Responding to news that Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz declared six Palestinian civil society and human rights groups “terrorist” organizations, CEO of the New Israel Fund Daniel Sokatch released the following statement:
“Gantz’s repressive declaration is a cause for concern for anyone who cares about the future of Israeli democracy and Palestinian rights. In labeling some of the most recognizable Palestinian human and civil rights organizations “terrorist” groups, any action Israel takes against them now will require zero transparency, and— perhaps most dangerous to the basic civil liberties of Israelis and Palestinians — threaten anyone who supports or praises them with up to three years in prison.
“We at the News Israel Fund are all-too familiar with the far-right tactic of smearing organizations that stand up for Palestinian and Israeli human rights with the word “terrorist.” Even as we do not work directly with these organizations, we know that overusing this term is often done intentionally to delegitimize civil society. At a time when both Palestinians and Israelis need civil society to work overtime, we stand with all those who work to hold their governments to account.”