web analytics
January 21, 2017 / 23 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘bill’

U.S., Israel Sign Historic Military Aid Bill

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

The United States and Israel made history last week, signing the largest ever military assistance package between the two allies.

“I think it is a message of deterrence to Israel’s enemies in the Middle East,” David Makovsky, a former U.S. senior adviser on Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, told JNS.

“Whatever U.S.-Israel policies differences there have been over the past several years, there now is a rock solid long term commitment to Israel’s security. There’s no adversary in the Middle East that has a commitment in advance of $38 billion dollars in support.”

The new security deal, which covers fiscal years 2019 to 2028, stands at $38 billion or $3.8 billion per year.

“This unprecedented agreement will ensure Israel maintains a strategic military edge over the next decade, which is the largest military aid package ever given to any other nation,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Executive Vice Chairman and CEO Malcolm Hoenlein said the agreement “sends an important message to the entire region of the Middle East of the enduring strength of the U.S.- Israel special relationship.”

“It underscores to those who have tried to portray a fraying in the fabric of the relationship that the two countries have the strongest security and intelligence cooperation and an enduring commitment to mutual support,” he said.

While the aid package was widely praised by Israeli and American leaders, it includes a number of notable changes from the existing military aid agreement that may fuel questions over the deal.

Previously, Israel obtained additional funding for its missile defense program on an ad hoc basis from Congress. Under the new agreement, this funding, roughly $5 billion, will be included in the agreement and committed toward missile defense assistance, therefore eliminating Israeli lobbying with Congress.

It also includes an end to Israel’s ability to use the military aid within its own defense industry and to lobby Congress for additional funding for its missile defense program.

Makovsky believes it was important for Netanyahu to enter the agreement with Obama to bolster the bipartisan consensus on Israel.

“For Netanyahu, this was important to have this is done under Obama’s signature,” said Makovsky, who serves as distinguished fellow and director of the Project on Middle East Peace Process at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “People question bipartisanship when it comes to the U.S.-Israel relationship and here you have a liberal Democrat president who’s signing off on ten more years of military support for Israel.”

(JNS)

Sean Savage

Bill Clinton Inquired about Shimon Peres’ Condition

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

Former US President Bill Clinton called on Tuesday to inquire about the health of former Israeli President Shimon Peres. Peres is at Sheba Medical Center, where he remains in serious but stable condition as of Wednesday morning, having suffered a severe stroke Tuesday night, according to Sheba Director Yitzhak Kreiss.

President Clinton was paid $500,000 to speak at Shimon Peres’ birthday celebration in Israel on June 17, 2013. The fee was paid by the Jewish National Fund, which Ha’aretz at the time wrote was a “cause for embarrassment.”

At the 90th birthday celebration, Clinton said, “It was my great honor to be here when President Peres celebrated his 80th birth day, I am now here at his 90th birthday. He is clearly the world’s greatest visionary, one of the reasons he lived this long is he always thinks of the future not the past, he is always thinking about tomorrow. Just tonight he promised me that he would attend my 80th birthday, that he would attend my 90th birthday, that he would speak at my funeral.”

“The rest of you are here celebrating his infinite wisdom, I came to get his diet,” Clinton quipped.

David Israel

White House: Obama to Veto Bill Empowering 9/11 Families to Sue the Saudis

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

President Obama intends to veto a bill which allows families of 9/11 victims to sue the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in US courts, White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters on Monday.

“The president does plan to veto this legislation,” Earnest said, reiterating, “I do anticipate the president will veto the legislation when it is presented to him. It hasn’t been presented to him yet.”

According to The Hill, this could be the first time Congress would be able to override an Obama veto. Democratic lawmakers have been pressuring the Administration to leave the bill alone for the sake of the 9/11 victims’ families, and for the sake of their reelection come November. Democratic lawmakers are concerned the veto would ignite a showdown between the White House and Congress that would damage the president and make him less effective on the serious issues, namely the fight over the budget in the lame-duck session of Congress. The bill passed unanimously by a voice vote in both the House and Senate.

Earnest cautioned that “this law actually opens up the United States to the risk of being hauled into court in countries around the world,” and added that “the president will continue to explain his opposition to this legislation … up until Congress decides whether to override his veto.”

The Saudi dominated, six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), announced on Monday that the proposed law “contravenes the foundations and principles of relations between states and the principle of sovereign immunity enjoyed by states,” possibly assuming this sovereign immunity includes the right to plot an attack on major civilian centers of the host country.

GCC Secretary General Abdullatif al-Zayani also said in an unveiled threat that “such laws will negatively affect the international efforts and international cooperation to combat terrorism.”

