Regularly contributes to the international delegitimization of Israel through politically motivated campaigns, which are characterized by repeated false or distorted factual and legal allegations. The organization has faced serious criticism for its misrepresentations of international law, inaccurate research, and skewed statistics.
|Founded||1989 by “a group of prominent academics, attorneys, journalists, and Knesset members,” largely from the Meretz and Labor Parties.|
|In their own words||“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.”|
- 2014 annual budget of NIS 9,318,169 (latest available; accessed May 17, 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 22,458,936 from foreign governmental bodies between 2012-2016 (accessed June 9, 2016). (See chart below for detailed funding information).
- According to annual reports, donations from foreign countries comprised 64.7% of total donations from 2012-2014.
- 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, the Netherlands, 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).
- B’Tselem was a partner organization, together with BADIL and YMCA, on a Dan Church Aid project, funded by ECHO (EUR 1,305,400 from July 1, 2012 for the duration of one year) “to increase the Area C population’s access to water, resources, and services necessary for sustaining communities and preventing forced population transfer.”
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.
- Actively pursues its political agenda in the Israeli courts and the Knesset.
- Accuses Israel of “apartheid,” perpetrating “war crimes,” “beating and abus[ing]” Palestinians, “demolition of [Palestinian] houses as punishment,” and forced “deportations.”
- On February 24, 2016, B’Tselem, along with HaMoked, released a report “Backed by the System,” funded by the EU, alleging “Abuse and Torture” in Israeli prisons. The claims come from terrorists and suspected terrorists who were imprisoned in late 2013 and early 2014, and who were referred to the NGOs by their relatives. In contrast to the impression created in this report, only 14 of the 116 prisoners complained about “physical violence” during interrogation, and these allegations cannot be independently confirmed.
- On January 28, 2015, published a report, “Black Flag: The legal and moral implication of the policy of attacking residential buildings in the Gaza Strip,” falsely alleging that there was a “black flag of illegality flying over” Israeli military tactics during the 2014 Gaza War. The report was an expansion of a highly inflammatory infographic during the war on “Families bombed at home, Gaza, July-August 2014. ”As extensively documented by NGO Monitor, the report and corresponding infographic were not based on facts, evidence, or serious legal analysis.
- Together with nine other Israeli NGOs, submitted a public letter to the Israeli Attorney General (July 21, 2014), accusing Israel of “severe violations of international humanitarian law” and calling for “urgent examination of the suspected violations of the laws of war at the level of offensive policy and the rules of engagement.” This was similarly part of B’Tselem’s broader campaign throughout the war to bring about another UN inquiry, replicating the 2009 Goldstone process.
- 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.
- 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.”
- Former 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.”
Foreign donations based on financial reports submitted to the Israeli Registrar of Non Profits (amounts in NIS)
Data from 2015 and 2016 are based on quarterly reports
|Human Rights and International Law Secretariat (joint funding from Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark and the Netherlands)*||917,946||447,517||583,149|
|Catholic Relief Services (US)||185,967||316,530||554,446||463,715|
|Front Line Bol||19,293|
|Christian Aid Ireland||171,821||187,564||188,920|
|Bread for the World (Germany)**||618,862||286,637|
*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- Less Reliability and Credibility, More Politics Amb. Alan Baker, JCPA publication, July 28, 2015
- Inventing an 'evil state' Ben-Dror Yemini, Ynet News, August 8, 2016
- Presumed Guilty Until Proven Innocent Evelyn Gordon, Commentary Magazine, January 28, 2015
- B'Tselem's Interpretation of International Law is Wrong Jonathan D. Halevi, JNS, January 26, 2015
- B'Tselem's Gaza War Statistics Under Fire Benjamin Weinthal, The Jerusalem Post, August 20, 2014
- 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
- Israel's Predetermined Guilt and the Irrelevant Left Seth Mandel, Commentary Magazine, September 11, 2014
- CNN is more reliable than B'Tselem (translated from the Hebrew) Jonathan D. Halevi, News1, July 1, 2014