I just wrote the following letter to MKs Hotovely (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Akunis (email@example.com), regarding the Jerusalem Post's article, "Hotovely: Bill will stop foreign cash to political NGOs" (7 Nov 2011, by Lahav Harkov, http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=244723), subtitle, "PM supports bill to prevent governments from donating to organizations that seek to influence policy, Channel 2 reports."
Hello. I am writing regarding the Jerusalem Post's article, "Hotovely: Bill will stop foreign cash to political NGOs" (7 Nov 2011, by Lahav Harkov, http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=244723):
If "foreign governments should not meddle in Israeli internal matters", then how about we start with ending Israel's acceptance of American money? There is a problem if there ever was one, and I believe Ron Paul puts the matter well, at 4:25 until 5:57 of http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_be9XZ_4_c; Ron Paul says, "They [Israel] shouldn't give up their sovereignty to us [the United States]", and that, I believe, is the great desideratum. When the Israeli government accepts foreign money, it not only ties the hands of Israel and prevents it from doing what it needs to do for its own safety, out of fear for the response of its donor; but also, it makes the Israeli government have a dual-loyalty, one loyalty to its own taxpayers but another loyalty to its foreign donor. This we cannot tolerate. The taxpayers alone should be the ones calling the shots, and no one else.
So if we want to find a problem to solve, let's start there: a bill outlawing the Israeli government's accepting any donations except from citizens of Israel.
Now then, as for this bill outlawing foreign governmental donations to Israeli NGOs: the Likud Constitution says the party is dedicated to the "establishment of a self-sustaining free economy based on competition and free enterprise, and reducing insofar as possible government intervention in the economy". I ask, does this bill make the Israeli economy more free? Does it encourage free enterprise? Does it reduce government intervention in the economy?
And what happened to liberty and human rights? These anti- and non- and post-Zionist NGOs, I of course reject their views as repugnant, but I respect their right to advocate whatever views they wish, as long as they hurt nobody. The United States Supreme Court recently held - quite rightly - in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 08-205 (2010) that any campaign finance restrictions were unconstitutional violations of "the" (meaning preexistent, prior to any government) right to freedom of speech. To restrict how one may spend his money on certain speech, is to restrict the speech itself.
But if the government restricts liberty and human rights, then wherefore the government? Is not its very purpose to protect these rights? "The law perverted! And the police powers of the state perverted along with it! The law, I say, not only turned from its proper purpose but made to follow an entirely contrary purpose! The law become the weapon of every kind of greed! Instead of checking crime, the law itself guilty of the evils it is supposed to punish! ... For truly, how can we imagine force being used against the liberty of citizens without it also being used against justice, and thus acting against its proper purpose?" (Frederic Bastiat, "The Law", trans. Dean Russell for the Foundation for Economic Education, Inc.).
I am reminded of a passage by Ludwig von Mises, the teacher of Friedrich Hayek, in his book Omnipotent Government: The Rise of Total State and Total War (similar to his student's The Road to Serfdom, except Mises was himself a Jew and escaped from the Nazis to Switzerland): "It is vain to ﬁght totalitarianism by adopting totalitarian methods. Freedom can only be won by men unconditionally committed to the principles of freedom. The ﬁrst requisite for a better social order is the return to unrestricted freedom of thought and speech."
If the Israeli government may restrict the use of foreign money to fund certain speech, then it may restrict the use of any money to fund any speech. The Israeli government may arbitrarily decide to restrict any speech whatsoever it doesn't like, and contrive any arbitrary restriction on funding it desires. I invite you to use your imagination to conceive of the possibilities, and then realize that the government always exceeds our imaginations' limits when it comes to trampling liberty and human rights. Whatever tyranny we imagine, the government will do double that. "This may serve to teach us the danger of allowing to any mortal man an inordinate measure of power to speak great things: to allow to any man uncontrollableness of speech; you see the desperate danger of it. Let all the world learn to give mortal men no greater power than they are content they shall use--for use it they will. ... And they that have liberty to speak great things, you will find It to be true, they will speak great blasphemies. ... It is necessary, therefore, that all power that is on earth be limited, church-power or other. If there be power given to speak great things, then look for great blasphemies, look for a licentious abuse of it. It is counted a matter of danger to the state to limit prerogatives; but it is a further danger not to have them limited: they will be like a tempest if they be not limited. A prince himself cannot tell where he will confine himself, nor can the people tell; but if he have liberty to speak great things, then he will make and unmake, say and unsay, and undertake such things as are neither for his own honor nor for the safety of the state." (John Cotton, "Limitation of Government", http://www.flatheadreservation.org/index.php/texts/limitation_of_government/.)
In the end, these NGOs remain private individuals. They have a right to receive their own money from whatever source it may be - assuming there is no theft or fraud, i.e. assuming there is nothing intrinsically unjust according to natural law - and they have a right to spend that money on whatever speech they wish. If they wish to receive money from the UN and the EU and spend it on lobbying the Israeli government to pursue the so-called "Peace Process" (sic.), then that is their prerogative. If we are afraid that the Israeli government will capitulate, then that is the problem we must deal with! Your (MKs Hotovely's and Akunis's) bill is like a drunk man who cannot control his habit lobbying the government to ban liquor stores. If the Israeli government is so weak and pathetic and immoral that it cannot resist the temptation to aid its enemies, then that is the sad reality we must face and deal with. But to punish those who commit no crime or injustice in lobbying the Israeli government? That is tyranny. To punish the innocent provider of an innocent commodity just because one of his customers is weak-willed? That is despicable.
Don't get me wrong: I find the views of these NGOs to be repugnant. But if we restrict their speech, then...
First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.
Happiness is a Choice - No matter what we encounter in our lives, events and happenings not of our choosing, we still have a choice: how to react to them. Victor Frankel, in his ...
3 hours ago