'Artists' protests won't stop us'

Finance Minister stands by bill which would allow gov't to deny state funding of anti-Zionist art. 'Protesters just a small radical fringe.'

Hezki Baruch ,

Protesters demand Kahlon withdraw support of 'Loyalty Law'
Protesters demand Kahlon withdraw support of 'Loyalty Law'
Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu) denounced protests against a Likud-backed proposal aimed at cutting state funding for ‘disloyal’ or anti-Zionist performances and art, calling the protesters a ‘small radical fringe’, and vowing to see the bill passed into law.

The bill, dubbed the “Cultural Loyalty Law”, would empower the Minister of Culture and Sport to deny funding to cultural institutions, artists, or performing artists who engage in and promote ideas or auctions deemed anathema to the State of Israel including denial of Israel as a Jewish, democratic state, support for terrorism, destroying the flag of the State of Israel, or marking Israeli independence day as a time of mourning.

At present, the Finance Ministry has control over decisions regarding approval for or withdrawal of state funding.

If passed, the bill would grant the Culture Minister authority to veto funding of groups deemed to be in violation of the law.

Opponents say the bill would serve as a de facto form of censorship, while its backers say freedom of expression would be protected, and that public funds should not be used to support anti-Israeli art.

Minister of Culture and Sport Miri Regev drafted the bill, which has the full support of Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon.

Demonstrators rallied outside of the Finance Ministry on Sunday in what has been called the “Artists’ Protest”, to pressure Kahlon to withdraw support of the bill.

On Sunday, however, Kahlon remained adamant in his support for the proposal, dismissing the protests as the work of a “small radical fringe group” supporting anti-Israel inciters.

“The Artists’ Protests outside of the Finance Ministry won’t deter us,” said Kahlon.

“I plan to back the Cultural Loyalty Law, and so will the Knesset Members of my party.”

“There is a small radical fringe group that never misses an opportunity to incite against the State of Israel and the IDF. There is no reason that the state should fund this group.”