The Rabbis for Human Rights aims to educate Jews, especially Israeli citizens, that they bear a burden of moral responsibility in the area of human rights and civil liberties, especially in regard to Palestinian Arab population.

In a recent interview, the director of the Rabbis for Human Rights, Rabbi Arik Asherman recalled that he began his career in human rights as a student, when he helped organize student protests to boycott representatives of regimes that were oppressive of the human rights and civil liberties of their own people.

The context of Palestinian Arab civil rights and human rights today is that the five-year old Palestinian Authority now rules 96% of the Palestinian Arab population, with the state of Israel providing 63% of the funding for the operating budget of the Palestinian Authority. Israel also provides direct aid for the PA schools and PA security forces, while helping to facilitate aid from the US, Canada, the EU and other nations for the PA.

That means that Israeli citizens bear a heavy responsibility for everything that transpires within the PA.

Yet what epitomizes Israel’s human rights policy in this regard is that the Israeli government has facilitated a provisional Palestinian regime that remains devoid of human rights and civil liberties.

This is not coincidental nor happenstance. This policy occured with malice aforethought.

The late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin openly stated in the early stages of the Oslo process that Israel would establish a Palestinian Arab regime that would be devoid of human rights and civil lilberties. Bli bagatz vebli bitzelem were Rabin’s rallying call that formulated the Israeli attitude to the Palestinian entity in formation, declaring that Israel would establish a Palestinian Arab regime that would be devoid of human rights and civil liberties to the Arab population that would come under its control.

Where was the outcry of the Rabbis for Human Rights when Rabin announced such a policy? I recall no press conference convened by the Rabbis for Human Rights after Rabin announced such a policy. Only adulation for Rabin, before and after his death.

Yet after meeting with Arafat in 1995, Rabbi Asherman acknowleged that Arafat rejected the call of the Rabbis for Human Rights for improved human rights and civil liberties within the PA.

Previous to that, the letter sent to Arafat by the Rabbis for Human Rights in August, 1994 that objected to Arafat’s policy of executing Arabs who were too friendly to Israel was also rejected out of hand by the same Arafat.

Rabbi Asherman explained that the Rabbis for Human Rights addresses itself to the behavior of Israeli Jews, not to the behavior of Palestinian Arabs.

Since that is the case, how can the Rabbis for Human Rights continue to support the policies of the Israeli government to mandate that the Israeli taxpayer continue to finance an Arafat Pinochet regime?

How can the Rabbis for Human Rights support continued Israeli financing of the PA, when the PA announces support for legislation that declares the death penalty for anyone who sells land to a Jew in Jerusalem?

How can the Rabbis for Human Rights continue to support Israeli funding for PA humanitarian efforts, when the PA will provide little accountability for the funds that the PA receives?

How can the Rabbis for Human Rights not ask for a cessation of Israeli arms to the PA after a human rights group like LAW documented that tens of people have died due to the abuse of firearms since the establishment of the PA.

How can the Rabbis for Human rights not call for a cessation of aid to the PA when Arafat’s policies of summary execution and kidnapping of political opponents have been so widely documented?

How can the Rabbis for Human Rights not question Israel’s participation in the funding of UNRWA, which continues to force Palestinian Arab refugees to remain in the squalor of refugee camps, under the specious premise and promise of the right of return to homes that no longer exist? Is that not a violation of human rights of the worst degree?

It goes without saying that Israeli government complicity with PA and UNRWA policies that deny civil liberties and human rights to Palestinian Arabs should not be tolerated.

The sensitivity of the Rabbis for Human Rights for Palestinian Arab civil liberites is well understood and deserves much respect. Yet how can the Rabbis for Human Rights confuse respect for Palestinian human rights with continued Israeli taxpayer funding of the Palestinian Authority?

And considering the fact that many of the Rabbis for Human Rights happen to be American citzens, how can the Rabbis for Human Rights support continued American taxpayer funding for Arafat’s Pinochet regime?.

Following the concerns that I have mentioned about the relationship of the Rabbis for Human Rights to Israel’s policy of funding Palestinian Authority, despite the PA record on human rights and civil liberties towards Palestinian Arabs, the time has come to pose five questions concerning the actions of the Rabbis for Human Rights in relation to policies of the PA towards Jews.

The Palestinian Authority has adopted a policy of welcoming murderers within its midst and then freeing them. What is the reaction of the Rabbis for Human Rights to such a policy? Will the Rabbis for Human Rights convene a press conference and public forum to condemn such a policy?

The Palestinian Authority has introduced a new school curriculum that inculcates a new generation of Palestinian Arabs to make war on the Jewish state and on Zionism. This curriculum also denies the holocaust and portrays Israel asa a Nazi-like entity. The curriculum can be found on the website of the Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace, at www.edu.org.

What is the reaction of the Rabbis for Human Rights to such a policy? Will the Rabbis for Human Rights convene a press conference and public forum to condemn such a policy?

The Palestinian Authority refuses as a matter of policy to amleiorate the squalor of the UNRWA refugee camps, under the premise and promise of the “right of return”. What is the reaction of the Rabbis for Human Rights to such a policy? Will the Rabbis for Human Rights convene a press conference and public forum to condemn such a policy?

As matter of policy, Arafat continues to praise those Palestinian Arabs who have murdered Israelis.What is the reaction of the Rabbis for Human Rights to such a policy? Will the Rabbis for Human Rights convene a press conference and public forum to condemn such a policy?

On August 4, 1999, Arafat called for a Jihad to liberate all of Palestine and all of Jerusalem.What is the reaction of the Rabbis for Human Rights to such a policy? Will the Rabbis for Human Rights convene a press conference and public forum to condemn such a policy?

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