Avigdor Lieberman
Avigdor LiebermanIsrael news photo: Flash 90

A parliamentary committee to investigate select far-left organizations is not only not un-democratic, but is necessary to strengthen democracy, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Sunday. “Democracies also have the right to self-defense,” he declared.

Lieberman hit back at opponents of his party's plan to look into foreign-funded far-left groups. “Unfortunately, in recent days I have seen an attempt to delegitimize Yisrael Beiteinu and our initiative to establish a parliamentary investigative committee. I have not seen so many lies and falsification, or this much slander, regarding any other topic,” he charged.

“I repeat: the groups in question are not left-wing groups, or human rights organizations. They are terrorist organizations and organizations that assist terrorist groups and people who are actively involved in terrorism,” he stated.

The foreign minister was not hesitant to name names. “Organizations like Adallah, Itijah, Yesh Din, Breaking the Silence, and New Profile... I'm talking about Amir Mahoul, the former head of Itijah,” he said. The groups in question “gave 90% of the distorted, falsified materials to the Goldstone Committee,” he said.

“These are the people that were on the Marmara and interfered with IDF soldiers as they defended the state of Israel. These are the organizations that submitted IDF officers' personal information to courts worldwide. These are the people that even Britain will not allow in. Who were convicted of spying for Hizbullah and other enemies of Israel,” he said.

Lieberman's reference to Britain was apparently an allusion to Sheikh Raed Salah, a radical Muslim preacher who lives in Israel and has been barred from Britain for anti-Semitism. Both Salah and Mahoul have been convicted of collaborating with Israel's enemies.

Many of the organizations in question do not file their tax reports, he added, and break the law in other ways as well, such as by coaching high school students on how to get out of their mandatory military service. The groups in question are also controversial due to the source of their funding; many receive most of their money from European states and various other foreign entities, such as Oxfam and Geore Soros' Open Society Institute.

Lieberman expressed disappointment in Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's recent declaration that he does not support the initiative. “I very much respect the Prime Minister; that is why I was surprised that he suddenly said the Knesset does not need to investigate. So far there have been 25 parliamentary commissions of inquiry, seven of them headed by members of Likud.”

Ultimately, he said, “This is a legitimate initiative to defend a state that wishes to survive.”