Israeli Lawmaker Pushes His Own ‘Soros Law’

Meanwhile both the European Parliament and the European Commission have criticized Hungary over a number of issues including their stance on NGOs, a lawmaker from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party says he will put forward a bill he is calling the ”Soros Law” to block donations to left-wing organizations enjoying foreign funding.

According to the European Parliament, the situation in Hungary justifies the triggering of the procedure which may result in sanctions for Hungary and the Hungarian government has one month to respond to European Commission infringement procedure over the law on transparency of foreign-funded NGOs. If Hungary fails to address the European Commission’s concerns, the executive body could take the matter to the European Court of Justice.

Israeli lawmaker from Netanyahu’s Likud party vows to push bill day after Israel backtracks criticism of Hungarian PM’s campaign against Jewish-American financier George Soros.

The Israel’s foreign ministry issued a statement denouncing U.S. billionaire George Soros, in a move that appeared designed to align Israel more closely with Hungary. Hungary’s right-wing government has repeatedly targeted Soros, a Hungarian-born Jew, who has spent a large part of his fortune funding pro-democracy and human rights groups, in particular over his support for more open immigration.

In a press release from Monday, MK Miki Zohar said that within a few days, the so-called ”Soros Law” will be brought before the Knesset. Under the legislative proposal, ”any person donating to organizations acting against Israel will not be allowed to donate to any organization or non-profit association in Israel,” his statement said.

Soros has been associated with extremist left organizations, MK Zohar said in his statement.

The law is only named after Soros and will not necessarily target organizations funded by the liberal philanthropist who survived the Holocaust and supports groups that Israel’s hawkish government views as unfairly harsh toward the Jewish state or favouring Palestinian viewpoints.

The bill will join a wave of legislation in Israeli trying to limit the activities of left-wing organizations and targeting their ability to raise funds, the most prominent of these was the so-called NGO Law.

”It’s time to defund the left-wing organizations undermining the government, smearing Israel and trying to detract from its right to defend itself, we have to block their sources of financing and prevent them from harming the state.”, MK Zohar said.

On Sunday, Israel retracted a statement issued the previous day by the Israeli ambassador to Hungary, which had called on Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his party to halt a poster campaign against Jewish-American financier George Soros on the grounds that it was fuelling anti-Semitism.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon issued a clarification that refrained from criticizing Orbán but also sharply criticized Soros himself, using claims similar to the ones being made against him by the Hungarian government.

“Israel deplores any expression of anti-Semitism in any country and stands with Jewish communities everywhere in confronting this hatred. This was the sole purpose of the statement issued by Israel’s ambassador to Hungary,” the statement said. “In no way was the statement [by the ambassador] meant to delegitimize criticism of George Soros, who continuously undermines Israel’s democratically elected governments by funding organizations that defame the Jewish state and seek to deny it the right to defend itself.”

The tension comes at a particularly sensitive time, since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to meet Orbán in Budapest on July 18, during what will be the first visit of an Israeli premier to Hungary in 30 years. The day after their meeting, Netanyahu and Orbán are scheduled to meet with the leaders of the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland.

Liberal Israeli lawmaker MK Zahava Galon accused Netanyahu of ”supporting global anti-Semitism” over his handling of the Soros affair.

The ads, part of a campaign underscoring the government’s anti-migration policies, show a smiling Soros, who is a supporter of migrants, along with the caption ”Let’s not let Soros have the last laugh.”

Hungary have been criticized for playing into anti-Semitic stereotypes, which has been denied by the Hungarian government.

The anti-Semitism charge against the Orbán Government just doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. No government has done more to fight anti-Semitism in Hungary than PM Orbán’s

Recently, in a letter to Hungary’s consulate in New York, 11 Orthodox rabbis wrote to “condemn the instigation” against Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his government, who “help restore and maintain the cemeteries in Hungary that were desecrated by the Nazis during the Second World War,” they said. “He and his government have been outstanding in their commitment and help towards this and any other issue related to Orthodox Jewry.” Yet won’t read these details in the mainstream media. And that’s not all there’re missing from the international press.

And now comes Israeli Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Benjamin Netanyahu with the categorical statement about Soros continuously undermining democratically elected governments. Those who claim that Hungary’s government is anti-Semitic because it stands up to an unelected billionaire political activist (who, by the way, happens to be Jewish) are losing this argument.

Criticizing Soros and his undemocratic agenda is not anti-Semitism. Insisting so is cynical and dishonest.

Sources: Reuters, DPA, Haaretz, About Hungary