ACRI on Revised “Transparency Bill”

Read letter and op-ed about dangerous legislative bill aiming to limit freedom of expression and legitimate civil society activity in Israel

ACRI continues to combat MK Elkin’s dangerous “Duty of disclosure regarding those supported by a Foreign State Entity” bill. Though “watered down” in its current form, it still poses a grave threat to freedom of expression and civil society in Israel.

Ahead of a hearing on August 16 of the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, ACRI sent a letter detailing our opposition to MK David Rotem, the committee head. During the hearing, the draft bill was approved. The bill will now advance to a first vote. After that stage, and before being brought to the final 2nd and 3rd votes, there will be an opportunity for further amendments to the law.

Several months ago, this bill passed a preliminary vote (with overwhelming MK support – and the government’s backing), and has since been deliberated until a new version of the bill was drafted – and discussed at yesterday’s hearing. The original version of the bill was outrageously unacceptable. As such, ACRI submitted a position paper on the original version in February when it was first introduced.

The up-to-date version of the bill has been “watered-down”. Specifically, such aspects as revoking tax status and requiring reporting to the registrar of political parties (in addition to the reporting to the registrar of non-profits) have been eliminated. Still, ACRI is opposed to this legislation even in its current form, since it is simply superfluous: the goal of transparency (per funding from foreign states) has already been achieved through existing legislation, which has been amended in recent years. But worse – even in its current form, the Bill is inappropriately selective, as it is not applied equally to any and all donations received by Israeli organizations from foreign sources. ACRI has called upon the Law Committee MKs not to support the bill, due to its redundancy and selective nature. Alternatively, we urged the MKs to amend the bill by requiring full transparency of all types of organizations regarding all the sources of their foreign funding, not limiting the expanded reporting requirements only to funds received from foreign state entities. Read an op-ed by ACRI Executive Director Hagai El-Ad, published this week in The Jerusalem Post.

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Categories: Anti-Democratic Initiatives, Democracy and Civil Liberties

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