Settlement watchdog Peace Now disinvited former Labor Party MK Einat Wilf from its upcoming “Conference of the Israeli Left,” citing Wilf’s position on the International Advisory Council of NGO Monitor, Wilf alleged Tuesday.
NGO Monitor is a watchdog group that reports on the foreign funding and activities of non-government groups in Israel.
“Several weeks ago I was approached by Peace Now to speak at their annual conference on a panel discussing whether international pressure on Israel is necessary to promote peace,” Wilf wrote on her Facebook page. “I was specifically told that my point of view (which opposes such pressure and certainly the domestic efforts to invite it) would be very appreciated in this discussion.”
But on Tuesday, she said, she received a phone call from Peace Now’s director, Yariv Oppenheimer, rescinding the invitation. According to Wilf, Oppenheimer said that he personally did not agree with the decision, but that others in his organization had outvoted him.
Peace Now did not respond to several requests for comment.
The yearly conference, which was first held in 2011, is scheduled for Friday in Tel Aviv.
“If the Israeli left has no place for those who support a two-state solution and who also wage battle against those who seek to delegitimize Israel, it will not return to lead the country,” Wilf said in a statement Tuesday evening.
“Defending Israel and Zionism can and should be part of supporting peace and a two state solution. Israel is under attack for its very legitimacy and the human-rights discourse serves various groups to undermine the foundational idea of Zionism that the Jewish People have a right to a sovereign state in their ancestral homeland,” she said. “If people, whose work for human rights is indisputable such as Elie Wiesel and Alan Dershowitz, find it proper to fight against the demonization of Israel, then I am proud to wage this battle with them.”
Wiesel — a Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate — and prominent attorney Dershowitz sit on NGO Monitor’s International Advisory Board along with Wilf.
Wilf served in the Knesset from 2010 to 2013 in the Labor and Independence parties.
Peace Now has depicted laws designed to limit foreign funding of NGOS as “designed to silence and neutralize Israeli civil society organizations identified with left-leaning liberal values.”
“These bills are an alarming erosion of the fundamental nature of democracy in Israel,” according to the group’s website.
After two proposals from 2011 failed to reach the Knesset floor, a new version of a controversial bill that aims to limit the foreign funding of NGOs that support the prosecution of IDF officers in the international courts or campaign for boycotting Israeli institutions or products was introduced in June by MKs Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) and Robert Ilatov (Likud-Beytenu).
NGO Monitor surprisingly opposed the bill.
Stuart Winer contributed to this report.