JERUSALEM — The Israeli lawmaker who sponsored a bill to limit funding to left-leaning NGOs said American Joseph McCarthy was absolutely right.
Likud lawmaker Ofir Akunis told a political television show Sunday night that McCarthy, who presided over a committee that investigated Americans suspected of sympathy with the Communists in the 1950s, “was right in every word. The fact is, they were Soviet agents.”
Akunis’ bill would ban political organizations in Israel from receiving donations of more than approximately $5,500 (US) from foreign governments and international organizations. Its progress is currently frozen in the Knesset at the request of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Akunis later told the Israeli daily Ha’aretz that he does not support McCarthyism, under which people were accused without sufficient evidence, and said he meant that McCarthy was right about Soviet agents infiltrating the United States.
Over the weekend, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton criticized the state of Israeli democracy, referring in particular to Akunis’ bill.