BDS IN THE PEWS
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel
August 29, 2013
- Website: www.phr.org.il/phr
- Founded in 1988 by Dr. Ruchama Marton, Physicians for Human Rights- Israel (PHR-I) claims to be “a non-profit, non-governmental organization that strives to promote a more fair and inclusive society in which the right to health is applied equally for all.” (PHR-I is not formally affiliated with the U.S.-based Physicians for Human Rights).
- According to its mission statement, PHR-I strives to “put an end” to “Israel’s prolonged occupation over Palestinian territory,” which it views as “the basis of human rights violations.”
- While using the name “Physicians,” half of the 1,500 claimed members and a number of key staff are not medical professionals.
- Funding: Funding provided by governments, private donors, and foundations. In its 2011 financial statement, PHR-I reported NIS 5.4 million (approximately $1.4m) in donations. The 2012 total has not yet been reported, but reports filed with the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits, (as of February 11, 2013), state that in 2012, PHR-I received NIS 682,667 originating with foreign governments.
- From 2008-2012, the New Israel Fund provided $1 million (see chart below). PHR-I website (accessed 11 August 2013) notes that, “PHR-Israel is still actively fundraising to cover its 2012-2013 budget.”
- 2012 government donors include: the European Union (NIS 228,408); Germany via EED (NIS 296,459); UNHCR (NIS 157,800); for 2011 include: the European Union, Norway, Spain, and the Tel Aviv Municipality. Foundational donors include: Christian Aid (UK), Diakonia (Sweden), EED (Germany), NIF/Ford Israel Fund, and Medico International.
- Political Advocacy: Claims to be “a leader in ongoing campaigns against torture, summary executions, arbitrary (administrative) detentions, and solitary confinement in [Israeli] prisons” and play a “central role in the struggle of human rights organizations against torture in detention facilities in Israel, particularly against physicians' participation in the torture of Palestinian detainees by failing to prevent and/or report torture."
- In 2009, PHR-I’s highly biased political agenda led the Israel Medical Association to halt cooperative activities, and elicited the condemnations of Dr. Yoram Blachar, president of the World Medical Association, who called PHR-I “a radical political group disguised as a medical organization.”
- PHR-I’s “Occupied Palestinian Territory Department,” which has operated since the organization’s establishment, seeks to take “action against road blocks set inside the occupied Palestinian territory, the separation barrier and other restrictive measures which place physical and bureaucratic barriers between individuals and access to medical care.”
- October 2011 publication “Doctoring the Evidence, Abandoning the Victim,” co-authored by the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI), accused Israeli doctors and institutions of involvement in the “torture and ill-treatment” of Palestinians. Many of the claims were based on unverifiable allegations. The Israel Medical Association denounced the highly selective publication for erasing important details. Based on faulty methodology, the PHR-I asserted that Israeli security officers “routinely employ interrogation methods which amount to torture and ill-treatment” and that “medical professionals are frequently involved either actively or passively in torture or ill-treatment.” Lexical or legal definitions for “torture” and “ill-treatment” are not provided and used inconsistently. Detailed analysis of the sweeping claims demonstrates deeply flawed research – the evidence consists of unverifiable claims by the detainees themselves and not assessments conducted by medically trained observers; some of the suspects were later convicted on terror charges. These basic flaws notwithstanding, the report threatens the Israeli medical community with prosecution in international forums, warning that medical personnel “may find themselves responsible for aiding and abetting the crime of torture.”
- The report was funded by: Belgian Embassy in Tel Aviv; Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Royal Danish Representative Office to the PA, the Swedish International Development Cooperation (SIDA), The Netherlands Representative Office to the PA channeled through the NGO Development Center (NDC); The Sigrid Rausing Trust (UK); British Shalom Salaam Trust (UK); United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture; AECID (Spain); Diakonia (Sweden); EPER HEKS (Switzerland); EED (Germany); Medico International (Germany), Cordaid (Holland); Haella (Holland); Humanitair Fonds (Holland); ICCO (Holland); Sivmo (Holland); Kios (Finland); New Israel Fund; The Rehabilitation and Research Centre for Torture Victims (Denmark).
- In January 2010, PHR-I co-sponsored an exhibit of children’s drawings titled “Childhood Under Fire,” which included images falsely depicting Israeli soldiers intentionally firing on Palestinian civilians.
- In February 2003, placed an advertisement in the Ha’aretz newspaper declaring that the “organization will only work with doctors who resist the occupation.”
NIF funding table
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel Essentials:
- PHR-I "Double Standard": Exceprts from Richard Horton´s 2007 Visit to Gaza and Israel: A Fool´s Journey, Prof. Elihu D. Richter, SPME, January 16, 2008
- Physicians for Human Rights-Israel: Exploiting Human Rights for Political Goals, NGO Monitor Digest, April 22, 2004
- Physicians for Human Rights Color Pamphlet Contradicts its Own Mission Statement, NGO Monitor Digest, January 17, 2003