BDS IN THE PEWS
January 28, 2016
See here for B'Tselem funding chart.
- Website: www.btselem.org
- Established in 1989 by “a group of prominent academics, attorneys, journalists, and Knesset members,” largely from the Meretz and Labor Parties.
- States that it “acts primarily to change Israeli policy in the Occupied Territories and ensure that its government, which rules the Occupied Territories, protects the human rights of residents there and complies with its obligations under international law.”
- Funding: 2014 annual budget of NIS 9,318,169 (latest available; accessed January 28, 2016).
- Based on financial information submitted to the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits, in accordance with the Israeli NGO transparency law, B’Tselem received NIS 3,132,797 from foreign governmental bodies in 2015, NIS 4,237,133 in 2014, and 5,541,998 in 2013 (accessed July 23, 2015). (See chart below for detailed funding information).
- 2012-15 donors include: European Union, Human Rights and International Law Secretariat (joint funding from Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark and the Netherlands), DanChurch Aid (Denmark), Catholic Relief Services (US), Norway, Christian Aid Ireland, Diakonia (Sweden), Bread for the World- EED (Germany), ZIVIK (Germany), France, UK, UNICEF, UNDP, the Ford Foundation, the New Israel Fund, and others.
- On December 15, 2015, B'Tselem received a grant for €30,000 from the European Endowment for Democracy (EED) for "[C]ombating anti-democratic laws aiming to silence opposition." The funding was allocated amid a heated internal Israeli debate over the role that foreign government-funded NGOs play in Israeli democracy and was aimed at influencing Israeli legislation.
- In 2008-2014, the New Israel Fund (NIF) authorized grants worth $1,658,240 to B’Tselem (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014).
- Political Advocacy: Actively pursues its political agenda in the Israeli courts and the Knesset.
- Has faced serious criticism for its misrepresentations of international law, inaccurate research, and skewed statistics.
- Accuses Israel of “apartheid,” perpetrating “war crimes,” “beating and abus[ing]” Palestinians, “demolition of [Palestinian] houses as punishment,” and forced “deportations.”
- On January 8, 2016, Israeli investigative news program "Uvda" featured an expose showing B'Tselem employee Nasser Nawaja and Ezra Nawi, a radical activist from the NGO "Ta'ayush," discussing informing the Palestinian Authority security services about a Palestinian man who allegedly intended to sell land to Jews in the West Bank. The sale of Palestinian land to Israelis is punishable by death under Palestinian law, and according to Nawi, suspects are tortured and then killed.
- In 2014, journalist Tuvia Tenenbom published a book, "Catch the Jew," in which he recounts a conversation with B'Tselem "researcher" Atef Abu a-Rub, who accused Germany of "giving money to the Jews" and then referred to the Holocaust as "a lie."
- On May 9, 2013, issued a 30-page report headlined “Human Rights Violations during Operation Pillar of Defense 14-21 November 2012,” together with an accompanying press release. The claims in the press release, however, were inconsistent with the actual report, creating misleading perceptions in the media that the Israeli military, among other allegations, “violated International Humanitarian Law.”
- On January 14, 2009, issued a press release “An Israeli Call for Urgent Humanitarian Action In Gaza,” accusing Israel of “grave violations of international humanitarian law,” “wanton use of lethal force,” and “disproportionate harm to civilians,” completely disregarding Israeli security concerns and Hamas’ indiscriminate terror attacks against Israeli civilians.
- Departing CEO Jessica Montell has said: “I think the word apartheid is useful for mobilizing people because of its emotional power. In some cases, the situation in the West Bank is worse than apartheid in South Africa.”
- In April 2010, staff member and NGO activist Lizi Sagie resigned after the organization came under pressure for statements made on her personal blog, including: “The IDF Memorial Day is a pornographic circus of glorifying grief and silencing voices,” “Israel is committing Humanity’s worst atrocities...Israel is proving its devotion to Nazi values...Israel exploits the Holocaust to reap international benefits.”
- B’Tselem is a member organization of Fédération Internationale des Droits de l’Homme (FIDH), a Paris-based association of international NGOs that is active in anti-Israel BDS campaigns worldwide.
Foreign donations based on reports to Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits (amounts in NIS)
|Human Rights and International Law Secretariat (joint funding from Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark and the Netherlands)*
|Catholic Relief Services (US)
|Front Line Bol
|Christian Aid Ireland
|Bread for the World (Germany)**
*Until 2014, NDC managed the pooled finances of Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands through its Human Rights/Good Governance program; In 2014, NDC was replaced by NIRAS and Birzeit University, which are managing the government funding under the Human Rights and International Law Secretariat.
