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Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I)

Introduction

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.

Profile

Country/TerritoryIsrael
Websitewww.phr.org.il/phr
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.”

Funding

Activities

Political Advocacy

  • Claims to be “a leader in ongoing campaigns against torture, summary executions, arbitrary (administrative) detentions, and solitary confinement in [Israeli] prisons” 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.”
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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’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.”
  • PHR-I provided unfounded allegations to the infamous Goldstone report, accusing Israel of war crimes during the 2008-9 Gaza conflict.
  • 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.”
    • The report was funded by: Belgian Embassy in Tel Aviv; Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Royal Danish Representative Office to the PA, the Swedish International Development Cooperation (SIDA), The Netherlands Representative Office to the PA channeled through the NGO Development Center (NDC); The Sigrid Rausing Trust (UK); British Shalom Salaam Trust (UK); United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture; AECID (Spain); Diakonia (Sweden); EPER HEKS (Switzerland); EED (Germany); Medico International (Germany), Cordaid (Holland); Haella (Holland); Humanitair Fonds (Holland); ICCO (Holland); Sivmo (Holland); Kios (Finland); New Israel Fund; The Rehabilitation and Research Centre for Torture Victims (Denmark).
  • In February 2003, placed an advertisement in the Ha’aretz newspaper declaring that the “organization will only work with doctors who resist the occupation.”

Foreign donations (amounts in NIS)

2012-2014 amounts based on NGO annual reports; 2015-2016 amounts based on financial reports submitted to the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits

Donor2016201520142013
Bread for the World -EED(Germany)*750,000630,000730,000
Norway538,722250,000739,000
Human Rights and International Law Secretariat (Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark and the Netherlands)**430,230380,000367,000
Diakonia (Sweden)97,522218,772358,000377,000
HEKS-EPER (Switzerland)139,069299,000868,000
Medico International(Germany)50,000263,000147,000
European Union10,158736,000252,000
Christian Aid (UK) 168,000502,000
Caritas (France)162,00088,000
Medico International(Switzerland)155,00077,000
UN258,058
UNHCR235,717156,698378,000445,000
UNDP96,740
Germany79,520
Holland59,386

*On August 30, 2012, Bread for the World (Brot für die Welt) merged with the Church Development Service (Evangelischer Entwicklungsdienst-EED) and formed Bread for the World-EED (Brot für die Welt – Evangelischer Entwicklungsdienst), as part of the new Evangelical Agency for Diakonia and Development (Evangelisches Werk für Diakonie und Entwicklung).

**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.

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