JNi.Media

Quebec Bill 59 Seeking to Protect Muslims by Quashing Free Speech

Sunday, September 11th, 2016

Quebec’s Bill 59, titled “An Act to enact the Act to prevent and combat hate speech and speech inciting violence and to amend various legislative provisions to better protect individuals,” has been raising concerns among Quebec residents and people across Canada. As the Center for Inquiry (CFI) has put it, “Human Rights actions in one province often set precedents for other jurisdictions,” and the unusually aggressive measures of Bill 59, should they become law, may threaten free speech everywhere in Canada.

Bill 59, introduced in June 2015, would allow the Quebec Human Rights Commission (QHRC) to censor speech that promotes “fear of the other.” It doesn’t provide details as to what constitutes such fear, which probably leaves the definition up to the QHRC, and its president, one Jacques Frémount. Back in 1964, US Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart described his threshold test for obscenity (as opposed to legitimate film and literature) saying, “I know it when I see it.” This vague approach is bad enough when it comes to censuring x-rated media, but when it comes to actual free speech, the core of democracy, such vagueness is the stuff of state tyranny.

The CFI points out that the bill’s section 3 allows reporting of hate speech that hasn’t occurred but is anticipated. The section states: “The person can also report any situation that could contravene the prohibitions in section 2, in particular if the person has knowledge that such speech is about to be engaged in or disseminated or if the person has been asked to engage in or disseminate such speech.”

The third item of the bill’s Section 17 sets forth a proposed public record of those who have contravened this proposed legislation: “For the purposes of this Act, the Commission also … maintains an up-to-date list of persons who have been the subject of a decision concluding that they contravened a prohibition under section 2 and makes the list available on its website.”

Section 20 stipulates fines to be paid at between $1,000 and $10,000 with doubling if a prior contravention has occurred.

Section 24 goes after the livelihood of educators who have crossed the QHRC, suggesting that “a person whose name is on the list kept by the Commission … is considered to exhibit behavior that could reasonably pose a threat for the physical or emotional safety of the students.”

Pen Canada has stated that “Bill 59 poses a significant threat to free expression in Québec. Although this piece of legislation aims to combat hate speech and speech inciting violence specifically, its broad language coupled with restrictive prohibitions and significant penalties will place a chill on the expression of legitimate ideas and debate.”

“Not only does Bill 59 prohibit citizens from engaging in or disseminating hate speech, but also from acting in a way that causes the speech to be disseminated,” Pen Canada continues. “This language casts an alarmingly wide net. For those in heated political discussions, will the defense of ‘legitimately informing the public’ be sufficient against anonymous complaints to the Commission?”

A petition to “Stop Quebec Bill 59” spells out what the more polite websites objecting to the bill have not said: “People are trying to impose Islamic blasphemy law right here in Canada, RIGHT NOW! You may or may not have heard about the Quebec Bill 59 but it will affect us all. Bill 59 will enforce Islamic Sharia Law, making it a crime to question or criticize or ridicule an idea. This is a law that would explicitly infringe upon our rights to free speech. Be it in person, on a street, or even on the internet.”

And if you haven’t yet clicked away to add your name to the petition, the authors conclude: “This bill is not only not needed but flies in the face of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It criminalizes criticism of Islam and anything considered an Islamic practice (Honor killings, honor rape, female genital mutilation, female oppression, and beating of wives and children).”

Constitutional attorney Julius Grey commented recently that, “Quebec is not yet a police state, but it is an inspector-state.” True to that definition, Bill 59 has been adopted in principle by Québec’s National Assembly and is currently being studied in detail by the Committee on Institutions. Once the committee releases its report and the National Assembly votes to adopt it, the bill could become law.

JNi.Media

Turkish Parliament Passes Israeli Compensation Bill

Saturday, August 20th, 2016

The Turkish parliament on Friday night approved a deal for Israel to pay $20 million to the families of Turkish participants who were killed in the 2010 Gaza flotilla flagship Mavi Marmara incident, Anadolu reported. The deal ushers in the normalization of diplomatic relations between the two countries after a six-year break.

The money will be transferred in a lump sum deposit to a bank account opened by Turkey and shared through diplomatic channels, and the transaction will be completed within 25 business days of the bilateral agreement taking effect.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said earlier this month that Jerusalem had met all of Ankara’s preconditions for normalizing ties, which were degraded in 2010 after Israeli commandos were attacked on the high seas when they were trying to take over control of the Gaza-bound Turkish ship in international waters. Nine Turkish activists who attacked the Israeli soldiers were killed and 30 injured, one of whom later died of his injuries.

Turkey demanded an official apology from Israel, compensation for the families of the dead activists and the lifting of Israel’s Gaza blockade. But Ankara settled for two out of three: in 2013 Prime Minister Netanyahu expressed regret over the incident to Turkey’s then-prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The approval of the deal had been delayed on account of the failed coup in Turkey. The deal was actually signed a month and a half ago in Jerusalem by Israel’s Foreign Ministry Director Dore Gold and in Ankara by Turkish outgoing Deputy Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlolo. The Netanyahu security cabinet approved the deal by a vote of six to three, with Ministers Liberman, Bennett and Shaked voting against.

