Tikun Olam: Tzedakah to Make Israel a Better Place
Tonight, I was thinking of a particular friend who has created over the past few decades a wonderful business that is almost perfectly attuned to its community. It has provided well for his family and, I presume, enabled him to give generously to his local community, including the Jewish community.
I wrote to him an e mail which I hope he won’t find presumptuous. My motivation stemmed from the direness of the situation is in Israel. And from how great the need is to fight on behalf of Israeli democracy and combat the damage caused to it by Occupation and a rampant national security state. I can’t remember a time I felt Israel was in more jeopardy. I can’t remember a time when Israeli NGOs more needed support to combat the vicious effects of this right wing Netanyahu-Lieberman government.
I’ve made clear here in the past that I’ve lost any hope or confidence that the Israeli political system can offer any answers to Israel’s most profound war and peace issues. Nor do I believe that NGOs alone can solve Israel’s problems. But they are all that we have left. They are the teetering dyke that stands between a possible peaceful future and a catastrophic flood of ultra-nationalism and hate. As such, we owe them all the moral and financial support we can offer.
Not to mention the fact that Avigdor Lieberman has proposed draconian legislation that would limit the foreign funding any Israeli peace group could receive. This alone justifies offering the movement for justice and human rights all the support we can.
Such charitable giving is reinforced in Jewish traditions by the term, tzedakah. It means more than charity. It means a religious obligation to support causes and movements that bring justice to the world. If there is any place that needs justice right now, it’s Israel. And tzedakah compels us to do what we can to help.
Though this post is certainly meant for my regular readers, I’m hoping that someone reads this who has been as financially and otherwise blessed as my friend. Someone who may share my politics or not. But someone who feels some of the urgency I mentioned above. And who wants to invest as much of their wealth as they can in repairing the damaged land of Israel. I would welcome directing such individuals to groups like those below, and to do research on any peace group that might interest them. To promote such acts of tzedakah, I’d be delighted to help in any way necessary.
The groups in Israel and Palestine I recommend below are doing heroic work against all odds. You may or may not be aware of them. If at all possible, I hope you can devote consideration to their work. These organizations are all ones I know personally through their staff and through their cooperating with campaigns I’ve mounted here. If you give you may (or may not, as you choose) mention the blog as something that played a factor in your giving.
There are, of course, other groups doing good work in this field. But some of them are groups (like New Israel Fund, J Street and Peace Now) with which I have specific politicial, philosophical or moral disagreements and whose work I can’t endorse for inclusion on this list for that reason. There are also American Jewish groups fighting for peace and justice in Israel, but because of the urgency I wanted, with only one exception, to focus on groups working in Israel-Palestine.
The list is divided more or less according to the rubric of Israeli groups followed by Palestinian. I’m open of course to adding Palestinian groups since it’s a community whose NGOs I know less well.
Anarchists Against the Wall (donate) Israel’s leading group fighting against the Separation Wall through weekly protests that often end in violence perpetrated by the Israeli security forces against unarmed demonstrators who seek to prevent the theft of Palestinian land.
B’Tselem (donate) Israel’s leading human rights group which documents arbitrary arrests, shootings, settler violence, and IDF malfeasance.
HaMoked: Center for the Defense of the Individual (donate)
Gisha: Legal Center for Freedom of Movement (donate) The leading NGO working against Israel’s draconian system of checkpoints and arbitrary laws which impede freedom of movement for Palestinians.
Breaking the Silence (donate) An anti-Occupation Israeli combat veterans group seeking to expose the horrors of the military experience and its impact on Palestinians and Israelis.
Combatants for Peace A group of Israeli and Palestinian combat veterans who advocate against war and violence in their respective communities
Machsom Watch (donate) a movement of Israeli women who oppose the Israeli occupation and the denial of Palestinians’ rights to move freely in their land. It documents IDF violations of Palestinian human rights at military checkpoints.
Just Vision (donate) Creates films and other media projects that tell little-known stories of those employing non-violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It complements them with online educational tools and equips journalists, community leaders, educators, students and facilitators with content so they report on Palestinian and Israeli civilians working for freedom, dignity, security and peace.
Association for Civil Rights in Israel (donate) Israel’s largest, most prominent, and most mainstream human rights organization.
Taayush: Arab-Jewish Partnership (donate) Israelis & Palestinians striving to end the Israeli occupation and to achieve full civil equality through daily non-violent direct-action.
