Ta'ayush, B'tselem, Human rights are optionalA few days ago, an Israeli investigative TV show (UVDA – ‘fact’) ran an expose that involved an Israeli infiltrating Ta’ayush, a NGO that promotes itself as ‘a grassroots movement of Arabs and Jews working to break down the walls of racism and segregation.’ The Israeli also encountered Nasser Nawajah, a member of B’tselem. These two NGO’s are cited as leading ‘human rights organisations’ whose self-stated purpose is highlighting alleged human rights abuse. Very few, if any, of the organised tours that set out to sell ‘the brutal Israel’ narrative do not involve engaging one or both of these movements.

The operation itself was simple, and involved riding with Ezra Nawi, an Israeli Jew and well known ‘peace activist’ from Ta’ayush, as he went about his daily business. The Israeli, using the pseudonym ‘Arik’, went on to capture on camera that these activists, senior members of B’tselem and Ta’ayush, have been informing on Arabs who wish to sell land to Jews. Nawi was recorded boasting that the Palestinian security forces would torture and execute those Palestinian land brokers and ‘take care’ of the Palestinian families willing to sell their land.

In itself, the action only highlighted what is already obvious, that some, if not many of the volunteers of the NGO’s operating in this area, are not ‘peace activists’ at all, but rather hate driven ideologues, who have taken sides in a difficult and complex situation. Their interference, rather than assisting, means many of these NGO’s have become an intractable and indivisible part of the conflict itself, perpetuating myths, spreading disinformation, feeding the anger and in turn, leading to more, rather than less violence.

The case seems pretty clear cut. An activist from Ta’ayush was approached by a Palestinian in the hope he will find Jewish buyers for a land owner that wanted to sell. Rather than follow through, Ezra Nawi contacts Nasser Nawajah, a friend in B’tselem to discuss what would be needed to hand this man over to the Palestinian security services. There are not many ways of looking at this, it is like someone from Amnesty International conspiring to trap an individual and then hand him over to the Chinese authorities, knowing what the Chinese do to those that oppose them. Any right minded individual would instantly condemn the action and no true peace activist would engage in them or protect those that do. But that is not what is happening with this latest event at all.

As soon as the show was broadcast, the backlash started. On the programme itself, Illana Dayan, the shows anchor, had invited Gideon Levy, a frequent commentator on human rights to respond, and rather surprisingly, Levy’s main concern seemed to be that the show had been broadcast at all. Levy has since written an article in Haaretz saying that the show ‘should be ashamed of the report it aired which depicted human rights activists as dangerous, while ignoring the occupation.’ Rather incredibly, Levy begins to suggest the entire piece is taken out of context and ending in rather dramatic and ironic fashion, he suggests that by highlighting these actions to the world, the show has done a disservice. Here is Gideon Levy publicly claiming that some people assisting human rights abuses should not be put on TV.

And Gideon Levy is far from alone. 972 Magazine, an online outlet that spends its entire existence knocking Israel and talking up human rights, suddenly becomes blind to actions that clearly contravene the UN’S Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Today (10/1) they ran a piece by Haggai Matar, attacking those who publicised the actions of the activists. Suddenly, when analysing the words of a man who seemed to be rejoicing at the violent fate that would befall the land seller, there is a ‘but’ and an ‘however’. Incredibly, the criticism is reserved for the source of the recording, rather than the men who conspired to perhaps have someone killed. It seems that for these left wing ‘moralist thinkers’ that when it comes to human rights, some people’s rights are more important than others.

These are not the only two examples. Ever since the broadcast, the show has been attacked endlessly from sources desperate to protect the image of the NGO’s, movements that propose their very raison d’être is to protect human rights. But it isn’t just those making noise that we should focus on, it is those remaining quiet. Groups who describe themselves as being on the far left of the political spectrum, those that frequently hide behind or use the material provided by these NGO’s have temporarily stopped posting and tweeting. They have nothing to say. Media outlets like the Guardian and Independent, who would have been banging down the doors if the situation was reversed, are ducking under cover until the furore dies down. They do not want to attack ‘their own’.

