Sunday, July 17, 2011

FM Lieberman 'disappointed' of Netanyahu over NGO inquiry

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman expressed disappointment on Sunday with Prime Minister Netanyahu's objection to an Israel Beiteinu-sponsored bill that would have initiated a parliamentary inquiry committee that would have investigated left-wing and other non-governmental organizations.

Lieberman told reporters outside Sunday's cabinet meeting:
"I deeply respect the prime minister and that's why I was so surprised that he suddenly said the Knesset did not need to be an investigator, Why is only the proposal of Israel Beiteinu that the heads of Likud oppose so fiercely? I think it looks odd. The Likud's strange stance really bothers me and Israel Beiteinu. We won't use this to cause a coalition crisis. I see no reason why this coalition shouldn't last until 2013, but I certainly will insist that the heads of Likud display more loyalty and collegiality to their main coalition partner."
Lieberman blasted the left-wing NGOs that he said cooperated with the Goldstone Commission and have been active in efforts to harm Israel's image around the world. He accused the press of improperly explaining the bill.
"What I have unfortunately seen over the past few days is an attempt to delegitimize Israel Beiteinu and our proposal, I have never seen such a large quantity of lies, defamation, and distortions. These NGOs are not leftist groups or human-rights organizations. These are terrorist organizations."
Prime Minister  Netanyahu responded to Lieberman by saying:
"Israel is a democracy that defends itself against attempts to delegitimize it in the international sphere. This is the reason that we passed the law against boycotts against the State of Israel and its citizens. I think that it is an important law. However, we must act systematically and prudently vis-à-vis the steps that we are taking. There is what to correct. But we must do so methodically and cautiously and in any case we must protect our system of law and the rule of law, the courts and our enforcement agencies."

"By acting in a restrained manner, the government could prevent the continuation of the delegitimization campaign that is defaming Israel. We have been, remain and always will be the only democracy that upholds law and individual rights in the Middle East. I hope, by the way, that perhaps this will change in the future, but it certainly does not seem so in the present."