Good news! Yesterday the Knesset rejected a proposed “parliamentary inquiry” into the activities of Israel’s human rights community. The proposal – designed to penalize and defund progressive groups – went down in a 57 to 28 vote.
The New Israel Fund mobilized to stop this inquiry. We worked closely with allies in the Knesset to make the case that this would be another body blow to Israel’s democracy. And we got the word out to our supporters in America. Close to 2,000 NIF activists here in America wrote to five Knesset members who were on the fence.
Our action had an impact. Of the four Likud Knesset members you contacted, two voted against the bill and two absented themselves from the vote. (The fifth, Israel’s Justice Minister, does not vote in the Knesset but is an important voice nonetheless.)
This is a hard-won victory for liberal democracy and an affirmation of core democratic principles, a commitment that extremists in the current Knesset seem intent on challenging through one legislative initiative after another.
We’re not out of the woods yet. This vote should be a wake-up call to the governing coalition that it must stop the wave of anti-democratic legislation. But we can’t even pause to take a breath; next week the Knesset is due to take up a measure that would tax almost half the funding for groups who hold views at odds with the current government.
We’ll be in touch soon.
Daniel Sokatch CEO