Rabbis for Human Rights (RHR)
May 19, 2011
- Website: http://www.rhr.org.il/index.php?language=en
- Founded in 1988, located in Jerusalem
- 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.”
- In 2006-2009, the New Israel Fund (NIF) authorized grants worth $432,914 to Rabbis for Human Rights (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009).
- Funders include: Ford Foundation-New Israel Fund Project, Mennonite Central Committee, Norwegian Church Aid, and Trocaire.
- Claims to have no affiliation with any political party or ideology.
- Advocacy related to Israeli-Palestinian issues includes Sheikh Jarakh demonstrations, harvesting olives with Palestinians, and other activities designed to “Say No to Settler Harassment.”
- Also campaigns on Israeli political issues such as welfare policy and against the building the “Museum of (In)Tolerance” for being “being built on a Muslim cemetery.”
- RHR organizes educational programs for secular, religious, and Arab school systems as well as teachers, university students, soldiers, and the general public. RHR works with pre-army academies and runs “Batey Midrash (study sessions) for university students, in which current issues of human rights and social justice are taught from both modern and traditional Jewish perspectives.”
- RHR also engages in interfaith projects, including prayer events and interfaith dialogue aimed at creating “curricular materials for use in Israeli and Palestinian schools.”
- RHR also campaigns on African refugees and migrants.
- Uses rhetoric such as “Israel’s foul and discriminatory policies against Palestinians, despite its obligation toward them as the occupier…Israel is 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 Gaza war, RHR launched a website “Is This Us? We Must Investigate. What Happened in Gaza?” in partnership with the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) and Breaking the Silence. The site publicized soldier testimonies alleging Israeli “disproportional shooting, use of illegal weapons, destruction and vandalism.” RHR also notes that the site was not designed to “clear the Palestinian side of responsibility.”
- Executive Director Rabbi Arik Ascherman described proposed Knesset legislation on transparency in foreign governmental funding to NGOs as “designed to dry up the sources of funding and delegitimize…This is but the most direct in a series of attacks on Israeli democracy.”