In parallel to rocket bombardments from Gaza aimed at Israeli population centers, the past week has seen intensive violence in mixed Arab-Jewish cities throughout Israel. There have been lynchings, firebombs, beatings, stabbings, rioting, and other forms of nationalistically-motivated violence.
In addition to brutal attacks by Jewish extremists against Arab citizens, the majority of incidents have involved Arabs targeting Jews (or what they thought to be Jewish homes). These attacks have led to a number of deaths.
However, in their statements on the violence in Israeli cities, many NGOs have ignored or downplayed the attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions, including synagogues. Instead, they have focused solely on Arab victims, repeating false allegations that Israeli authorities discriminated against Arabs in responding to events and blaming Israeli policies for the violence. In addition, some of these NGOs have exploited the situation to advance their ongoing campaigns accusing Israel of “apartheid.”
By erasing a central part of the story and most of the violations, these political advocacy NGOs – funded by European governments and private donors – again display their divisive agendas, in contrast to universal human rights values.
Excerpts from NGO statements:
- Adalah created a “a new page to keep you updated on the situation in #Jerusalem and around the country.” This resource does not mention Arab violence at all.
- In a May 16 statement, Adalah accused Prime Minister Netanyahu of “inciting against Palestinian citizens, encouraging Israeli forces to continue committing hate crimes, war crimes” and alleged that “Israeli law enforcement is turning a blind eye as armed, racist Jewish militia groups are marching through the streets attacking Palestinians.”
- In an interview with Al-Jazeera (May 15), Deputy General Director Sawsan Zaher “says she takes issue with the portrayal in some media of recent violence between Palestinian citizens of Israel and Israeli Jews as ‘inter-communal violence’. She told Al Jazeera much of the violence has been largely characterised by systematic Israeli racial discrimination against Palestinians, with Israeli police even accompanying settlers while they attacked Palestinians in cities such as Lod.”
- Adalah sent public letters to police officials and the attorney general on May 11, 12,13, 15 alleging Jewish incitement, with no mention of Arab violence or incitement.
- Adalah has a long history of polarizing political advocacy based on false allegations, as documented in detail by NGO Monitor.
Donors include European Union, Open Society Institute, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (Germany), Bread for the World (Germany), Heinrich Boll Stiftung (Germany), Kerk in Actie (Netherlands), and the New Israel Fund.
- Statement (May 12), calling to “on the international community to take immediate and concrete action to put an end to aggression escalation against the Palestinians in Jerusalem, West Bank, Gaza, and inside Israel….the Palestinian Arab protestors have shown no interest in escalation of violence or unrest unless acting in self-defense” (emphasis in original).
Donors include the European Union, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, Spain, DanChurchAid (Denmark), Trocaire (Ireland), Christian Aid Ireland, Diakonia (Sweden), Bread for the World- EED (Germany), New Israel Fund, and the United Nations.
- Website (also published as advertisement in Haaretz): May 14, 2021
- “The current violence throughout Israel/Palestine is an outcome of the apartheid regime that controls the entire area. Under this regime, about half of the people who live between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea – Jews – are able to lead full lives and enjoy protection of their human rights, while the other half – Palestinians – cannot.”
- “The range of measures the Israeli regime employs to ensure Jewish supremacy throughout the area is inherently violent. Airstrikes, shooting and stun grenades are visible, while the laws, military orders, bureaucrats, policy makers and judges who uphold the system remain mostly invisible. ‘Restoring order’ means that Jews will go back to their peaceful lives, while Palestinians continue to live under a boot: subjected to constant, relentless violence that is invisible to Jews.”
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I)
- Website, May 12, 2021: “These events, the expulsion of families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem, the violation of the freedom of worship during the holy month of Ramadan for Muslims, police violence against demonstrators across the country, violence at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, including attacks on worshippers and medical staff, and violent attacks on Israeli Jewish citizens, are expressions and consequences of profound injustice, an original sin that has never been recognized and has never been addressed – the sin of dispossession and the supremacy of one people over another. This takes the form of valuing some lives over others, discriminatory legislation, and unequal access to spiritual, cultural and economic resources.”
Combatants for Peace
- Facebook, May 15: “The Israeli-Palestinian movement Combatants for Peace (CFP) strongly denounces the violence in Israel and Palestine and the targeting of Civilians, in particular. The current conflict, again, stems from the ongoing Occupation, systematic oppression and deprivation of Palestinians throughout the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Gaza strip.”
- Facebook, May 10: “Jerusalem is on fire. The events in Sheikh Jarrah and Al-Aqsa Mosque bring the Palestinian Nakba directly to our news feeds, and we are shocked and don’t understand how this is happening all of a sudden. This is exactly the issue. It didn’t just happen all of a sudden. These heartbreaking events are deeply rooted in the history of everyone who lives here, Israelis and Palestinians, Jews and Muslims. The problem is that most of us don’t know our own history. Israeli schools don’t teach about the Nakba in schools, and the media tends to publish partial stories that produce one-sided narratives.”
Human Rights Watch (HRW)
- Tweet by Omar Shakir: “Forcible takeovers of homes. State-sanctioned mob violence. Raining fire on residential buildings. Gunning down demonstrators. All efforts to maintain apartheid. Mass mobilization threatens this repressive system. The fight against apartheid won’t stop. #Courage2FightApartheid” (Twitter, May 15)
- Eric Goldstein: “Netanyahu’s statement that the Israeli Border Police, who have a track record of abusive policing, should ‘not be afraid’ of investigations effectively invites them to use excessive force…If the Biden administration is serious about centering its foreign policy on human rights, the US, as well as other Israeli allies like the UK and France, should demand that Israeli security forces protect everyone’s rights and be held accountable when they don’t.” (May 14)
- Tweet: “Deeply disturbing reports of discrimination by Israeli police have emerged. Palestinians in Israel have been attacked & denied their rights to peacefully protest while Jewish Israeli right wing groups have been allowed to attack Palestinians & their properties with impunity.” (Twitter, May 13)