BDS IN THE PEWS
Yesh Din—Volunteers for Human Rights
August 20, 2014
- Website: www.yesh-din.org
- Established in March 2005 by members of Machsom Watch.
- Yesh Din’s stated mission is “to oppose the continuing violation of Palestinian human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory... documenting and disseminating accurate and up-to-date information about the systematic violation of human rights in the OPT, by raising public awareness of such violations, and by applying public and legal pressures on government agencies to end them.”
- Funding: 2013 budget of NIS 5,405,648 (accessed August 21, 2014).
- Donors include: European Union, the UK, Germany, Norway, Ireland, Oxfam Novib (Netherlands), Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD), HEKS-EFER (Switzerland).
- The organization also receives funds from the New Israel Fund (NIF), Oxfam NOVIB (Netherlands), Moriah Fund, and the Open Society Institute (USA).
- Based on financial information submitted to the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits, in accordance with the Israeli NGO transparency law, Yesh Din received NIS 1,038,402 from foreign governmental bodies in the first quarter of 2014, NIS 4,811,840 in 2013 and NIS 4,424,234 in 2012 (accessed August 19, 2014). (See chart below for detailed funding information).
- In 2011-2013, Yesh Din undertook a €234,000 project “To change Israeli policy vis-a-vis criminal accountability of Israeli Security Forces Personnel in the occupied Palestinian Territories, in such a way that acknowledges and takes into account the severity and the different nature of War Crimes, as distinguished from regular, domestic crimes” (emphasis added). (The EU is funding €150,000 of this project; according to Yesh Din’s website, Ireland also contributed NIS 331,200 to a project on “criminal accountability of security forces.”)
- In 2008-2013, the New Israel Fund (NIF) authorized grants worth $291,342 to Yesh Din (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013).
- Yesh Din regularly petitions the High Court of Justice to alter Israeli policy (for example, to cancel the law prohibiting the transportation of Palestinians in Israeli vehicles within the West Bank and to gain access to military court records).
- Engages in advocacy campaigns, such as briefings to foreign diplomats and encouraging Palestinians to claim compensation for seized land.
- The IDF responded to a Yesh Din report in 2008, claiming that it was flawed due to “an inaccurate interpretation of data, problematic research methods which include relying on anonymous questioned people…use of a partial database, partial or defected understanding of certain legal aspects with regard to military court activities, lack of appropriate familiarity with the criminal law in the Judea and Samaria areas and with the procedures of administrative detention.”
- After the 2008-2009 Gaza War, seven Israeli NGOs including Yesh Din submitted a joint report to the Goldstone Commission claiming that “Israel’s failure to conduct an independent investigation of the totality of events, there is also a systemic-intrinsic flaw in the investigation of concrete events.” According to the NGOs, this “failure to investigate instances in which civilians were wounded or killed has led to a sense of impunity and immunity from sanctions among soldiers and commanders.”
- In its submission to the Turkel Commission on the Gaza Flotilla (April 2011), Yesh Din claims that “Israel fails to meet its duty to investigate complaints of violations of justice by soldiers.” Yesh Din also alleges a “weakness of the rule of law in the West Bank,” and criticizes the enforcement of Israeli court decisions and police investigations into settler violence. ).
- According to Emily Schaeffer, a lawyer on Yesh Din’s legal team, “Yesh Din was founded to use law as a tool to fight the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.”
- Michael Sfard, Yesh Din’s primary legal counsel and an editor of many of the NGO’s reports, claims, “If war crimes are committed and an apartheid system is being deployed under our eyes, it is the moral duty of a citizen of the country responsible, to combat this, even if it means using external legal means.”
Foreign donations based on reports to Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits (amounts in NIS)
|Norwegian Refugee Council
|Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD)
|Oxfam Novib (Netherlands)
Yesh Din Essentials:
- Europe's Strange Bedfellows, Anne Herzberg, The Jerusalem Post, October 15, 2013
- European Democracy or Hypocrisy?, Gerald M. Steinberg, Israel Hayom, December 8, 2011
- Yesh Din, the EU, and Lawfare: Exposing the False Claims behind Deceptive Political Campaigns, NGO Monitor Reports, December 7, 2011
- NGO Monitor slams Belgium funds for ‘anti-Israel’ group, Benjamin Weinthal, Jerusalem Post, August 14, 2011
- Yesh Din and Ben-Or get “Wikileaked”, November-December 2010 Digest, January 18, 2011