This isn’t to suggest NGO’s do not have a part to play, or to maintain Israel should treat NGO activity as hostile by default. Given the situation between Israel and the Palestinians, NGO’s should in theory be a welcome ‘checks and balances’ system between two sides of disproportionate power. But something is clearly very wrong in the situation as it now exists, and many NGO’s operating in this conflict have ‘taken sides’, in some cases have been overrun by actual combatants and they have almost all lost any internal compass as to what it is they are truly meant to be doing.

We have always known this hypocrisy existed. We are well aware that these groups, these media outlets, these individuals, work in unison and are driven by personal bias and hatred towards Israel rather than a true sympathy for the Palestinians. It would have been nice to see one, just one, stand up and give the unequivocal condemnation they always demand of others. Instead we are left with those attacking the messenger, weak attempts at diverting focus and an entire part of the political spectrum simply disappearing for a while. No, this is not a surprise, but it is solid evidence that the hatred we see directed towards Israel every day, is simply that, blind hatred. Hatred that emanates from a bunch of very vocal but equally morally deficient hypocrites. It is worth remembering that next time you see one of their reports.

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12 thoughts on “When human rights no longer matter to NGO’s

  1. I think you lost the moral high-ground as soon as you said that Israeli human rights NGOs are in general actuated by “personal bias and hatred towards Israel”. It’s just pathetic smearing.

    1. Oh Gabriel, I am not surprised that you cannot see that the very response to the shows expose highlights a problem exists. It isn’t something new to us, from UNWRA downwards, the compass of many (not all) of the NGO’s has long been lost.

        1. Gabriel, you have created a straw man argument and are now efficiently demolishing it. Well done. If you wish to pretend I have suggested all NGO’s are this way, that every activist is driven by hate and that there is no need for NGO’s given the situation – fine, go ahead. Except it is not what I have written at all. Why don’t you comment on what actually happened, the show, the expose and the actions of the two men from B’tselem and Ta’ayush. What did you think of that? Have you met them on your tours (if you have done them) with Yachad. I found an online diary that specifically states at least one of these men was part of a Yachad tour, how do you think he was introduced to those who were on the tour? I’d love your thoughts on it all. What do you think the two NGO’s should do with these men? If however you wish merely to go on destroying a straw man argument you’ve created – be my guest.

  2. Thank you for this article. Once again balanced coverage of an important issue that is more or less absent from western media.

    Just to pick at Gabriel’s straw man, perhaps he read “..*some*, if not many of the *volunteers of the NGO’s*…” as “NGOs […] in general”. It’s an easy mistake to make, I suppose, especially when you are desperately looking for a way to ignore the deadly implications of the actions of the so-called peace activists in question…

  3. FOR GABRIELLE

    Gabrielle, to give you a classic example of what these VERY anti-Israel NGOs are all about.

    2 years ago, on a New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies mission to Israel, it was decided it would be a good eye opener into the working of the mind’s of the far left, to have a session with Peace Now.

    Great idea.

    A friend asked

    “If you are so concerned about the plight of the ‘poor Palestinians’, how come you support BDS, after all these actions cause unemployment for them?”

    I hope you are seated..

    The answer was..

    “That is of no concern. It’s the end game which counts”

  4. http://www.algemeiner.com/2016/01/11/israeli-police-nab-leftist-activist-exposed-for-helping-pa-catch-torture-palestinians-selling-land-to-jews/

    Israeli police arrested a left-wing activist at Ben-Gurion International Airport as he was attempting to flee the country, the Hebrew press reported on Monday evening.

    His arrest came as Israeli law enforcement announced a probe of Ezra Nawi and his extreme left-wing organization Ta’ayush, which was exposed recently for having been ensnaring Palestinians in the West Bank attempting to sell their land to Jewish buyers.


    But the following is curious- exhibiting the ultra-left love of freedom of speech. For themselves:

    [Ilana Dayan’s “Uvda” program] host, Dayan, has since been criticized by many on the Israeli Left for producing the program, whose content was enabled by the infiltration of a right-wing provocateur group called “Ad Kan,” posing as Nawi sympathizers.

    In the program, Nawi is taped on a hidden camera openly admitting that the Palestinians he turns in – usually after entrapping them by pretending to be a prospective buyer – subsequently come to serious physical harm and even death.

