Israeli NGOs critical of the government – in particular the country’s continued occupation of the Palestinian territories – are facing severe new restrictions amid a toxic political climate on the right that has sought to label them as disloyal.
Sarit Michaeli of B’Tselem, speaking in a personal capacity, says: “B’Tselem has always been the target of political attacks by the right and settlers. While, in the past, the criticism was led by rightwing NGOs related to the government, now it is the government involved in these attacks.
“Regardless of what law emerges I think feature of this process – starting off with extremely draconian proposals for legislations – is that it tires out the resistance. You create a toxic and vitriolic climate where you have parts of the media depicting NGOs as traitors and leftists.
“It is damaging and creates a chilling effect in media and public. It is a scare tactic to frighten people into keeping their mouths shut. In that sense, it is very effective.”