Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Israel's McCarthy Committee

Last week, the Knesset took the first step toward creating an investigative committee that would look into the sources of human rights groups' funds. Faina Kirschenbaum of Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beitenu Party and Danny Dannon of Likud, the two people behind the initiative to create such a committee and who are both vying for its chairmanship, claim they're only looking into groups that are targeting the IDF and promoting the prosecution of Israeli soldiers abroad.

Lieberman said today that this isn't persecution of the left, since they aren't looking into organisations like Peace Now. Peace Now is legitimate, he said, while the others are not. Odd, since even Peace Now technically fits the bill of organisations that publish unfavorable information about the IDF, such as how settlements continue to grow under the watchful eye of the army, which is legally the sovereign in the West Bank.

Anyway, I hope this committee will not be created. There are still two more votes left where this horrible idea can fail - in the Knesset Committee and in the final vote before the whole Knesset. In the original vote, only 41 Knesset members voted in favor of a committee, but because very few opponents were present that was enough. Now that both Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin of Likud and Opposition Leader Tzippi Livni have denounced the decision, I am much more hopeful that maybe there will be more "no" votes than "yes" votes when the final roll call comes up.

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