Friday April 18, 2014
Israel Hayom
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Hezi Sternlicht

Don't tax NGOs, name and shame them

Placing a tax on those European political activities that support left-wing organizations in Israel -- often from the radical Left -- is not such a bad idea.

But I believe that there's a more effective method available. Certainly, hypocrisy reigns among several such foreign governments. They send political activists serving the interests of other governments' associations or organizations to prison for dozens of years. European countries loathe foreign meddling within their borders; only in Israel has such moral abandon taken hold.

An extensive network in Israel of left-wing activists has been reveling in a politically sadomasochistic jamboree. They flog the Israeli people while flagellating themselves, granting the Islamic narrative full precedence under the financial patronage of the governments of Germany, France, the Netherlands and Britain. All such activities are carried out by dozens of human rights organizations, which dictate to us how to behave, trying to emasculate our traditional right to the Land of Israel. Our right is of course no less vital than the European nations to their lands -- nations that warred incessantly with each other for thousands of years until they were finally stopped after the modern boundaries were drawn.

Regardless, I still believe that the NGO bill is a measure we can do without. What we should do instead is make every organization reveal in public who is standing behind it. Such disclosure -- all games aside -- will have a much more profound effect.

First of all, the legislator is effectively admitting that tax is punishment. And while I'd be the first to posit that taxes are the best way to strangle business, I suggest we leave the tax system outside the world of good and evil -- neither here nor there. Given my frequent argument that lower taxes are the best remedy, I see better alternatives here as well. We need lower taxes, period, and foreign funds and associations aren't going to fill the nation's till. These are punitive measures.

So, what am I suggesting? We need to do to the Europeans as they do to us -- we must label them. Do you remember the labeling of our products? We'll label their organizational activities. Why shouldn't the Israeli legislator respond to the Europeans through the mechanism that they know best: bloated, unwieldy bureaucracy?

Every day, my inbox receives several press releases about radical activities -- usually from the graduates of the 2011 social protests -- either supported or seemingly supported by European governments. They always carry the "humanitarian" banner, dissembling their one, true motive: deracinating the Jewish identity from Israel while contributing legitimacy to Arab intimidation. Why shouldn't we legally demand from every such organization the most elemental thing? Underneath every press release or report disseminated by these organizations among the various outlets, a passage should read: "This association is funded by such and such an umbrella organization, which is mainly supported by this or that European government."

If the Europeans want to know where Israel's products are manufactured, doesn't the public here have the right to get a full breakdown of these organizations and their funders? I suggest total labeling of the Europeans, EU members and all. The public -- whether Right or Left -- has the right to know who's spreading these messages and out of which foreign countries. Taxation, as draconian as it may be, won't succeed, while proper disclosure will. It will just put things in the right perspective.


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