Yesh Din (donate) a group of Israelis seeking to defend the human rights of Palestinians under Israeli Occupation
Ir Amim (donate) dedicated to documenting Israeli encroachment on Palestinian neighborhoods in Jerusalem. Ir Amim wants Jerusalem to be a more viable and equitable city for the Israelis and Palestinians who share it. The group envisions a city that ensures the dignity and welfare of all its residents and that safeguards their holy places, as well as their historical and cultural heritages.
Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (donate) A human rights group working in the media and through the legal system to expose egregious instances of Israeli torture of Palestinian prisoners.
Yesh Gvul (donate) Israel’s leading NGO investigating potential IDF war crimes and advocating for Israeli accountability to the laws of war.
Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions (donate) An NGO that promotes awareness of Israel’s policy of destroying entire swaths of Palestinian homes for security and punitive purposes.
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (donate) Engaged in providing medical assistance and advocacy that advances human rights in Israel
Rabbis for Human Rights (donate) A group of Israeli rabbis who advocate for human rights based in the Jewish tradition
Parent’s Circle (donate) An organization whose members are survivors of those Palestinians and Israelis victims murdered in terror attacks.
Gush Shalom Uri Avnery’s peace group.
Women of the Wall (donate) Religious feminist group advocating equal treatment of men and women at the Western Wall holy site
Jewish Voice for Peace (donate) The leading American-Jewish group working to promote a just Israeli-Palestinian peace. It supports BDS and refuses to endorse either a two or one-state solution to the conflict.
Seruv (donate) An Israeli NGO which supports those who refuse to serve in the IDF on moral or religious grounds.
New Profile (donate) A feminist NGO encouraging military refusal and conscientious objection.
Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity (donate) supporters of Palestinian families evicted from their East Jerusalem homes by settler squatters and home thieves
Neve Shalom (donate) A cooperative community of Israeli Jews and Palestinians devoted to showing that the two people can live and build a thriving community together.
Mada al-Carmel (donate) A Palestinian social-science institute which documents the evils of Occupation and the inferior treatment of Israeli Palestinians within Israeli society. I particularly mention it because New Israel Fund specifically defunded Mada when they refused to adhere to NIF guidelines which demanded Palestinian NGOs not advocate for a one-state solution.
Adalah: the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel (donate)
Al Haq: Defending Human Rights in Palestine
Addameer: Prisoner Support and Human Rights Network (donate)
Al Mezan: Center for Human Rights (donate)
Badil: Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights
Palestinian Center for Human Rights (donate) Gaza-based human rights advocacy group
MIFTAH: (donate) The Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy
SABEEL: the Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center (donate) Canon Naim Ateek’s Episcopal movement seeking to apply the teaching of liberation theology to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
26 thoughts on “Tikun Olam: Tzedakah to Make Israel a Better Place – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
Comments are published at the sole discretion of the owner.
It’s nice of you to help raise money for groups you feel are worthy.
You may not recall, but less than two years ago Badil awarded a prize to a cartoon featuring a stereotypical caricature of a Jew holding a pitchfork dripping with blood standing over a dead Arab child.
This might not align with your vision of promoting peace, good will and understanding.
Until you provide any proof of your claim it’s bogus narischkeit.
Sorry. I should have provided a link:
Delightful. You take NGO Monitor as an arbiter of fact & truth? A group whose director was sued successfully for lying about the views of a Palestinian NGO & was forced to publicly confirm this on his own website??
Don’t ever link to that garbage site again here. Now provide a credible source to confirm your claim.
Your response shows a lot of hipocrisy.
The origin of the caricature is the Badil site itself (latter on, it was removed):
One can find a lot of more rubbish of the sort in http://badil.org/award2010/2010-winners
In fact I am a victim of the corrupt Israeli justice system, and I need help. But not from one like you.
I guess you killed one Arab too many.
The Swiss government froze its funding stream for Badil because it gave an award to a caricature of a Jewish man holding a blood-soaked pitchfork and keys while standing over a dead Arab child.
You write: ” They [NGOs] are the teetering dike that stands between a possible peaceful future and a catastrophic flood of ultra-nationalism and hate. As such, we owe them all the moral and financial support we can offer.”
Richard, you may be right — but only when Jewish action is viewed as taking place WITHIN a (greater) Jewish community (or within Israel).
I think you should ALSO consider what YOU do — calling out to the whole world (while also addressing Jewish communities).
