Head of New Israel Fund-supported group called Israel ‘apartheid regime’

The logo of the Human Rights Defenders Fund. Credit:  Human Rights Defenders Fund.

(JNS.org) New research shows that the head of the Human Rights Defenders Fund (HRDF), a controversial Israeli NGO supported by the New Israel Fund (NIF), has called Israel an “apartheid regime” and has ties with the global movement to boycott the Jewish state.

In a newly released factsheet on the group, the watchdog group NGO Monitor says the executive director of HRDF, Alma Biblash, has made statements referring to Israel as “racist” and “murderous” and has called for “dismantling the Israeli apartheid regime.” Biblash was formerly an activist with the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement, which advocates for Arab residents of Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.

The HRDF, founded in 2011, says it assists “human rights defenders struggling to finance legal actions.” NGO Monitor says that HRDF received approximately $260,000 in funding from NIF from 2011-2013. 

Founded in 1979, NIF describes itself as “the leading organization committed to democratic change within Israel” by advocating for civil and human rights in Israel and opposing Israeli policies in the Palestinian territories. While NIF states that it opposes the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, the organization has come under fire for providing support to groups that promote BDS.

“HRDF is a stark example of the irresponsible role of donors to destructive NGOs,” Professor Gerald Steinberg, founder and president of NGO Monitor, told JNS.org.

“While the leaders of the New Israel Fund and the European governments claim to support Israel and human rights principles, they enable the highly destructive activities that do the opposite,” he said. “By the time these funders acknowledge this failure and end their support, the damage will be done.”

Posted on October 29, 2014 .