The Knesset is set to vote on a series of anti-democratic measures before it ends its summer session on August 5th. The New Israel Fund and its flagship grantee, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, are fighting these battles on the floor of the Knesset. Today we need your help to reinforce this work and to keep Israel a free society.
Email five Likud leaders who are on the fence. Tell them you want Israel to be a place you can be proud of. This is the time to act. Last week, more than 1500 NIF supporters emailed Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren expressing our shared concerns about the new “boycott” law that will penalize freedom of speech. That’s a fantastic response. And the outrage, from the Israeli public to the New York Times, keeps coming. We need to channel this energy.
On Wednesday, the Knesset will vote on a “parliamentary inquiry” into the human rights and social justice groups who are the conscience of Israeli democracy and the core of the New Israel Fund family. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, whose party is spearheading these efforts, has called these groups terrorists. You and I know that they are Israel’s heroes. Take action now. In three weeks, the Knesset will end its summer session. Before then, it will also decide measures that could limit foreign government funding for progressive groups to less than $5000 a year, and/or impose an enormous, 45% tax on those donations.
This move could stifle free speech in Israel. It’s the type of thing that’s already been tried in places like Russia, Venezuela and Egypt. Of course, the legislation fails to impact the millions of dollars flowing from American Jewish millionaires and the Christian Right to neo-Kahanists and extremist settler groups.
With your help we can stop this madness. For this action, we’re targeting five Likud members of Knesset who are wavering. Prime Minister Netanyahu has relaxed party discipline on these measures. That means that these Likud leaders can vote their conscience without facing a backlash from their party. Let them know where you think their conscience, and Israel’s future, belongs.
Many American organizations decried the “boycott” bill. We’re glad they did. But the fight for Israel’s democracy requires more than press releases. That’s why the New Israel Fund and its partners are engaging with members of Knesset in a fierce battle to keep civil society alive. And that’s why we’re asking you to lend your voice.
We have a little more than a day to act. Help us protect the New Israel Fund family, so that we can protect Israeli democracy. Do it now. Thank you.
Daniel Sokatch CEO Rachel Liel Executive Director in Israel