** On August 30, 2012, Brot für die Welt merged with the Church Development Service (Evangelischer Entwicklungsdienst-EED) and formed “Brot für die Welt – Evangelischer Entwicklungsdienst” (Bread for the World – Evangelical Church Development Service), as part of the new Evangelical Agency for Diakonia and Development (Evangelisches Werk für Diakonie und Entwicklung).
B'Tselem Further Reading:
- Israel's Predetermined Guilt and the Irrelevant Left, Seth Mandel, Commentary Magazine, September 11, 2014
- EU-Funded NGOs and Holocaust Denial Exposed in New Book, NGO Monitor Analysis, September 3, 2014
- B'Tselem's Gaza war statistics under fire, Benjamin Weinthal, The Jerusalem Post, August 20, 2014
- B’Tselem’s Credibility in the UNOCHA Protection Cluster: Casualty and Legal Allegations in the 2014 Gaza War, NGO Monitor factsheet, August 20, 2014
- Political, Ideological Approach of Hagai El-Ad at B’Tselem, NGO Monitor factsheet, August 20, 2014
- B'Tselem's Expanding Credibility Gap, NGO Monitor Report, July 16, 2014 (updated July 17, 2014)
- CNN is more reliable than B'Tselem (translated from the Hebrew), Jonathan D. Halevi, News1, July 1, 2014
- B'Tselem's Callous and Tasteless Campaign on the Kidnapping Operation, NGO Monitor Analysis, June 24, 2014
- B'Tselem Acknowledges Inability to Assess Palestinian Allegations, NGO Monitor Reports, May 9, 2013
- IDF Response to B'Tselem on Crowd Control Weapons, January 31, 2013
- The B'Tselem Witch Trials, Noah Pollak, Commentary Magazine, May 2011
- B'Tselem: Human Rights and Terrorism, NGO Monitor Press Release, June 14, 2010
- B´Tselem Accepts BDS Money: Behind the "Bubbes and Zaydes" Façade, NGO Monitor Reports, November 4, 2010
- Calculating Civilian Conflict Fatalities: A Demographic Analysis of Palestinian Conflict Fatalities during the al-Aqsa Intifada (29 September 2000 to 26 December 2008), Jordan Birenbaum
- B’Tselem’s One-Way Looking Glass, NGO Monitor Reports, January 7, 2010
- Lizi Sagie (B'tselem/Missawa/CWP) Compares Israel to Nazis, NGO Monitor Press Release, April 19, 2010
- B'tselem and PCHR Reports on Gaza War Casualties Are Not Credible, NGO Monitor Press Release, September 9, 2009
- Comments on B’Tselem’s Civilian Casualty Estimates in Operation Cast Lead, Professor Elihu D Richter MD MPH and Dr. Yael Stein MD, September 14, 2009
- B'tselem's Gaza Report- Ideology Instead of Facts, NGO Monitor Reports, March 13, 2008
Research Note: New European Government Funding Aimed at Influencing Israeli Legislation, NGO Monitor Report, January 7, 2016
B´Tselem - Less Reliability and Credibility, More Politics, Amb. Alan Baker, JCPA publication, July 28, 2015
European-Funded NGOs and the Susya Narrative, NGO Monitor factsheet, July 21, 2015
The Missing Pieces in The Guardian´s Celebration of B´Tselem, NGO Monitor Analysis, March 12, 2015
Emotion, Not Law: A Critical Reading of B´Tselem´s "Black Flag" Report, NGO Monitor Report, February 1, 2015
B´Tselem Adds to the Chorus of False Gaza War Allegations, NGO Monitor press release, January 27, 2015
Media Impact: B´Tselem´s False Gaza War Allegations, NGO Monitor in the Media, January 28, 2015
Presumed Guilty Until Proven Innocent, Evelyn Gordon, Commentary Magazine, January 28, 2015
B´Tselem´s Interpretation of international law is wrong, Elder of Ziyon, January 29, 2015
B´Tselem Manipulates and Distorts Facts to Defame Israel, Jonathan D. Halevi, JNS, January 26, 2015
B´Tselem´s Expanding Credibility Gap, NGO Monitor Report, July 16, 2014
B´Tselem´s Gaza war statistics under fire, Benjamin Weinthal, The Jerusalem Post, August 20, 2014
B’Tselem’s Credibility in the UNOCHA Protection Cluster: Casualty and Legal Allegations in the 2014 Gaza War, NGO Monitor Report, August 20, 2013
B´Tselem´s Casualty Figures Based Largely on Phone Interviews, Maurice Ostroff, The Times of Israel, February 10, 2015
Holocaust deniers in B´Tselem, Ben-Dror Yemini, Ynet, August 31, 2014
Disguised Journalist Exposes the Hatred of Israel (translated from original Hebrew), Yossi Mizrahi, Channel 2, August 29, 2014
EU-Funded NGOs and Holocaust Denial Exposed in New Book, NGO Monitor Analysis, September 3, 2014