Oppenheimer: NGO law a conspiracy against the Left

Former head of Peace Now explains great opposition of the Left against transparency law to be brought before Knesset tonight for approval.

Ido ben Porat ,

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (R) and MK Bezalel Smotrich
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (R) and MK Bezalel Smotrich
Miriam Alster/Flash90

Yariv Oppenheimer, former head of leftist group "Peace Now," spoke to Arutz Sheva about the "transparency law" to be brought to a vote tonight before the Knesset. The law is intended to bring greater transparency to NGOs by requiring them to disclose significant sources of funding from foreign governments.

"There nothing in common between transparency and the 'transparency law,' Oppenheimer opines. "All the information that currently exists on NGOs will remain even after this law is passed, while no new information will be acquired. This law won't tell us anything new."

According to Oppenheimer, even today one can order the file of any NGO and see its sources of funding.

The law, initiated by Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked and Minister Betzalel Smotrich of the Jewish Home party, would require representatives of NGOs to declare publicly, in newspapers or before Knesset committees, that most of their funding comes from foreign sources, should this be the case.

"It's like if every politician had to announce all the donors to his last primaries campaign. This is clearly out of the question. I don't obligate Arutz Sheva every couple seconds to tell me who its sources of funding are," Oppenheimer said.

"The law is less about transparency and more about delegitimizing the leftist organizations. As if they don't speak in the name of ideology, but only in the name of the countries funding them."

Oppenheimer also claims that the law is a blow to freedom of expression. "It's not legitimate to force an organization to give information while depriving it of its own discretion. This is something that should bother everyone - the State's rampant deprivation of freedom of expression."

Proponents of the bill note that it merely requires NGOs to outline when they are funded by state entities, and insist claims by left-wing activists that such information is already readily available is untrue.

The bill's supporters also note that its language in no way singles out left-wing NGOs. Rather, they say it is up to the political Left to explain why the only NGOs receiving foreign state funding to influence government policy are left-wing.