Conservative Synagogue in New York Against Israel


Ronn Torossian

Right-minded Americans stand with Israel – as well as the Israel Defense Forces, a stalwart against radical terrorism.

Today in Israel there is a handful of NGOs representing “progressive” ideals that are largely funded by foreign governments. These NGOs are also funded by The Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (“Secretariat”), a Palestinian foundation that fiercely pushes an anti-Israel agenda. Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, and the Netherlands also help fund some of these NGOs through the Secretariat, and encourage those who engage in legal warfare against Israeli officials and companies that do business with Israel, promote BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns, advance a “1948 agenda,” exploit the false “apartheid” analogy to demonize Israel, and more.

Among these groups is Rabbis for Human Rights (RHR), which by any cursory examination appears to be just a progressive NGO supporting Israel, but from a left-leaning platform. When you look just under the surface, however, you see something more nefarious. It would seem that the human rights it supports are those only of Palestinians, and RHR’s work is primarily focused in Judea and Samaria, looking for Jewish acts against Arabs.

Rabbi Arik Ascherman, the head of RHR, recentlytried to mobilize people to participate in Palestinian provocations against the IDF and Israel. He wrote that he was looking for “volunteers willing to put themselves in dangerous situations.” RHR removed the Twitter post and their website call shortly after, but it remains cached on the Internet. Ascherman has previously been accused of raising funds for the PLO. The New Israel Fund has supported him with $1,206,361 between 2008 and 2014. Ascherman was convicted of interfering with the work of a police officer while resisting the destruction of a terrorist’s house. RHR also produced a film in 2013, Fiddler with no Roof, using the Jewish actor who played Tevye in The Fiddler on the Roof, Theodore Bikel, to compare Israel’s plan to resettle unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev to the expulsion of Jews by czarist Russia. They removed that video too

In 2010, the group accused Israel of “foul and discriminatory policies against Palestinians,” and of “forcing Palestinians to live in a completely separate universe where time has stood still, and prevents them from properly planning their most basic needs and infrastructure.”

Jewish Home Knesset member Zevulun Kalfa accused RHR of distributing anti-Semitic material, and has requested that group's abilities be limited on grounds of anti-Semitism. Kalfa argued that that the "comparison of the deportation and murder of Jews at the beginning of the century with the legal regulation of Bedouin settlement is an outrageous comparison, which is inappropriate and tainted by anti-Semitism."

Despite this work, Rabbi Gordon Tucker of the Temple Israel Center of White Plains, one of the largest conservative synagogues in America supports them. When it was previously revealed that this Rabbi offered discretionary funds from his synagogue to the New Israel Fund, he was telling only part of the story. Looking deeper into RHR’s funding, we know now that he also gave directly to Rabbis for Human Rights. He has been a member and fan of the group for awhile, has spoken out in support of the group, and has donated money.

Those who stand against Israel must be opposed.