If there was ever a moment that captured the moral rot at the core of the human rights community, surely it is this new development: the Danish PL Foundation has awarded its annual human rights prize jointly to the Israeli group B’Tselem and to the Palestinian group Al Haq.
The award will be presented in Copenhagen a few days from now, but only Jessica Montell, the head of B’Tselem, will be on hand to receive it. The head of Al Haq, Shawan Jabarin, cannot fly to Europe, or in fact anywhere — because he is banned from travel by both Israel and Jordan owing to his extensive involvement with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, an infamous Palestinian terrorist group.
Remarkably, Montell will accept the award, and so proud is she to be sharing a prize with a terrorist that B’Tselem sent out a press release announcing it.
Al Haq, for its part, barely pretends to be interested in human rights. It advances spurious war crimes allegations against the Jewish state, promotes the worst kinds of anti-Israel (and anti-Semitic) activism, such as the Russell Tribunal and the Durban Conference, is deeply involved in the BDS and lawfare movements, and seeks the indictment of Israeli officials in European courts — goals, of course, often shared by Montell and B’Tselem.
The willingness of Montell to share an award with a terrorist is but a small window into the perverse world of the “human rights” community in Israel. The Palestinian groups specialize not in promoting peace and tolerance, but in attacking the legitimacy of Zionism and tarnishing Israel’s image in the world. Greatly enamored of international prosecutions of Israelis, I cannot recall a single instance in which one of the groups recommended the same treatment for a Palestinian. Tellingly, none of them takes a prominent stand against Palestinian terrorism or defends the human rights of Israelis not to be victims of attacks — and in the case of Al Haq, terrorism is in fact endorsed as legitimate “resistance.”
And they are joined, sadly, by groups such as B’Tselem, which call themselves Israeli, but cannot seem to find any actual Israelis willing to support them. They thus depend for their livelihood on donations from foreign governments and foundations. It is a profitable arrangement for everyone involved: the Europeans get a fig leaf of Israeli cover for the advancement of an anti-Israel agenda, and radicals such as Montell enjoy prominence they would never achieve without their careers being underwritten by foreign benefactors.
It is this state of affairs that the Knesset sought to begin addressing through recently-proposed NGO legislation. No other democracy would tolerate the flourishing of a foreign-funded political war against its legitimacy from within its own borders, and while the new bills have their shortcomings — and some do not deserve passage in their present form — the reasons they have been proposed are legitimate and serious. The Washington Post editorial page, normally a sober source of commentary on Israel, editorialized against these anti-NGO bills last week, specifically citing B’Tselem as an example of a foreign-funded group that only has Israel’s best interests at heart. The editorialists at the Post would do well to pay closer attention. Something has gone horribly wrong when the head of a human rights organization is proud to share a prize with a leader of a terrorist group.