Making NGOs AccountableAdvanced Search

Rights Forum

Profile

Country/TerritoryNetherlands
Websitehttp://www.rightsforum.org/english
FoundedDecember 2009 by former Dutch Prime Minister Andreas van Agt.
In their own wordsA “knowledge center on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and as a network of previous ministers and jurists that are committed to a solution of the conflict based on international law.”

Funding

  • Funding information is not transparent. The Rights Forum does not release financial details or donation amounts.
  • According to information released by donors, in 2016, Rockefeller Brothers Fund provided $40,000 to the Rights Forum.

Activities

  • According to its website, the Forum “monitor[s] Dutch politics and reveal[s] what positions politicians take regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” and “record[s] violations of international law which the parties commit and report on these.”
  • Lobbies government officials, engages in “fact-finding missions,” sends briefings to the Dutch parliament alleging Israeli violations of human rights, publishes highly misleading reports, and attempts to exploits its political influence to manipulate Dutch and EU policy.
  • Website provides inaccurate background information on issues such as “Palestinian water problems,” “Colonist Violence,” refugees, and Gaza, in an attempt to demonize Israel.
  • Refers to the BDS (boycott divestment and sanctions) campaign as the correct measure to target Israel: “Only with heavy economic and political pressure on Israel, also from Netherlands, will stir the Netanyahu government to strike its construction and expansion of settlements.”
  • Launched a media campaign during Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit to the Netherlands in September 2016, including offensive cartoons and calls for Netanyahu’s prosecution at the ICC.
  • Campaigns against Israel under the guise of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) by erroneously claiming that doing business and investing in companies with holdings over the 1949 Armistice Line is illegal, despite international laws and domestic court decisions stating otherwise.
  • Its photo report from 2015 falsely accused Israel of causing suffering to “many Palestinian villages due to a distressing lack of water.” The report also noted Islamic holy sites but made no reference to any Jewish historical or religious ties to Israel.
  • In 2013, van Agt introduced a civil initiative in Parliament, “Demolish the Wall,” claiming that the Netherlands has an obligation to impose sanctions on Israel.
  • In 2012, Director Martin Siepermann maintained, “Israel is never held accountable and never put under pressure to end its systematic and serious human rights violations or to substantially reduce it.”
  • In 2010, attorney and board member Liesbeth Zegveld filed a criminal complaint against the Dutch corporation Riwal, alleging its complicit[y] in the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity through its construction of the Annexation Wall, ‘the Wall,’ and illegal settlements in the Occupied West Bank.” The complaint was brought on behalf of the radical anti-Israel NGO Al Haq.
  • In a report detailing its May 2010 “fact-finding” mission, the delegation alleges that Israel’s “continuing colonization” is “a major threat to the establishment of the two-state solution.” The report states that Israeli policies are “the main obstacle[s] to a peaceful solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” and that relations with Hamas must be normalized.

Key People

  • Founder and honorary chairman of The Rights Forum, Dries van Agt, has been accused of antisemitism several times, including statements such as “Jews need a safe place. Why couldn’t they get a safe place in Germany at the time?” and labelling himself an Aryan.
  • Van Agt maintains that “Europe owes a special debt to the Palestinians because they are the victims of victims of the Holocaust.” He also argues that “The European and Dutch boycott of Hamas is wrong and even stupid…We automatically pardon the occupier and sanction the occupied nation.”
  • Van Agt also blamed Israel for the lack of democracy in the Arab world.
  • Members of the board maintain close connections to anti-Israel NGOs, including Sabeel, Al Haq and ICCO. These groups support BDS campaigns, deny the Jewish people’s connections to Israel, and support legal attacks (“lawfare”) against Israel.
  • Advisory board member Jan Pronk has publicly supported the Kairos Palestine Document, which calls for BDS and denies the Jewish historical connection to Israel.
  • Board member Mouin Rabbani was formerly employed by the Palestinian NGO Al Haq, a global leader in anti-Israel “lawfare” and BDS.
  • Hans van den Broek, former Foreign Minister of the Netherlands and member of The Rights Forum advisory board, wrote the introduction to “Trading Away Peace,” a publication that calls on EU and individual European governments to wage political warfare through various forms of economic sanctions on Israel.

All Articles about Rights Forum