What would happen, for instance, if a great part of the Jewish communities of (say) Germany made public statements calling on their country’s people and government to adopt a BDS-like attitude toward Israel until BDS-like goals were met — say, by way of BDS-like attitude, withdrawal of embassies and cessation of commercial air-traffic, and, say, by way of BDS-like goals, removal of all settlers and dismantling of the wall and all settlements and akll internal check-points, and ending the siege of Gaza.
What — I am asking — if Jews (who live in the world, as we all do, even those who live in Israel) took outward-directed actions (as well as inward-directed actions) to change Israel’s situation — its situation of automatic immunity and impunity w.r.t. its lawlessness in the OPTs and in war-making?
Definitely righteous to put some skin in the game. Good for Richard.
It looks like the organizations Richard suggests are devoted to dealing with the I/P quagmire. I hope the readers of richardsilverstein.com might also consider nonprofits that are actually doing good in the O/T. If I may, my personal favorite is
Teach for Palestine:
What we do
Teach for Palestine brings internationally trained teachers to the West Bank to work with kids. TFP’s holistic, interactive approach has proven effective in mentoring students and developing fluency. The average student at TFP acquires 350 new words and advances slightly more than one grade level in reading each semester. After their initial exposure to international teachers, student’s verbal fluency increases exponentially and continues to grow rapidly throughout the program. Moving beyond the classroom, our communicative and compassionate approach draws out and engages children who have suffered from violence, abuse and oppression the better part of their lives.
Why we do it
English is a necessity in the modern Palestinian economy. Foreign aid, trade, and international investment make up 90% of all economic activity in the West Bank. To access any of these sectors in a meaningful way requires the ability to communicate in English. Well paying careers paths that have the greatest potential to expand and develop the Palestinian economy, such as working in medicine, the sciences, and technology require degrees that are taught primarily in English. This means that most Palestinian students are unable to effectively access and contribute to these fields. English language skills are essential if they are going to have a chance to contribute to their country and build a better life for themselves and their children. Teach for Palestine is giving them that chance.
TFP serves the poorest neighborhoods, the Balata and Askar refugee camps and the villages around Nablus. In these areas unemployment is well over 80%. The majority of the information necessary to innovate, invent and create is primarily available in English. By giving our students access to that information, we give them access to opportunity.
my description above, “I hope the readers of richardsilverstein.com might also consider nonprofits that are actually doing good in the O/T.” is a bit of mis-speak —
all of the org’s on Richard’s list are doing good, much good; and I wish I was rich so I could give lots to all of them.
These are a lot of good groups you draw attention to. One does wonder how much more good work they could do with more resources. A critical part of this most important work, IMO, is to try and get the message through within Israeli society. Unfortunately, that society, as a whole, seems impervious to enlightenment regarding it’s own precipitous slide ever rightward. The reasons for sealing itself in it’s own misguided cocoon have been amply described by many, including you. But these days, given the dam of information out there, even steel reinforced walls can be penetrated. But that’s where resources come in because all information is not equally presented. Some parts of it take up so much oxygen that people just won’t tune into any other voice.
The NGOs you mention all operate on shoe-string budgets, as do many others not mentioned on this list that are in the O/T, the US, etc. All they have going for them is numbers and those are not large (maybe 50,000 max for all the I/P directed organizations combined? I suspect it’s less than that). I am convinced that were the messages disseminated more widely (which requires more monetary support for sure), there are a few more 10’s of 1000s that could be swayed to throw in their lot with the righteous. My estimate (a very personal one) is that i takes about 100,000 people to stand together on something to push through the apathy.
To get to that number your call for generosity is well placed. One can only hope that among the 1% there can be found that miniscule fraction who’d care enough to weigh in on the side of angels.
Golly not a single pro-Israel “charity” among the lot! Every single one of your “charitries” is a pro-terror anti-Israel anti-Semitic political group. So what should we conclude about your understanding of Tzedaka and other concepts of Judaism??
We should conclude that you’re a right-wing ultranationalist.
Wonder who Amalek is, these days….
Dont they get enough money from the New Israel Fund?
Idiot snark like this has gotten you moderated.
yet again i am truly shocked at your abusive language and frequently snide remarks. i so want to listen to what you say, but you make it very difficult. i was not brought up that way. if you want to make a difference, you have to lead by example. how can you profess love and peace and show so much hatred and anger?
