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U.S. Sounds Alarm Over Likud Bill Targeting Rights Groups Backed By Foreign Governments

An illustrative photo of a banner supporting the Breaking the Silence organization, in Tel Aviv, July 1, 2017. The banner reads 'We are all breaking the silence.' (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
An illustrative photo of a banner supporting the Breaking the Silence organization, in Tel Aviv, July 1, 2017. The banner reads ‘We are all breaking the silence.’ (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

The Biden administration came out on Wednesday against a coalition bill that would significantly limit Israeli civil society groups’ ability to accept donations from foreign governments.

The legislation was drafted by Likud MK Ariel Kallner and is slated to be brought before the Knesset’s high-level Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday.

The bill states that any nonprofit group that engages in public advocacy two years before or after receiving a donation from a foreign government will lose its status as a public institution and will no longer be eligible for tax exemptions. In addition, those non-profits will be hit with a 65 percent income tax.

The bill would likely cripple the ability of human rights organizations to operate in Israel and the West Bank, as many of them rely on funding from foreign governments.

Human rights organizations — such as B’Tselem, Breaking the Silence, and the New Israel Fund — have long been targeted by the Israeli right-wing and even the political center over their exposure of alleged Israeli human rights abuses against the Palestinians.

Related Story: Biden Admin Continues to Fund Palestinian Groups Supporting Terrorists, Watchdog Says

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