BDS IN THE PEWS
April 28, 2014
- Website: www.bimkom.org, located in Jerusalem.
- An Israeli non-profit organization formed in 1999 “by a group of planners and architects, in order to strengthen democracy and human rights in the field of planning.”
- Claims to draw on “values of social justice, good governance, equality and community participation” to advance “the development of planning policies and practices that are more just and respectful of human rights, and responsive to the needs of local communities.”
- According to its website, Bimkom “conduct[s] research and write[s] reports whose findings we use to advocate vis-à-vis policy and decision makers, on the local and national level (government ministries, municipalities, the planning institutions, and the Civil Administration in the West Bank). We also take legal measures against inappropriate or discriminatory planning, when necessary.”
- Funding: 2012 annual income of NIS 3,859,517.
- Based on financial information submitted to the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits, received NIS 2,541,621 from foreign governmental bodies in 2013.
- Donors include: Oxfam-Novib (Netherlands), Holland, Norway, Ireland, European Union, Germany (GIZ), France, UN-Habitat, Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). (See detailed funding information below).
- Demonizing Rhetoric: Executive Director Hedva Radovanitz (who has worked with other advocacy groups including Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, and Shatil/ New Israel Fund-Israel) told U.S. embassy officials in February 2010 “that she believed that in 100 years Israel would be majority Arab and that the disappearance of a Jewish state would not be the tragedy that Israelis fear since it would become more democratic.” (emphasis added)
- In June 2012, Bimkom, along with ACRI, accused Israel of practicing “zoning Apartheid” in Area C of the West Bank.
- In an article in Haaretz about the African Migrant refugees in the South of Israel (June 19, 2012), Bimkom was quoted as comparing the refugee camps to “a huge concentration camp with harsh conditions.”
- Political Activity: Regularly criticizes Israeli planning policies and obstacles created by the security barrier, while completely omitting the context of terror.
- Petitions the Israeli courts to change government policy on issues such as spatial planning, planning procedures, and housing rights.
- Submitted a joint written statement to the Goldstone Commission (June 30, 2009) that failed to address alleged Hamas war crimes, “but rather offers our own distinct perspective – human rights violations for which Israel must be held accountable.” This NGO document made entirely speculative assertions about the motivation for the IDF operation against Hamas, claiming that “[t]o the extent that this was planned as a punitive operation which main purpose was not the achievement of actual military objectives, but the inflicting of deliberate damage as a deterrent and punitive measure” – despite their lacking requisite information to make such an assertion.
- In 2009, Bimkom, together with other NGOs, petitioned the Israeli Supreme Court against “collective punishment” in Gaza, alleging that Israel attacked medical teams and ambulances.
- Bedouin: In May 2013, UNRWA and Bimkom co-authored a report on the “plight” of Bedouin communities in Area C of the West Bank, saying: “With the occupation of the Gaza Strip and West Bank including East Jerusalem ongoing, and a durable solution to the Palestine refugee problem yet to be arrived at, the plight of the Jahalin Bedouin Palestine refugees in al Jabal reflects—albeit in a vastly less violent context—a number of the common elements of the Palestine refugee experience since 1948. These include: displacement from and dispossession of traditional territories and other properties… the dilution of traditional decision-making bodies; and friction over land, housing and property rights.” The report includes a quote comparing the move to al Jabal as “Our own mini Nakba.” (Click here to read more about how politicized NGOs exploit the issue of the Bedouin in the Negev to wage political warfare against Israel.)
- In December 2013, Noah Browning, writing for Reuters, presented factually inaccurate information released by Bimkom, which claimed that “Palestinians in and around Shuafat have lacked officially approved residential plans for over 45 years… meaning any construction since then is illegal and subject to possible demolition.” In reality, there are no restrictions preventing residents from submitting requests for building permits hundreds of legal residential units and public institutions have been built in the neighborhoods of Shuafat and Beit Hanina in recent years.
|Norwegian Refugee Council