Oh horse manure. You’re only the 15th commenter over some years who’s written virtually the same comment. You don’t agree with or care to listen to anything I write about here. The proof is you haven’t published comment here before & likely won’t again.
You actually think someone who snidely implies that New Israel Fund donates untold millions to these NGOs is a comment that deserves to be taken seriously?
Here is your proof.
NGO NIF Grants 2009 NIF Grants 2010 Difference Percent
Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) $603,250 $781,123 +$177,873 +29%
Adalah $55,400 $475,950 +420,550 +759%
Agenda $244,500 $587,000 +342,500 +140%
Al-Qaws $45,500 $58,110 +12,610 +27%
Al-Yeter $7,000 $104,000 +97,000 +1385%
Arab Forum for Sexuality $10,000 None -$10,000 -100%
Aswat $7,200 $42,300 +$35,100 +487%
B’Tselem $111,722 $368,832 +$257,110 +230%
Bimkom $449,000 $274,000 -$175,000 -38%
Breaking the Silence $49,000 $152,540 +$103,540 +211%
Coalition of Women for Peace $8,620 $20,130 +$11,510 +133%
Emek Shaveh $0 $2,500 +$2500 +100%
Gisha $4,350 $35,975 +$31,625 +727%
HaMoked $36,320 $208,300 +$171,980 +473%
Ikrit $5,000 $1,000 -$3,500 -70%
I’lam $159,500 $21,000 -$138,500 -86%
IPCRI $15,000 $18,942 +$3942 +26%
Israel Social TV (Syncopa Community) $47,500 $25,000 -$22,500 -47%
Ir Amim $154,800 $347,113 +$192,313 +124%
Machsom Watch (Women’s Fund for Human Rights) $39,500 $34,362 -$5,138 -13%
Mada Al-Carmel None $100,000
Mossawa $213,000 $92,625 -$120,375 -56%
Negev Coexistence Forum $7,500 $32,169 +$24,669 +328%
Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) $7,500 $30,000 +$22,500 +300%
PHR-I $178,182 $301,947 +$123,765 +69%
Rabbis for Human Rights $183,000 $90,915 -$92,085 -50%
Women Against Violence $322,000 $88,000 -$234,000 -72%
Yesh Din $42,850 $38,886 -$3,984 -9%
Total $3,007,194 $4,333,199 +$1,326,005 +44%
more details in http://www.ngo-monitor.org/article/changes_in_nif_funding_grants
Chag Sameach and best regards,
Why would you use NGO Monitor as your source? Look up above at a response from the owner of this blog to an earlier comment:
“You take NGO Monitor as an arbiter of fact & truth?…Don’t ever link to that garbage site again here.”
and to think that some people think that their horse manure doesn’t stink
I didn’t ask for proof of anything. But thanks for pointing out NGOs that NIF funds which I had omitted from my own list. I’ll be sure to add some of them since I find their work quite compelling.
What I found noxious in your first comment is the assumption that because NIF funds an NGO that this means it should need no further support from any other donor. This of course is a stupid notion. But further, i’ts a notion advanced by someone who detests both the NGOs themselves & NIF as well. Therefore, it turns your comment into insipid snark. Third, there are many NGOs in my list which are not on the NIF list. And finally, I have no idea what your point is other than implying that NIF is the font of evil when it comes to goading Israeli NGOs into their acts of terror or subversion or whatever idiocy you believe.
Finally, thanks for signing yourself “horse manure” so that we can attach the proper value to your contribution.
BTW, would you tell your friends at NGO Monitor that they should publicly list all their donors as almost all of these NGOs do. Until now, this moronic group, whose director was commanded by an Israeli court to publish a public apology to a Palestinian NGO for lying about & defaming it, has refused to be transparent about its own funding sources. When it does that, & when you tell me you’ve demanded that it do so, then we can take you a bit more seriously. Till then you are “horse manure” as is NGO Monitor.
Your making a difference, and the peace and justice movement for Israelis and Palestinians you have labored for is getting bigger and stronger by the day.
That’s the impetus for the maniacal attacks, because they know their not getting bigger and surely weaker with every passing day.
And, it is important for the new media to provide such information. So, Richard suggests readers consider contributions to the listed org’s (and some readers do not agree); but there’s also an important component of providing the information of these orgs.
Thanks very much!
What about the Jewish National Fund? Did you ever get one of those tree certificates back in the day?