14 July 2016 - On July 11th, the Israeli Knesset passed a controversial bill requiring non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that receive more than fifty per cent of their funding from foreign governments to declare so publicly.
In light of the ruling William Bell, Christian Aid’s Senior Advocacy Advisor for Israel and the occupied Palestinian Territory, said:
"This bill is a clear attempt to restrict or close down voices that speak out against injustice. The majority of the organisations that this law will apply to are human rights organisations, including Christian Aid’s Israeli partners B’Tselem and Breaking the Silence who confront Israeli society and the outside world about human rights violations against, and realities faced by, the Palestinian population under Israeli occupation.
"The Law will require organisations like B’Tselem and Breaking the Silence to declare that they are reliant on foreign funding in any dealings with officials, in the media, on billboard advertising, and online. Without such funding, many will struggle to exist and human rights protection work could be critically threatened.
"Rather than trying to silence the voices that hold those in power to account, the Israeli parliament should listen to those who are committed to universal human rights, and to a future in which all can flourish, regardless of ethnicity or religion.
"Christian Aid is proud to support Israeli civil society organisations that uphold human rights and challenge discrimination, and we shall continue to do so."
Responding to the bill, our partner B’Tselem commented: "We didn't stop the NGO Law, but the NGO Law will not stop us. We stand tall in the face of this and other persecutory measures taken against Israeli civil society. We will not be deterred and we will continue to work determinedly to end the occupation."
For further information contact Johanna Rogers on firstname.lastname@example.org
The 24-hour Christian Aid press duty phone is 07850 242950.
Notes to editors:
1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 40 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.
2. Christian Aid’s core belief is that the world can and must be changed so that poverty is ended: this is what we stand for. Everything we do is about ending poverty and injustice: swiftly, effectively, and sustainably. Our strategy document ‘From Inspiration to Impact’ outlines how we set about this task.
3. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development. Further details at http://actalliance.org
4. Follow Christian Aid Ireland on Twitter: twitter.com/christianaidirl
5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid, visit www.christianaid.ie