Israel, Reverse Your Decision to Deny Visa for Human Rights Watch Researcher

RELEASE DATE: February 24, 2017

T’ruah calls on Israel to reverse its decision to deny a work visa to a Human Rights Watch researcher. A respected human rights organization that operates in 90 countries, Human Rights Watch performs the necessary function of monitoring government activities that violate human rights. Human Rights Watch has previously shown its commitment to rising above politics by criticizing the human rights record of both Israel and of the Palestinian leadership, including Hamas.

With this decision, Israel follows the unfortunate example of North Korea, Uzbekistan, and Congo, rather than that of other democracies, which understand that the flourishing of a human rights sector is essential to democracy.

Multiple times in the Bible, kings reject prophecy that criticizes the actions of the kingdom. When summoning the prophet Michayhu to advise for advice about going to war, King Ahab’s messenger instructs the prophet to “speak a favorable word.” Instead, Michayhu tells the truth, and Ahab throws him in prison and enters an ill-advised battle that leaves the king dead. Today, human rights and civil society groups play a prophetic role, even if their words may not be ones governments want to hear. The Israeli government should welcome Human Rights Watch and other such groups as voices that will ultimately push us toward justice and life.