have nothing to worry about the inquiry. Certainly that is the case for leftist groups that enjoy the backing of the High Court of Justice. It is, in fact, right-wing groups - which quite a few recent studies have shown are discriminated against by that body and, of course, by the media - that have to worry. A body that seeks to hide from the light of day is bound to have rot or to develop it. The fact that this time the media, which always uses that reasoning when other bodies are trying to prevent investigation, is standing up for the groups that want to hide the names of the foreign governments and entities that fund their activities - including those who fund the persecution of IDF officers - should be looked into, and more.

Dan Meridor, Benny Begin and Reuven Rivlin know this is true. And therefore, along with their (justifiable ) opposition to investigatory panels, they must support a "transparency law." After all, Michael Eitan, their colleague in the liberal wing of Likud, has initiated it. If they also oppose such a law, it is a sign that there is something to the claim that they have been caught up by political correctness. And Avigdor Lieberman (some of whose statements are rightly criticized, but a fascist he is not ) is correct that Likud is not behaving like a ruling party. Indeed, it never has. Its leaders, from Begin to Netanyahu (except for Yitzhak Shamir ), have always sought legitimization from the left.

Is this a distortion that can be corrected? If Begin, Meridor and Rivlin will support, for example, the "transparency law," it could show Lieberman's claim to be baseless.