Knesset to ban MK trips funded by pro-BDS groups
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Knesset to ban MK trips funded by pro-BDS groups

Ethics Committee seeks to block lawmakers' flights abroad paid for by organizations deemed to be Holocaust-denying or anti-Israel

El Al plane at Ben-Gurion Airport 2012 (Serge Attal/Flash90)
El Al plane at Ben-Gurion Airport 2012 (Serge Attal/Flash90)

Lawmakers will no longer be allowed to accept funding for overseas trips by organizations that support the movement to boycott Israel, that deny the Holocaust, or that call for the destruction of Israel.

The head of the Knesset House Committee, Yaakov Kisch (Likud), has laid out the new guidelines for the Knesset’s Ethics Committee, telling it to block MKs from receiving funding for overseas trips from certain types of groups, Channel 2 reported Wednesday.

Until now the Knesset has approved trips almost automatically. The Ethics Committee is only supposed to ensure lawmakers are not being funded for private business trips.

However, after Channel 2 reported in December that the committee had approved a trip by MKs to Australia despite the fact that the bogus organization that ostensibly invited them does not exist or even have a website, the House Committee met to discuss the role of the Ethics Committee.

MK Ahmad Tibi of the Joint (Arab) List told Channel 2 that the new guidelines were “a serious infringement on the immunity of parliamentarians.”

Joint List MK Ahmad Tibi attends a Knesset committee meeting, October 26, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Joint List MK Ahmad Tibi attends a Knesset committee meeting, October 26, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

However, Kisch said that the move is a necessary step, claiming that it would not prevent MKs traveling but would withhold funding for lawmakers from anti-Israel groups.

“The purpose of this is simple,” he told Channel 2. “The Ethics Committee, which already checks whether it is a commercial group or not, will also investigate whether it is a body that calls for a boycott of Israel or the destruction of the State of Israel. If it is, the MK will not receive permission for the funding of the trip. This means quite simply that if an MK wishes he can still travel, but he will have to pay for it out of his own pocket.”

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