BDS IN THE PEWS
Alternative Information Center (AIC) Profile
June 04, 2009
- The Alternative Information Center (AIC) is a radical political organization founded by members of the Trotskyite anti-Zionist Revolutionary Communist League (Matzpen).
- Funders include: Diakonia (Swedish government), Christian Aid (UK), Mundubat (Spain), and Sodepau (Catalan government in Spain).
- Michael Warschawski accuses Israel of being a “settlers' colonial state” and supports the imposition of sanctions because it “can provide an excellent framework to fight normalization with Israel.” He has written that Israel has “put itself . . . outside the community of civilized countries.”
- Nassar Ibrahim, former editor of the PFLP terror group’s weekly publication, refers to “Israel’s colonial strategies of ethnic cleansing, systematic segregation, the denial of basic civil and human rights and the erasing of Palestinians from history.”
- One AIC publication claims, “Shimon Peres is definitely an enemy of the Palestinian people, of human rights and of peace, and any kind of collaboration by a Palestinian organization with the Peres Center is scandalous...”
- Other rhetoric includes: “Only the choice of resistance can put an end to the occupation. Fighting and negotiating together”; “[Israel is a] colonialist state”; “Barak and the rest of them – to Nuremberg!”
This is part 1 in a 4-part series on Swedish government funding for NGOs active in the Arab-Israeli conflict. On July 1, 2009, Sweden will assume the presidency of the European Union.
- Founded in 1984 by activists in the anti-Zionist Revolutionary Communist League (Matzpen), AIC claims to be “an internationally oriented, progressive, joint Palestinian-Israeli activist organization. It is engaged in dissemination of information, political advocacy, grassroots activism and critical analysis of the Palestinian and Israeli societies as well as the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.” In practice, AIC’s radical activities and the extreme political views of its leadership foment conflict in the region.
- Funders include: Diakonia, using money from the Swedish government (1.5 million Swedish Kroner in 2007-9); Christian Aid, with money from the Irish government (329,000 NIS in 2006); NGO PTM – Mundubat (Spain), which accuses Israel of “genocide” (1 million NIS in 2006); and Sodepau (support from the Catalan government), an NGO that employs “apartheid” and Nazi rhetoric (200,000 NIS in 2006).
- Endorsed the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) National Committee’s Strategy Position Paper for the Durban Review Conference, which accused Israel of “apartheid, colonization, and occupation.” This paper also calls for “holding to account those responsible, in particular the State of Israel, its organs and agents [i.e. World Zionist Organization, Jewish Agency, Jewish National Fund],” for “massive violation[s] of human rights and war crimes.”
- Co-founder Michael Warschawski was a leader in the Matzpen, the anti-Zionist Trotskyite organization prior to founding AIC with Palestinian activists. He was jailed in the 1990s for publishing a pamphlet for the PFLP terror group. Warshawski accuses Israel of being a “colonial settler state” and supports the imposition of sanctions because it “can provide an excellent framework to fight normalization with Israel”. He has written that Israel has “put itself . . . outside the community of civilized countries”.
- Policy Director Nassar Ibrahim is the former editor of El Hadaf, the PFLP’s weekly publication. He has referred to “Israel’s colonial strategies of ethnic cleansing, systematic segregation, the denial of basic civil and human rights and the erasing of Palestinians from history”; claims Israel is engaging in “genocide”; and argues that strategically, Palestinians should choose the “front of resistance” – as led by Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Fatah’s al-Aqsa Brigades, the PFLP, and other terror organizations.
- AIC activities include providing political commentaries via its website, promoting BDS (boycotts, divestment, and sanctions), organizing the “Apartheid Law Seminar,” and publishing four journals that advocate its policies.
