Press Release: Physicians for Human Rights – Israel (PHRI) has been under attack by a right wing group named Reservists on Duty, which called for funding to be cut for National Service positions at PHRI.
The group also called for the cancellation of PHRI’s participation in a course entitled “Equality and Justice regarding Health in the South” run by the Beersheba Municipality.
Such attacks are yet another sign of the shrinking space available to civil society organizations which oppose the occupation.
PHRI currently doesn’t have National Service staff members, but such an option must remain available so that younger generations of Israelis are exposed to the struggle to secure basic human rights – the foundation of any solid democracy.
Moreover, the inclusion of voices like PHRI’s in initiatives such as those run by Beersheba Municipality are vital to ensure a critical discussion on the right to health.
As stated by Ran Goldstein, PHRI’s Executive Director, in response to the attack “Such attacks force us to turn our attention away from the real problems we are dealing with, such as the important gaps in health services between the periphery and the center of Israel”.
This attack forms part of a trend of intimidation and harassment of organizations and activists by both right wing organization and the government.
It follows on the heels of the recent efforts of right-wing Members of Knesset to deny PHRI of its’ tax exempt status. All these steps have the aim of undermining the legitimacy and efforts of those who are fighting against the occupation.
Dana Moss – International Advocacy Coordinator