IDI Ahead of Deliberations on Removing Tax Benefits from Human Rights Organizations:
‘Harming freedom of expression while deciding who is in favor and against the state for political reasons’
Ahead of the deliberations on Monday in the Knesset Finance Committee on a bill that would remove tax benefits from and therefore discriminate against nonprofits that “act against the state of Israel” or that do not deal with citizens of Israel, the Israel Democracy Institute sent a policy statement to Knesset members calling upon them to not advance the proposal.
Professor Mordechai Kremnitzer and Dr. Amir Fuchs, who signed the policy statement, explain that the bill would harm freedom of expression by using political and aggressive definitions of who is “in favor of the state” and who is “against it.” For example, do the nonprofit organizations that reveal war crimes that were carried out ostensibly by the state of Israel act against it or for its good, in that they prevent it from facing international legal action?
The bill attempts to cause financial harm to nonprofit organizations whose main purpose is not in helping the citizens of Israel or the Jewish Diaspora. For instance, it would harm nonprofit organizations that help foreign workers or Syrian children who are being treated in Israeli hospitals. This makes the bill unethical and makes a negative statement about the way Israel feels about underprivileged members of society. This is a step that would harm the Zionist, humanistic legacy of Israel.
Finally, Kemnitzer and Fuchs write that the bill could harm the international standing of Israel in the world. Weakening human rights groups in Israel could expedite international efforts to undertake legal steps against Israeli leaders and military officers. This could happen because one of the central reasons Israel provides for why prosecution is not necessary is that any violations of human rights are dealt with in Israel by these groups.
For more information or interviews: Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman, Director of International Communications, at email@example.com or 050-718-9742.