Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I)


Under the guise of medical expertise and scientific fact, PHR-I promotes distorted and false narratives, aimed at demonizing and delegitimizing Israel in the international arena.


Founded1988 by Dr. Ruchama Marton
In their own wordsClaims 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.”



  • Physicians for Human Rights – Israel (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.
  • Claims to “stand[] at the forefront of the struggle for human rights” 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.”

Political Advocacy

  • PHR-I repeatedly argues that the sole impediment to Palestinian development is Israeli policy. According to its mission statement, PHR-I “views the ongoing occupation of the Palestinian Territory as a root cause of multiple human rights violations including the right to health and actively advocates for its end.”
  • 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.”
  • In October 2023, in the aftermath of the brutal Hamas attack on October 7, PHR-I published a statement claiming, “Human rights cannot be detached from historical and political reality. It is our human obligation to contextualize yesterday’s violence…These events can only be understood within the context of a brutal 15-year siege on two million Gazan residents, half of whom are children and most of whom are refugees or the children and grandchildren of refugees. The militants who infiltrated southern Israel yesterday were born into a reality of perpetual humanitarian crisis, air raids, deaths and injuries, and utter lack of hope. Pain breeds pain.”
  • In May 2023, PHR-I was a signatory on a statement blaming Israel for the death of Khader Adnan following his 86-day-long hunger strike and refusal to receive medical treatment from the Israeli Prisons Service. According to the statement, “Israel’s unjust system of arrests and detention are part and parcel of the policies used by Israel to maintain its occupation and apartheid regime.”
  • In April 2023, PHR-I was a signatory on a letter to the United Nations Secretary-General urging the UN to reject the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism. According to the letter, the IHRA definition “opens the door to labeling as antisemitic… findings of major Israeli, Palestinian and global human rights organizations that Israeli authorities are committing the crime against humanity of apartheid against Palestinians.”
    • The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, adopted by nearly 30 countries and counting, represents the international consensus definition of antisemitism, as well as how to distinguish between legitimate criticism of Israel and antisemitism. An example of the latter includes denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.
  • In December 2022, PHR-I was a signatory on a joint letter to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court stating that “We are all committed to assisting your office in advancing the ongoing investigation of the Situation in Palestine.”
  • In January 2022, PHR-I was a signatory on a statement condemning the decision by the Israeli Ministry to designate six Palestinian NGOs as terrorist organizations. The statement called on the donors of the designated NGOs to “maintain and even increase their funding…Defunding the designated NGOs based on unsubstantiated allegations and designations will cause irreparable damage to Palestinian civil society at large and would undermine decades of humanitarian and human rights work.”
  • In May 2021, PHR-I was a signatory on letters sent to the Israeli Defense Minister, Attorney General and the Military Advocate General demanding “they act immediately to halt the Israeli military’s deadly attacks on the civilian population in Gaza, as well as strikes on civilian buildings and infrastructure, which have been continuous since 10 May 2021…these attacks raise grave suspicions of serious violations of international humanitarian law.” PHR-I further wrote that there is “no doubt that the State of Israel is in no way willing to open criminal investigations into suspicions of violations of international humanitarian law by its forces in Gaza, including the killing and wounding of civilians.”
  • In December 2020, PHR-I, alongside a number of Israeli, Palestinian, and international organizations, issued a declaration headlined “Israel must provide necessary vaccines to Palestinian health care systems.” The NGOs falsely claim that Israel has “legal obligations” to “ensure that quality vaccines be provided to Palestinians living under Israeli occupation and control,” while altogether ignoring that Palestinians residing in Jerusalem are part of the Israeli health care system; that under the Oslo Accords the PA is responsible for health care of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza; and that the PA has adopted its own vaccine policy for its population.
  • In July 2019, PHR-I was a signatory on a letter to the President of the German Bundestag calling to revoke a joint resolution defining BDS campaigns against Israel as antisemitic.
  • In May 2018, PHR-I released a statement during the violence on the Gaza border condemning the “reality in which Israeli security forces shoot unarmed demonstrators,” as well as not providing medical care for those injured in the riots, calling these actions an “outrageously cruel act.” The statement ignored the violent nature of the protests, which included Molotov cocktails, arson, and attempts to breach the border fence with Israel.
  • In September 2017, PHR-I participated in a panel titled “Prisoners’ Health in Israel and Palestine” at Medact’s conference, “Health Through Peace.” The panel, which included Medical Aid for Palestine (MAP) and Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights (LPHR), discussed the “various political and social conditions endured by Palestinians” and accused Israel of “breaches of international humanitarian and human rights law.”
  • To mark 50 years since 1967, PHR-I published “Chronicles of Occupation | 50 to 67,” which provided a “historiography of the Israeli occupation” and described “the occupation’s destructive force on the lives of so many.”
  • In December 2016, PHR-I, alongside Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP), released a factsheet documenting “limitations on breast cancer care” for Palestinian patients, stating that “The only effective way to remove the obstacles to better care is to end the occupation. As the 50th anniversary of the occupation approaches in 2017, governments like the UK must redouble their effort to bring it to an end. This is not only a moral responsibility for the international community; it is a vital and direct way to save lives and improve the quality of life for all Palestinians, none more so than those suffering ill-health and disease.”
  • In January 2015, PHR-I published “Gaza, 2014: Findings of an Independent medical fact-finding mission,” alleging Israeli violations of human rights and international legal norms during the 2014 Gaza War. PHR-I also set up a special website to accompany the report. Al-MezanGaza Community Mental Health Programme, and Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) are listed as having provided “Fieldwork and research coordination” for the report.
    • The report provides no proof or evidence for the serious charges contained within it. The report contains fundamental methodological flaws, ignores Hamas violations, and relies on “experts” that have demonstrated anti-Israel biases.
  • In October 2015, during a wave of violence against Israeli civilians, PHR-I, along with other politicized NGOs in Israel, called upon Israel to end its policy of “extrajudicial killings” and “collective punishment.” The group criticized Israeli policy and actions of self-defense, without even noting the intensification of attacks against Israelis.
  • Issued a June 2013 joint statement with other politicized NGOs Adalah and Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI), in light of “UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture,” alleging that “Impunity and a lack of accountability continue to characterise the relationship of Israel’s security services with civilians” and maintaining ongoing “torture-related policies and practices against Palestinian prisoners and detainees.”
  • An 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.”
  • 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 provided unfounded allegations to the infamous Goldstone report, accusing Israel of war crimes during the 2008-9 Gaza conflict.
  • In February 2003, placed an advertisement in the Ha’aretz newspaper declaring that the “organization will only work with doctors who resist the occupation.”

