Daily Israel Report

NIF 'Handcuffing Israel' as Riots Approach, Says Report

NGO Monitor describes an organized campaign by NIF-funded groups to prevent Israel from defending itself from upcoming violence.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 9/12/2011, 3:14 PM

In advance of the Palestinian Authority "September initiatives" at the United Nations, the New Israel Fund (NIF) network of organizations is conducting a coordinated campaign that accuses Israel of "infringing" on the "right to demonstrate" and ignores Israel's legal obligations to maintain public order.

As a pretense to promote this agenda and pre-judge Israeli responses to predicted mass demonstrations, B'Tselem Monday published a politically motivated "report" on "Weekly Demonstrations in a-Nabi Saleh," according to Jerusalem-based research institute NGO Monitor. 

"The timing of the B'Tselem report suggests that the objective is to undermine the policies of the democratically elected government of Israel," noted Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor. "Along with Adalah, Mossawa, Yesh Din, CWP, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), and other members of the NIF network, B'Tselem is perpetuating the myth that these protests are non-violent."

In its report, B'Tselem alleges that "security forces denied the residents their right to protest the infringement of their rights, and completely prohibited them from demonstrating...even in the absence of any violent act by the demonstrators." To match its political aims, this NGO also claimed that "forces made excessive use of crowd control measures."

NGO Monitor notes that, in addition to this B'Tselem publication, ACRI sent an open letter (to generate publicity) in August to Defense Minister Ehud Barak alleging that "military legislation governing protests and demonstrations in the West Bank denies Palestinian residents the right to demonstrate." Similarly, ACRI and Adalah published a joint letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu, the Minister of Internal Security, and the Chief of Police entitled "Police Preparation for the Expected September Demonstrations" (August 28). And, in June 2011, Mossawa released an inflammatory statement condemning Israel for preparing for possible violence in September, satirically entitled "Mossawa Center calls [on Israel] not to send security forces to train in Daraa [Syria] and Tripoli." The comparison between Israel and the regimes of Assad and Qaddafi is particularly odious.

In addition, Yesh Din, Adalah, Physicians for Human Rights - Israel, Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP), and the Public Committee against Torture in Israel (PCATI) are hosting a "Lawyers workshop for representing arrested demonstrators" on September 15, 2011. This workshop, run by NIF-funded groups, is being held in order to counter an alleged policy of "police repression of demonstrators."

"The aim of these statements and activities is to constrain the Israeli government, and distort the legitimate responses to violence, by painting these actions as non-violent. In actuality, extensive evidence shows that many of these confrontations, such as in Bilin, Nilin, and Nabi Saleh, include significant acts of violence by protesters," continued Steinberg. "If the planned demonstrations include or exceed these levels of violence , or that of the 'Nakba' and 'Naksa' riots of earlier this year, Israeli security services are required to act to protect civilians from injury."   

"NGOs claiming to promote human rights and the rule of law are wrong to erase the very real threats to public safety and human life," said Steinberg. "In media campaigns pre-condemning the Israeli response, the NIF network is attempting to handcuff Israeli security forces."  

Examples of this campaign:

  • On September 12, 2011 B'Tselem published a report titled "Show of Force Israeli Military Conduct in Weekly Demonstrations in a-Nabi Saleh."
  • ACRI sent a letter to defense Minister Ehud Barak titled "The Proper Security Forces Preparation for Expected Palestinian Protests and Rallies in September" (August 8, 2011).
  • ACRI and Adalah sent a joint letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu, the minister of interior security and the chief of police titled "Police Preparation for the Expected September Demonstrations" (August 28, 2011).
  • Yesh Din, Adalah, Physicians for Human Rights - Israel, Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP), and the Public Committee against Torture in Israel (PCATI) are hosting a "Lawyers workshop for representing arrested demonstrators" on September 15, 2011.
  • "Mossawa Center calls [on Israel] not to send security forces to train in Daraa and Tripoli" (June 14, 2011).