Irresponsible NGOs Aggravate Tensions on Bedouin Village of Umm al-Hiran
The riots and other violence this morning in Umm al-Hiran emerged from a context of inflammatory statements by European-funded non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that claim to promote human rights, noted Jerusalem-based research institute NGO Monitor. The Israeli Supreme Court has held multiple hearings and has repeatedly determined that the State’s decisions to remove illegally-built homes and develop a new town are not discriminatory.
NGO Monitor research shows that the NGOs Adalah, Rabbis for Human Rights (RHR), and Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality (NCF) receive European government funding for projects that contributes to tensions between the Bedouin community and the State of Israel.
“The irresponsible rhetoric of these NGOs furthers an atmosphere that rejects compromise and leads to violence and disrespect for the rule of law,” stated Prof. Gerald Steinberg, President of NGO Monitor. “It is important to remember that European governments that financially support these organizations also have a responsibility in this regard. For many years, European-backed NGO political advocacy has stripped away the complexity and nuance of the Bedouin issue, and has contributed significantly to demonization and delegitimization campaigns.”
Between the years 2014-2015, Adalah received NIS 430,000 from the European Union for advancing “human rights among Bedouin Arabs in the Negev.” In 2015, the NGO also published a grant proposal to “save Umm al-Hiran” requesting $30,000 to use towards litigation, media outreach and advertisements, tours, internet campaigns, and advocacy at the UN, EU, and US. In the proposal, Adalah defines the Bedouins as “Palestinians,” warns of an imminent “Nakba,” and describes Israel as a “racist” state.
In addition, RHR received almost NIS 3 million in direct government funding between the years 2012-2016 from Spain, UK, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the European Union. Likewise, NCF received NIS 1.2 million between 2014-2016 from the Swiss Foreign Ministry and the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation (Germany) for “unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Naqab,” including publishing an interactive map that refers to new Israel developments in the Negev as “Jewish settlements.”
“NGOs that claim to promote the rule of law and human rights have an obligation to carefully assess their allegations and act responsibly,” continued Prof. Steinberg. “The tragic results of their activities are now on full display.”
- NGO Monitor’s analysis of NGOs involved in the Umm al-Hiran campaign
- NGO Monitor’s 2013 report, “NGOs and the Negev Bedouin Issue in the Context of Political Warfare”