JERUSALEM – In response to the NGO Funding Transparency bill becoming law today, Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor, released the following statement:
This new law helps protect Israeli democracy and civil society from manipulation, and it provides the appropriate framework to hold foreign governments accountable for their NGO funding. The Knesset action reflects a broad understanding that transparency for foreign government funding of political advocacy NGOs transcends partisan ideology, and is essential to the public’s right to know and to Israeli democracy.
Foreign governments allocate funds to numerous organizations and activities in Israel, yet the secrecy regarding political advocacy groups is especially problematic, since the recipient groups often are active in demonization through the UN, the European parliament, and foreign capitals.
Democratic governments should operate with greater transparency with respect to other democracies. The Knesset vote was triggered by the extreme secrecy of European governments regarding tens of millions of euros used for political advocacy funding in Israel. Ultimately, the EU and Europe need to be transparent since they manipulate Israeli democracy. The new NGO Funding Transparency Law will help hold governments accountable for their funding practices.