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
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
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.