Apartheid Rhetoric

  • PHR-I is part of a network of NGOs that promote artificial and manufactured definitions of apartheid to extend the ongoing campaigns that seek to delegitimize and demonize Israel. (Read NGO Monitor’s Policy Papers “False Knowledge as Power: Deconstructing Definitions of Apartheid that Delegitimise the Jewish State” and “Neo-Orientalism: Deconstructing claims of apartheid in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.”)
  • In December 2022, PHR-I was a signatory on a statement claiming that the “occupation and apartheid in the occupied Palestinian territories have made Jewish supremacy the de facto law of the land and the new government seeks to adopt this into their official policy.”
  • In February 2022, during the periodic review of Israel for the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) at the UN Human Rights Committee, PHRI-I published a submission that ”deliberate policies has created a situation whereby there has been a consistent damage to the Palestinian health services, which are — as a result of Israeli policies — inferior and less available than those offered to Israelis; namely, apartheid in health.”
  • In February 2022, PHR-I signed a statement defending a report published by Amnesty International accusing Israel of apartheid. According to the statement, “The debate around the crime of apartheid of which Israel is accused, and its geographical scope, is not only legitimate, but absolutely necessary. We wholeheartedly reject the idea that Amnesty International’s report is baseless, singles out Israel or displays antisemitic animus.”
    • In February 2023, PHR-I signed a second joint statement condemning EU High Representative Josep Borrell  for rejecting Amnesty’s report as antisemitic. The NGOs claimed to be “deeply concerned about the escalating instrumentalization of allegations of antisemitism…The European Commission should refrain from validating and fueling such instrumentalization in any way.”
    • In May 2021, in the context of the 2021 Gaza Conflict, PHR-I published a statement that “For decades, Palestinians have lived under Israeli control in its various forms – including aspects of apartheid and colonialism – in Gaza, the West Bank, and Israel. This reality, in which both Israeli and Palestinian societies are part of an oppressive segregation regime with incitement coming from the highest ranks, has led a boiling point and to a loss of faith in the possibility of a truly equal and safe shared future…. Unfortunately, the short-sightedness and deliberately destructive policies of Israeli decision-makers have brought about the escalation we are currently in the midst of, and the suffering that has been inflicted on both peoples.”
  • In April 2021, PHR-I Director of the Occupied Palestinian Territory Department Ghada Majadli participated in a webinar hosted by Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP) titled “’Medical Apartheid’: COVID Vaccinations Under Occupation.”
  • In November 2020, PHR-I published a joint report with Breaking the Silence and Yesh Din titled “A Life Exposed: Military invasions of Palestinian homes in the West Bank.” The report, which discusses the “practice of raiding Palestinian homes in the West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem),” falsely claims that “The existence of two legal systems that apply to two separate national groups, as illustrated in this report in the context of the rules governing entry into the private domain, supports the claim that Israel is committing the crime of apartheid in the West Bank” (emphasis added).
  • On February 15, 2017, PHR-I participated in a Knesset conference on 50 Years of Occupation with the message that “Israel must choose between peace with the Palestinians, and the road to apartheid or war.” According to PHR-I founder Ruchama Marton, “We are here to state that we do not possess “the right” to abandon others’ lives. Therefore, we do not want to colaborate [sic] with the laws of the occupation and apartheid.”



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