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EU Critical of Proposed Israeli Law on NGOs

  • VOA News

FILE - An Israeli peace activist hands out signs prior to a protest in Tel Aviv, Israel, Jan. 15, 2011. A newly-proposed Israeli law would require nonprofit groups to disclose foreign sources of funding.

FILE - An Israeli peace activist hands out signs prior to a protest in Tel Aviv, Israel, Jan. 15, 2011. A newly-proposed Israeli law would require nonprofit groups to disclose foreign sources of funding.

The European Union is strongly protesting a newly-proposed Israeli law that would require nonprofit groups to disclose foreign sources of funding.

Most of those NGOs are highly critical of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's treatment of the Palestinians and of Jewish settlement activities in Palestinian areas.

An Israeli Army radio report Sunday cited a leaked EU document. The memo said EU ambassador Lars Faaborg-Andersen warned that the law would "have a negative impact on Israel's image and on Europe's relating to it as an open and democratic society."

The leaked document quotes the ambassador as saying that what Israel is planning could bring "shame " on some human rights groups and is something mainly seen in "tyrannical regimes."

Israeli Cabinet ministers approved the bill Sunday. It now goes to the full parliament later this week.

The law would require NGOs that get most of their money from foreign governments or foreign-funded entities to publicly disclose the sources of their funds.

Opponents say the bill targets only so-called pro-peace groups and that pro-nationalistic nonprofits are exempt. They say the measure is a blatant attempt to stifle government critics.

Supporters say foreign governments and the European Union are meddling in Israel's internal affairs and trying to change Israeli policies from within.

They are also angry at a new EU rule that requires Israeli exports produced on occupied territories to be labeled as coming from there.

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