TEL AVIV – An Israeli lawmaker on Monday announced he will propose a bill called the “Soros Law” aimed at curbing donations to anti-Israel organizations. The news comes after the foreign ministry issued a statement denouncing American billionaire George Soros for “defaming” Israel.
MK Miki Zohar (Likud) said he will present the “Soros Law” to the Knesset within the week. According to the bill, “any person donating to organizations acting against Israel will not be allowed to donate to any organization or nonprofit association in Israel,” a statement from Zohar read.
“It’s time to defund the left-wing organizations undermining the government, smearing Israel and trying to detract from its right to defend itself,” MK Zohar said. “We have to block their sources of financing and prevent them from harming the state.”
Despite the name, the law will not only target Soros, although the financier has become the poster-child for supporting extremist organizations, Zohar said.
Soros, a Hungarian-born Jew, was targeted by Hungary’s right-wing government as an enemy of the state, in particular over his support for an open borders immigration policy. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban recently backed a campaign in which billboards of the 86-year-old appeared nationwide accompanied by the phrase, “Let’s not allow Soros to have the last laugh.”
The campaign created a firestorm of controversy among Soros-funded organizations and left-wing Jewish groups.
As a result, Israel’s ambassador to Hungary, Yossi Amrani, issued a statement on Saturday calling for the campaign to be shut down, saying it “evokes sad memories but also sows hatred and fear” in an apparent reference to Hungary’s role in the deportation of half a million Jews during the Holocaust.
However, hours later Israel’s foreign ministry issued a clarification, saying that Soros was a legitimate target for criticism.
“Israel deplores any expression of anti-Semitism in any country and stands with Jewish communities everywhere in confronting this hatred,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon in a statement. “This was the sole purpose of the statement issued by Israel’s ambassador to Hungary.”
“In no way was the statement 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,” Nahshon added.
Hungary’s foreign ministry responded to Amrani’s call to halt the campaign by saying, “Just like Israel, Hungary too takes steps against anyone who represents a risk to the national security of the country and its citizens.”
Orban’s chief of staff, János Lazar, also reassured Hungarian Jews that they “should not be afraid because they can count on the Hungarian government, which always will defend them.”
“The Hungarian government’s goal is to stop Soros’ migrant campaign, which is supporting the migration of illegal migrants into our country,” Laza said. “The government is not criticizing George Soros for his Jewish origin, but for his support of the growing number of migrants entering in uncontrolled crowds into Europe.”
Soros established the Open Society Foundations in 1979 after becoming a hedge fund billionaire.
Last year, hacked emails showed that the Open Society Foundations discussed “challenging Israel’s racist and anti-democratic policies” in international forums by questioning what the organization falsely described as Israel’s “racist policies” and the Jewish state’s status as a democracy.
A 2015 document found that Adalah, a group for Arab Israelis that has engaged in anti-Israel activities, funds from Open Society. The New Israel Fund, a left-wing organization that has been accused of attempts to erase Israel’s Jewish character, is also a grantee of Soros donations.
Soros, a Democratic party mega-donor, was a major backer of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.