JNi.Media

Knesset Committee Approves Flag Burning Bill for Final Vote

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

The Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee on Monday approved for a second and third reading in the plenum an amendment proposed by MK Nava Boker (Likud) to Israel’s Flag, Emblem and Anthem Law, which seeks to increase the punishment for dishonoring the national flag or emblem. The bill equates the punishment for dishonoring the national symbols with the punishment for doing the same to the symbols of countries friendly to Israel.

Currently the law sets the punishment for dishonoring the Israeli national flag and symbols at up to a year in prison or a fine of up to 300 Israeli liras (pounds). The lira was replaced by the shekel as Israel’s legal tender back in 1980, which shows how long it has been since any legislator was last troubled by the dishonoring of the national flag.

However, dishonoring the flag of a friendly country will put you in prison for up to three years, and the alternative financial penalty is $15,000, so the bill seeks to extend the sentence and fine to those same levels.

Committee Chairman MK David Amsalem (Likud) complained about the fact that “we belittle ourselves. Anyone whose national flag is burned will be offended. When we are insulted the result is a conviction for a year, and when someone from abroad is upset it’s three years? Do the police keep records of the number of convictions given for such an offense? The national emblems are a source of national pride in every country. It is not a political matter. An American whose flag is burned is offended.”

“Freedom of expression does not mean you are allowed everything. Even religious emblems deserve elementary respect. A person who arrives at a synagogue or a mosque cannot do whatever he wishes. Even at a concert you don’t stand up and laugh. There is no need to exaggerate, but it’s illogical that there are no sanctions against those who burn flags,” Amsalem added.

MK Abdullah Abu Maaruf (Joint Arab List) asked to lower the punishment from three years in prison as the bill states, to a day, and remove the financial penalty. His request was rejected.

David Israel

Raucous Knesset Passes NGO Foreign Funding Transparency Bill

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

The Knesset plenum on Monday night passed the NGO Law, a.k.a. the Transparency Law, by a 57 to 48 majority. The new legislation’s official title is “Law on disclosure requirements for recipients of support from a foreign political entity.” It was the brain child of Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) and it requires NGOs that receive more than 50% of their budget from a foreign source to report this fact to the NGO registrar and to note it in a visible fashion in all their publications as well as their communications with public officials.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented Monday night on his Facebook page that “the purpose of the law is to prevent an absurd situation whereby foreign countries intervene in Israel’s internal affairs through their NGO funding while the Israeli public is unaware of it. Contrary to the arguments on the left, passing the law will increase transparency, contribute to creating a dialog that reflects accurately the views of the Israeli public and will bolster Democracy.”

The vote followed a boisterous, even rowdy six hour debate during which the opposition submitted no less than one thousand reservations, and opposition members expressed resolute objections to the bill. Meretz chair Zehava Galon accused the bill’s authors that their purpose “isn’t enhancing the transparency but [constitutes] political persecution. … the bill’s authors and promoters wish to shut the mouths of organizations that challenge government policy.”

MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Camp) warned that the new law “defames our reputation in the world worse than any NGO could have done and destroys us from within.” Other ZC members were also of the opinion that the law is intended to quash opposition to the rightwing majority, at the expense of Israel’s reputation as a world democracy.

For comparison, the US Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), passed in 1938, requires that agents representing the interests of foreign powers in a “political or quasi-political capacity” disclose their relationship with the foreign government and information about related activities and finances. The purpose is to facilitate “evaluation by the government and the American people of the statements and activities of such persons.” In 2007 the Justice Department launched an online database which can be used by the public to search filings and current reports.

The US law requires periodic disclosure of all activities and finances by people and organizations that are under control of a foreign government, of organizations or of persons outside of the United States (“foreign principal”), if they act “at the order, request, or under the direction or control” of this principal (i.e. as “agents”) or of persons who are “controlled or subsidized in major part” by this principal. Organizations under such foreign control can include political agents, public relations counsel, publicity agents, information-service employees, political consultants, fundraisers or those who represent the foreign power before any agency or official of the United States government.

But the US law provides explicit exemptions for organizations engaged in “religious, scholastic, academic, or scientific pursuits or of the fine arts,” as well as for those “not serving predominantly a foreign interest.”

Constitution, Law and Justice Committee Chairman MK Nissan Slomiansky (Habayit Hayehudi) told the House that “anyone wishing to influence the agenda of the Israeli public must be transparent. It is inconceivable that foreign states would hide behind associations and organizations acting on behalf of interests that are not in line with those of the State of Israel. Now everything is on the table, everything is revealed, and they will undergo the public’s scrutiny.”

Slomiansky proceeded to read from a list of just how much money some leftwing NGO received from abroad—some of whom get 100% of their budget this way—and the opposition benches went on the warpath, drowning his voice with their angry shouting.

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/raucous-knesset-passes-ngo-foreign-funding-transparency-bill/2016/07/12/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: