Netanyahu-hating protesters get free legal advice thanks to foreign funds, report says

A new report reveals that legal counsel for detained left-wing protesters is financed by funds from foreign governments.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

A report by Channel 20 on Wednesday reveals that detained left-wing protesters’ legal counsel is being financed by funds from foreign governments.

A Whatsapp message providing tips to protesters that was obtained by Channel 20 reads, “If you’re arrested during a demonstration, you can call the Human Rights Defenders Fund hotline. They can give you advice and send excellent lawyers to represent you.”

“They’re almost always available. Write down their number on a note in case your phone battery runs out or they take your phone away from you.”

From 2012 to 2018, more than 50 percent of the Human Rights Defenders Fund budget came from foreign governments. Switzerland donated over 1.5 million shekels to the fund, followed by Spain, which gave 600,000 shekels, and Germany another 200,000 shekels.

Denmark and Norway also made significant donations to the Human Rights Defenders Fund.

The Whatsapp message included the mobile phone number of Advocate Gaby Lasky, alongside the numbers for the Human Rights Defenders Fund and Advocate Gonen Ben Yitzhak, a central organizer of the Balfour street protests.

Lasky, the former secretary general of Peace Now, is a prominent attorney focusing on human rights. She served on the Tel Aviv city council as a member of the Meretz party from 2013 to 2018.

Lasky’s clients include the left-wing groups Anarchists Against the Wall, B’Tselem, Ta’ayush, and Machsom Watch. She also represented Ahed Tamimi, the Palestinian teenager who slapped an IDF soldier in a viral video, and Doreen Tatour, an Israeli Arab poet who was convicted of incitement for a poem she posted on her Facebook page.

In a statement to Channel 20, Adv. Lasky responded, “I am an independent attorney. I do not work for the Fund. Regarding the Fund’s sources of funding – contact the Fund.”

“During my work as a human rights attorney, I have represented social organizations, human rights organizations, and many activists, including those working on behalf of Ethiopians and the homeless. I am glad that I was given the opportunity to represent organizations that work against the occupation and for human and civil rights, such as B’Tselem and others.”

The Human Rights Defenders Fund and New Israel Fund declined to comment.