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Knesset approves probe of left-wing groups

JTA

January 5, 2011 | 10:10 am

Israel’s Knesset voted to form a parliamentary committee to investigate left-wing Israeli organizations that criticize the Israeli military’s actions.

The initiative, proposed by the Yisrael Beiteinu Party, passed Wednesday by a vote of 47 to 16.

The committee will be charged with determining if the groups are funded by foreign countries or by other groups with links to terrorism.

Israeli human rights groups have criticized the initiative.

State Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein ruled in the summer that organizations cannot be investigated for criticizing the Israel Defense Forces activities.

Some of the organizations singled out during the discussion included Yesh Din, Machsom Watch, B’tselem, Adallah and Breaking the Silence,

“Investigate us all, we have nothing to hide,” read an open letter signed by 16 Israeli human rights organizations that was excerpted in Haaretz. “You are invited to read our reports and our publications. We will be happy if for a change you relate in a germane way to our questions instead of trying to besmirch us. It did not work in the past and it will not work this time.”

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