Netanyahu: 'Transparency Law' not anti-democratic

Netanyahu defends NGO Transparency Law in meeting with foreign journalists.

Nitsan Keidar,

Netanyahu with foreign correspondents
Netanyahu with foreign correspondents
Amos Ben Gershom/GPO

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Thursday spoke out in support of the so-called “Transparency Law”, which would require Israeli NGOs who receive more than half their funding from foreign states to disclose their sources of funding and identify themselves as "foreign agents" when lobbying MKs.

"I do not understand how excessive transparency is anti-democratic. How is disclosure of funding from foreign governments undemocratic? I think this is an obvious requirement in any democracy," Netanyahu said in a meeting with foreign correspondents in Israel, responding to ongoing criticism of the law, particularly by the United States.

"I have here the decision of the U.S. House of Representatives on January 6, 2015 - from a year ago - disclosure of foreign payments to witnesses. A written statement of the proposed testimony must include a CV and disclosure of any federal grants or contracts or contracts and payments originating from a foreign government received in the current calendar year or the two that preceded it,” he continued, pointing out a similar resolution in the United States.

"The bill in Israel on the transparency of NGOs is not anti-democratic. This is the heart of democracy. It is something that is customary in other countries, as you just saw. I think that when you hear about the use and exploitation by NGOs here in Israel, the minimum we want is transparency and I think it's necessary and it's just common sense," said Netanyahu.

The Prime Minister said that the conduct of the international community in the face of the Transparency Law is unfair. "I think a different standard is being applied to Israel. If it was a universal morality, that's fine. But the double standards, or in the case of Israel, triple standards, are wrong and unacceptable."




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