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United Nations

The State of Israel was established during a period of intense focus on human rights issues.  Many of the leading political movements during that period dedicated a significant part of their platforms to human rights.

The institutions and laws established in Israel reflect the central place of human rights at the heart of the State’s ideological foundations. It is therefore not surprising that human rights organizations have always been prominent and active in Israeli society.


However, in recent years we have seen the rise of new organizations which, while they call themselves “human rights organizations,” are in fact of a completely different ilk from the tradition. Contrary to what one would assume, these organizations’ activities raise questions as to the sincerity of their concern with human rights, questions that are motivated by the agendas and goals  that are guiding them.

These organizations constitute a coordinated coalition, and they have selected a limited number of core issues in which they have invested the greater part of their resources. One major issue is that of the migration of infiltrators into the State of Israel. ‘Human rights’ organizations are doing everything possible to eradicate the Israeli State’s ability to stop this flow of illegal migrants: petitions to the Supreme Court, demonstrations, information centers, and categorical opposition to any law that imposes sanctions on people who cross the border.

Masterminding these efforts is the New Israel Fund, which has created a forum in which members of organizations such as ASSAF (Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel), Physicians for Human Rights, the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants, and others can work together and sometimes operate as a single entity.  The stated purpose of the forum is to grant permanent resident status to these migrants.  The funding for this forum comes from foreign entities such as the EU, the US State Department, and from the budgets of various European government

The result has been the accumulation of approximately 100,000 illegal migrants in Israeli cities, living in poverty and dire conditions and turning entire neighborhoods into hubs of crime. Despite the clear evidence that indicates that these infiltrators were not being persecuted by the regimes in their home countries (for example, masses of migrants were guests at an event in their support held at the home of the South Sudanese Ambassador), these organizations have chosen to present them as “refugees,” and have demanded that Israel should grant them permanent status.

Ironically, recent findings only confirm the true ideological agenda of these organizations. In late march the British Home Office issued a report stating that Eritreans, by far the largest component of the infiltrator population, are actually not subject to persecution in Eritrea by virtue of their having left the country to escape military service.

They are able to return subject to paying a tax for the service they missed. And since, the infiltrators make far more money in Tel Aviv than they would in Erittrea (their real reason for being here), paying a tax is no impediment to their return.

This undercuts the idea that these people are endangered refugees, rather than economic self-seekers. Yet to Israeli NGOs they are stateless, helpless refugees. Of course, what they really represent to these NGOs are ways to diminish the Jewish character of Israel, the ultimate agenda of the NIF and its many funded human rights NGOs.

A second core issue in the activities of these organizations is the “right of Palestinian Arab return”. Groups like Adalah, also supported by the New Israel Fund, and Zochrot, which, enjoys the support of European governments and NGOs, advocate “Nakba” awareness, which considers the establishment of the national home for the Jewish people a “catastrophe,” and regards Palestinian Arabs as “refugees” who must be restored within Israel’s borders. These displaced people are to be granted citizenship, and will of course (and by design) profoundly  impact Israel’s ethnic identity.

The founder of the Zochrot NGO has most incisively formulated the dominant outlook of these organizations: “I don’t know who will want to come back, but whoever wants to – let him come back. And if then there won’t be a Jewish State – then there won’t be one. The concept I prefer is a single state from the river to the sea, in which all the people have rights and the two nations have ties to this land.”

In both cases, those who are being “protected” are in reality being manipulated for the sake of the political agenda of these organizations and their funders.

That agenda is clearly the undermining of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, by changing the demographic balance in Israel to eliminate its Jewish majority.

Conversely, and not surprisingly, alongside the politically motivated issues on which these ‘human rights organizations’ focus are actual bona fide human rights crises, which these organizations totally ignore.

For example, for years Hamas has been committing crimes against humanity, shooting rockets into population centers, digging terror tunnels leading to Israeli communities and systematically murdering anyone who opposes it politically within the Gaza strip. The residents of south Tel Aviv are afraid to leave their homes at night after numerous incidents of rape and severe violence have been committed by infiltrators who harass and intimidate locals, especially the elderly.

On the Temple Mount freedom of worship is denied to Jews, who are prohibited from praying there; recently an Arab attempted to kill a human rights activist who was active there.

In all these cases, so-called ‘human rights Israeli organizations’ have remained silent. In the rare instances when they have spoken out, their response has always been reluctant and half-hearted. Occasionally, their condemnation has referred to “violence on both sides” or to “provocations which led to the attack.”

Once again Not surprisingly, an important common thread to all these problems is that most of the victims have been Jewish.

One distinguishing feature of this new generation of Israeli ‘human rights organizations’ is extensive foreign funding. Huge amounts are contributed to these organizations from countries and state-like entities such as the UN and the EU, as well as from the New Israel Fund. Many more millions have been funneled by European governmentally-related NGOs, funded by their respective governments.

There is simply no parallel to this extent of intervention by foreign countries in the public activities of a democratic country anywhere else in the world.

Contrary to all logic, this unique state of affairs is fostered by the absence of any legislation which would restrict, or at least regulate such activities. Such legislation is in fact the norm in other democratic countries, such as the U.S.

The appropriate name for these organizations is actually “organizations for the exploitation of the issue of human rights as a political objective”. Not only the State of Israel, but also its supporters all over the world, must understand the threat that hangs over it from foreign funding intended to prejudice the country’s identity.

Above all, Israel must stop the destructive influence exercised by anti-human-rights “human rights” organizations.


{ The author, Shimon Ohayon, was a member of the Knesset from 2013 to 2015. Prior to that he was on the faculty of Bar Ilan University in the Department of Education. He has served as the Chairman of the Moroccan Immigrants Association}


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