In parallel with the Knesset consideration of legislation on complex issues related to Bedouin citizens in the Negev, NGO Monitor today published an investigative report detailing the activities, claims, and funding sources of NGO campaigns on this issue. The report, “NGOs and the Negev Bedouin Issue in the Context of Political Warfare,” analyzes NGO activity between 2010 and 2013.
“These international and Israeli NGOs distort this complex issue beyond recognition and seek to replace Israeli democratic processes with NGO-led campaigns abroad,” NGO President Gerald Steinberg explained. “By promoting a false narrative and conducting one-sided lobbying at the European Union, the United Nations, and elsewhere, the NGO network contributes significantly to the demonization and delegitimization of Israel.”
The NGO Monitor study examined several NGOs active in the campaign, including the Negev Coexistence Forum, Adalah, Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Bimkom, Rabbis for Human Rights, and Human Rights Watch. These NGOs are largely funded by the New Israel Fund (NIF), the European Union, and European governments, the study shows.
As part of their cynical political campaigns, the NGOs demand recognition of Israeli Bedouin in the Negev as “indigenous,” reflecting an anti-Zionist ideology, and also back land ownership claims – including on the illegal building in Al-Arakib – which have been examined and rejected by the courts. The NGOs also falsely accuse Israel of implementing a policy of “racial discrimination,” “disinheritance,” and “human rights violations.”
The analysis shows that many NGOs conflate Bedouin issues with the broader Arab-Israeli conflict, without distinguishing between the distinct questions. In addition to attacking the State of Israel, the NGOs also target the Jewish National Fund (JNF) for its forestry projects in the Negev.