In 2013, NGO Monitor published “NGOs and the Negev Bedouin Issue in the Context of Political Warfare,” a report detailing how NGOs manipulate the issue of Bedouins in order to promote politicized agendas. To this day, NGOs continue to ignore legal decisions regarding Bedouin villages and instead utilize inflammatory rhetoric to lobby the UN, the European Union, and international media.
The violent events in the unrecognized village of Umm Al-Hiran highlight the way in which NGOs, financially backed by European governments, intensify conflict between the Bedouin community and the State of Israel.
The following politicized NGOs are active in this campaign:
- Adalah is the leading NGO in the campaign for Umm Al-Hiran, primarily through litigation.
- Between 2014-2015, the European Union provided Adalah with €100,000 for a project titled “Promoting human rights among Bedouins-Arabs in the Negev.”1
- In 2016, Adalah requested $30,000 for a project titled “Adalah’s Emergency Project to #Save_UmalHiran.” In the grant proposal, Adalah requested funding for one month in order “to litigate, advocate, campaign and mobilize the public so that no home is demolished and no Umm al‐Hiran resident is evicted.”
- In the proposal, Adalah defines the Bedouins as “Palestinians,” warns of an imminent “Nakba,” and describes Israel as a “racist” state.
- Adalah concludes its grant proposal by stating that “Although our fundraising campaign will run for 1 month, our efforts in the courts and on the ground will continue until we ensure that all homes in Umm al‐Hiran remain standing, and that all residents remain on the land!” (emphasis in original)
- In a November 21, 2016 press release, Adalah claimed that “The case of Atir-Umm al-Hiran is a clear example of dispossession and displacement for strictly racial reasons; the only reason the village is being demolished is to allow the state to establish of a new Jewish town…”
- Contrary to Adalah’s claims, however, the Israeli High Court has repeatedly determined that the State’s decisions to remove illegally-built homes and develop a new town are not discriminatory.
Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality
- Between 2014-2016, Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality (NCF) received NIS 1.24 million from the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung (Germany) for projects titled “Human Rights Defenders Network: Empowering Women from Unrecognized Bedouin Villages in the Negev/Naqab to Fight for their Home,” “A Visual and Narrative Documentation of the Life in the Unrecognized Villages in the Negev,” “Human Rights Campaign,” and “Raising Awareness by Tours and Reports on the Unrecognized Bedouin Villages.”
- In an interactive map published by NCF, the NGO refers to new Israeli towns built in the Negev as “Jewish Settlements.” (The Negev Desert is within the 1949 Armistice Lines and was included in territory given to Israel under the 1948 UN Partition Plan.)
- In a December 2015 position paper, NCF called on the Israeli Government to “cease its discriminatory policy of encouraging the expansion of Jewish settlement in the Negev and concentrating the Bedouin residents in towns while demolishing their villages.”
- In the conclusion of the paper, NCF states that the “demolition of Atīr and Umm al-Ḥīrān is oppressive and racist” and will “deepen the rift between the Arab and Jewish populations.”
Rabbis for Human Rights
- Rabbis for Human Rights (RHR) is part of an ongoing campaign against the “crime” of evacuating Umm Al-Hiran.
- In November 2016, RHR rejected the Israel’s High Court of Justice’s decision regarding Umm Al-Hiran (described above) and called on activists to come to the village in order to resist its demolition.
- Between 2012-2016, RHR received NIS 2.9 million in government funding (primarily for legal purposes) from Spain, United Kingdom, Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland, and the European Union.
- Between 2008-2015, the New Israel Fund authorized grants of approximately $2 million to Adalah. Additional funding (both direct and indirectly) is provided by Switzerland, the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (joint funding from Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, and the Netherlands), Belgium, and other governments.