We, human rights organizations from Israel, consider Israel’s refusal to allow Omar Shakir of Human Rights Watch (HRW) to enter the country a cause of grave concern. We stand in solidarity with him and our colleagues at HRW.
Israel seeks to portray itself as a card-carrying member of the club of democratic countries. Yet what is democracy without free speech, robust public debate and open criticism? A state that defines itself as democratic cannot turn its border control into a thought police.
Neither closing Israel’s borders to human rights organizations and activists nor other measures by the Israeli government against organizations that criticize the occupation will deter us from continuing to report human rights violations in the territories controlled by Israel. Attempts to silence the messenger will not suppress our message.
Adalah Center, Akevot, Amnesty International Israel, Bimkom, Breaking the Silence, B’Tselem, Coalition of Women for Peace, Emek Shaveh, Gisha, , Hamoked: Center for the Defense of the Individual, Haqel-Jews and Arabs in Defense of Human Rights, Human Rights Defenders Fund, ir amim, Machsom Watch, Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality, Physicians for Human Rights Israel, The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, Yesh Din