BDS IN THE PEWS
Rabbis for Human Rights (RHR)
August 20, 2014
- Website: http://www.rhr.org.il/eng/
- Founded in 1988; Israeli NGO located in Jerusalem.
- Maintains that it is “not aligned with any specific political party.”
- Claims to be “the only rabbinic voice of conscience in Israel” and to serve as “a shofar for the distribution of information about human rights in Israel and in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”
- Members “are Israeli citizens who are rabbis in national leadership positions, as well as educators and congregational rabbis capable of influencing change from the grass roots.”
- Funding: According to its 2012-2013 Annual Report, “Contributors” to RHR include European Commission, Spain, Church of Sweden, Norwegian Church, Misereor (Germany), Kerk in Actie, New Israel Fund, Social Justice Fund, Moriah Fund, NGO Development Center (joint funds from Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland), and Trocaire (Ireland).
- Based on financial information submitted to the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits, in accordance with the Israeli NGO transparency law, RHR received NIS 50,000 from foreign governmental bodies in the first quarter of 2014 and NIS 982,049 in 2012 (2013 amounts unavailable). (See chart below for detailed funding information).
- In 2008-2013, the New Israel Fund (NIF) authorized grants worth $962,897 to Rabbis for Human Rights (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013).
- Political Advocacy: RHR is one of the most politically active NGOs relating to the Bedouin in the Negev.
- Produced a 2013 film, “Fiddler with no Roof,” comparing Israel’s plan to resettle unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev to the expulsion of the Jews during the antisemitic Tsarist regime.
- In 2010 accused Israel of “foul and discriminatory policies against Palestinians” and “forcing Palestinians to live in a completely separate universe where time has stood still, and prevents them from properly planning their most basic needs and infrastructure.”
- In response to the 2009 Gaza war, RHR launched a website, together with Adalah, ACRI, B’Tselem, Bimkom, Gisha, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, Yesh Din, and others, that collected low-level soldier testimonies accusing Israel of war crimes and violating international law.
- Following the March 2011 Itamar massacre, RHR condemned the murders saying, “They were of course a violation of the most basic human right, the right to life,” but quickly went on to demand that the defense office fulfill its “obligation to protect Palestinians.” The Hebrew website contained a one sentence condemnation followed by four paragraphs detailing the need to defend Palestinians from “settler attacks.”
- Published a 2010 position paper, together with Adalah, Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Bimkom, B’Tselem, Gisha, Public Committee Against Torture in Israel and Yesh Din, opposing Knesset legislation on transparency in foreign governmental funding to NGOs saying the “Israeli government has sought to undermine the legitimacy of human rights groups” and seeks to impede the democratic process.
- Politically active in Sheikh Jarakh demonstrations, campaigns designed to “Say No to Settler Harassment,” and petitioning against alleged “expulsion and demolitions.”
Rabbis for Human Rights Essentials:
- The Blood Libel Film, Ben-Dror Yemini, The Times of Israel, November 29, 2013
- "The Jewish People are Better than the Prawer Bill," Haaretz advertisement, November 10, 2013
- NGOs and the Negev Bedouin Issue in the Context of Political Warfare, NGO Monitor Report, November 6, 2013
- Why don't Rabbis for Human Rights care about Bedouin women?, Alon Tal, Haaretz, September 2, 2013
- Ascherman accusation, Prof. Gerald Steinberg, Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle, May 19, 2011
"It is the ´rights groups´ and Rabbis for Human Rights... that are continuing the old, despised tradition of libels. In the past it was against the Jews. Now it’s against the State of Israel."
-Ben Dror Yemini