Following criticism over its decision to include several left-wing NGOs in an official government discussion on combating the coronavirus pandemic, Israel’s Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on Wednesday issued a statement that it “won’t involve NGOs or organizations that work to delegitimize Israel in its professional discussions,” according to Channel 20.

The controversy erupted after the Zionist watchdog organization Im Tirtzu exposed a “Cross-Sector Roundtable Discussion on Dealing with the Coronavirus Crisis” event that was organized by the PMO on March 18 and March 24, which included members of the government and civil society organizations.

Among the organizations that participated were Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, whose founder and honorary president Dr. Ruchama Marton is a BDS advocates; HaMoked, which submits legal petitions against the Israel Defense Forces and the state on behalf of convicted terrorists; and a number of NGOs who spearheaded the opposition to the government solution for the illegal migrant workers issue in southern Tel Aviv.

Following the event, the PMO published a list of recommendations by all the organizations pertaining to a wide array of subjects, including imprisoned Palestinian terrorists and illegal migrant workers.

Im Tirtzu criticized the event, saying it was saddened that the PMO chose to include these NGOs, whose “raison d’être is to slander Israel,” though congratulated the PMO on its statement.

“There is no room for governmental cooperation with foreign government-funded NGOs that slander Israel and IDF soldiers, and we congratulate the PMO on acting quickly to rectify this mistake,” the organization said in a statement.

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