Israel Launches Diplomatic Push to Kill Human Rights Groups

Legal Efforts to Ban Rights Groups Have Repeatedly Failed

Between war crimes, settlements, and intermittent military demolitions of Palestinian villages, the Israeli government faces a lot of criticism from human rights groups, and they don’t very much like it. Years of railing at such groups as “terror enablers” hasn’t gained much traction, however, and now Israeli Deputy FM Tzipi Hotovely has announced a major diplomatic push, demanding Europe and the rest of the world end all funding for human rights groups that have anything to say about Israel.

If your group has anything to do with peace, or a two-state solution, or has anything to say about equal rights irrespective of religion within Israel, you’re probably a target, and Hotovely insisted Israel will no longer allow such groups to “delegitimize” them with criticism.

Hotovely warned EU officials that if they didn’t agree to end all European funding to all human rights groups, the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, would pass a law to ban all the groups outright, suggesting that Europe could save the groups’ existence, albeit in a defunded manner, by blocking any money going to them.

Former FM Avigdor Lieberman, now in the opposition, tried to push a ban on many of these groups through the Knesset a few years back on the grounds that they are “terrorist organizations,” but it didn’t get very far. The Israeli court system has likewise taken a very dim view of efforts to stifle such groups.

Though Hotovely is couching the current effort as a way for countries to prevent an Israeli ban of the rights groups, the current far-right government in Israel is likely in an even worse position to try to worse such an effort through as it was when Lieberman tried it, and with no realistic chance of killing the groups politically, they are trying to badly damage them diplomatically.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of