    “There is no choice but to have the police investigate B’Tselem, Ta’ayush, Ezra Nawi and his partners,” Ad Kan said, according to Channel 2. “Such open and active cooperation with the Palestinian security services led to torture and suspicion of murder.”

    Meanwhile, according to Hebrew news site nrg, Ad Kan filed a formal police complaint for purported threats the group has received since Thursday’s “Uvda” broadcast.

  5. David I have your article thre times and I am not wholly clear. Could you sum up your charge against B’Tselem in two or three shortish sentences.

    1. As an FYI, I deleted a comment of yours on another blog simply because it was off topic. As you probably already know, I have no issue with any on topic post and don’t filter here. Just wanted to explain what happened if you see that post missing. As for your question, the blog is not directed towards B’tselem specifically although clearly one of their ‘people’ was involved in the actions raised by the show. As the blog was written after the news had broken (but just before the fire), I wrote about the reception the show received in certain circles. That was the focus, so I cannot really ‘sum up’ charges against B’tselem because there aren’t any really made here (not that I do not have issues with *some* of the group’s actions and members). I can say, that had I written the blog after the fire, it would have been much harsher. The reflex reaction against ‘the right’ for ‘causing’ and ‘inciting’ those behind ‘the arson’ was disgraceful.

      What made it worse were the attempts to condone this action after it became clear it wasn’t arson at all. One journalist on 972 said it was completely justified because of the constant incitement of the right. If we took her article and simply replaced the words ‘right wing’ with Muslim and ‘arson’ with terror attack, she would come across like a vile, xenophobic, Islamophobic, right wing radical excusing false accusations and attacks on Muslims because hey, there are lots of terror attacks around. She needs to look in a mirror. As do many of her friends.

      1. David, thanks for that. Just a couple of points. It is not clear at all that ” one of their ‘people’ was involved in the actions raised by the show”. It may become clear but at this point it isn’t, unless I have missed something. What is clear is that a nut job, walter Mitty type braggart has claimed that it is so. The said braggart has, as I understand it , been arrested trying to flee the country.

        As for your feelings about 972, EF, and similar, I don’t know who you are arguing with, but it isn’t me. This knee jerk, acnecdote trading, over egging, is an immense frustration, to the extent that I can’t bring myself to read the stuff anymore.

        Don’t worry about the deletion of the post. I am used to it and I don’t take offence. In fact I would say that I am impossible to offend. But in passing…..

        You presumably regard Shirl,s feminising of Gabriel’s name as on topic. If so then my inviting her to look into the mirror would be on topic too. Though obviously not the same mirror you would have the 972 journalist look into.

    1. Gabriel, That blog is a bit weak and I think you are missing the point. If criticism of Israel is allowable, then so too is criticism of these groups. Freedom doesn’t only apply to some sectors. If a trial in the court of public opinion is to take place, then transparency and accountability is demanded to allow for fair trial. It is only because you support the political ideas of these groups that you oppose all criticism of them. I doubt you would walk the streets to unban Kach. All that is happening is they are being placed under a microscope, the same microsscope they use to place upon others. As yet, beyond opposition and mud slinging, both ‘criticisms’ within the terms of ‘acceptable’ democracy, nothing has happened. The people are as entitled to criticise BTS as BTS is entitled to criticise the army. Waving your hands in the air around your head in hysteria as if this is the end of democratic Israel is simply absurd.

      Even tabling a motion in a parliament to ban bread isn’t undemocratic. Your understanding of democracy is flawed.

      As a side note I have a question for you. Imagine an apparent attack today and the perpetrators were unknown. If groups like the EDL then made statements saying it was Islamic terrorists without a doubt, because hey, it is always Islamic terrorists. If there were no evidence to suggest the identity of the perpetrators and indeed the police said it might ‘only be an attack’, but it could actually have happened by accident and even if it were an attack, the reason/identity/motive of the attackers is unknown.

      Would I be justified in rushing to publicly ask the Muslim Council of Britain for a statement condemning violence.

      Or would such a stance be a little racist, islamophobic and absolutely unnacceptable behaviour?

      I haven’t been following your posts long, but for me, that whole episode seriously undermines your entire political image. It was disgraceful. You need to look at yourself in the mirror.

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