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From the field

NGO Law Does Not Apply to Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem

Two days after the coalition passed a law aimed at hurting Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem by attempting to bar them from meeting with high school students, the two organizations announced today that one of the government’s leading anti-democratic laws, “The Requirement to Disclose Support from Foreign Entity Law”, known to the public as the NGO Law, does not apply to them this year.

The law seeks to frame the receipt of international grants for the promotion of universal, humanist values of democracy, human rights and peace as a show of disloyalty. According to the version of the law passed by the current coalition in 2016, organizations that receive more than fifty percent of their funding from foreign state entities must disclose this in their publications and in communication with the Israeli authorities. In 2017, B’Tselem received 48.8% of its funding from such grants, and Breaking the Silence received 44.7% of its funding from foreign state entities.

When the 2016 legislative process was completed, Prime Minister Netanyahu, whose primary campaign donations were 100% foreign, said “the law will bolster democracy”. Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked, who raised only 57% of her primary campaign donations from foreign sources, celebrated the completion of the legislative process, saying “we’ve stopped kowtowing.”

Avner Gvaryahu, Breaking the Silence Executive Director said: “When the occupation ends, all the empty political propaganda laws that were designed to restrict the work of those who resist the occupation will be remembered as a footnote. As individuals who are closely acquainted with the military regime over the Palestinians, we understand how important it is to continue exposing reality in the Occupied Territories.”

B’Tselem Executive Director Hagai El-Ad: “Control over the Palestinians requires control over Israelis’ consciousness. Controlling Palestinians requires incessant violence, and the attempts to address Israeli opposition to this violence requires oppressing those who oppose and labeling them 'enemies from within'. These oppressive attempts will fail.”

As a show of solidarity with sister organizations and an act of resistance against the Israeli regime’s attempt to delegitimize the fight against the occupation, B’Tselem and Breaking the Silence have decided to include the following sentence on their website and in their publications:

In compliance with the Israeli government’s anti-NGO law that seeks to equate the receipt of foreign funding with disloyalty, please note that we may, or may not, be primarily funded by foreign state entities. Either way, we remain loyal – to human rights values, freedom, democracy, and an end to the occupation.