Quotes from AIC Articles:
Rejection of peace, coexistence, and understanding:
- “It is politically unacceptable, and morally disgusting. Shimon Peres is definitely an enemy of the Palestinian people, of human rights and of peace, and any kind of collaboration by a Palestinian organization with the Peres Center is scandalous...The collaboration of Panorama with the Peres Center has been strongly and publicly denounced by PNGO, which represent the great majority of Palestinian civil society organizations...the fact that it is opening a breach in the national consensus within Palestinian civil society must be unequivocally denounced.” (Nassar Ibrahim, The Case against Palestinian Normalization with Israel, AIC, September 4, 2007)
- “One has to unequivocally reject the very idea (and existence) of a Jewish state, whatever will be its borders.” (Michael Warschawski, The Haifa Conference for the Right of Return, June 2008)
- “...the fanfare about putting three poems of Mahmoud Darwish in the education curriculum is hypocritical and insolent. In the current situation, this decision serves as a fig leaf to cover the ongoing silence of the Zionist left in matters of principle. This is an ugly exploitation of Palestinian poetry, which comes at the expense of opposition to Israeli measures which will very soon even defeat the poetry.” (Don’t) Teach Mahmoud Darwish, AIC, August 11, 2008)
- “[Author and Peace Now activist] Grossman conspires in these original war crimes by prefering to hold on to what Israel has, or even extend it further, rather than confront the genuinely painful truth of his responsibility for the fate of the Palestinians, including the hundreds of thousands of refugees and the millions of their descendants. Every day that Grossman denies a Right of Return for the Palestinians, even as he supports a Law of Return for the Jews, he excuses and maintains the act of ethnic cleansing that dispossessed the Palestinian refugees more than half a century ago...They will also have no response if the tide on the Palestinian street turns against the two-state mirage offered by Oslo.” (Jonathan Cook, Hollow visions of Palestines future: Peace will need more that David Grossman or Uri Avnery, November 19, 2006)
Post-colonial and “apartheid” rhetoric:
- “The most urgent regional task is to find a just solution to the century-old colonial conflict in Palestine and confront the ongoing Israeli occupation-regime within its international framework.” (AIC Mission Statement)
- “‘To etch in the consciousness’ is the goal of every colonial operation and this time also [in the Gaza war], as in Operation Defensive Shield [in 2002], the Israeli strategists wanted to etch in the Palestinian consciousness." (Michael Warschawski, Israeli Attacks on Gaza: Both Reckless and Failed, AIC, January 23, 2009)
- “This killing, this slaughter happening in Gaza, has a long history behind it. It starts with the colonial relations between Jews and Palestinians in this land that began years before the establishment of Israel…The root of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was and remains to this day the relations between the occupier and the occupied; the oppressor and the oppressed; the colonialist and the indigenous.” (Shmuel Amir, The Gaza War: In the Context of Other Colonialist Military Campaigns, Hagadah Hasmalit, translation by AIC, January 14, 2009)
- “Once again, Europe has decided punish the victim, the Palestinian people, and to gift Israel’s apartheid regime… Europe’s decision to upgrade its relations with the state of Israel and to award its apartheid regime is unsurprising… Today, what remains of the communist parties adjusts to Islamophobic Europe and hesitates on Israel’s apartheid. There is no more room for hesitation, for abstract dreams about peace and coexistence. Are you for apartheid or are you against it?” (Sergio Yahni, Shame on Europe: The Upgrade in EU-Israel Relations Voids the Substance of the International Legal System, AIC, December 10, 2008)
Comparing Israelis and Nazis:
- “Ehud Barak, Tzipi Livni, Gabi Ashkenazi and Ehud Olmert--don’t you dare show your faces at any memorial ceremony for the heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto, Lublin, Vilna or Kishinev… You are not representing any continuity with the Warsaw Ghetto, because today the Warsaw Ghetto is right in front of you, targeted by your own tanks and artillery, and its name is Gaza… Together with tens of thousands of other Jews…we are warning you: don't dare to speak in our names, because we will run after you, even, if needed, to the hell of war-criminals, and stuff your words down your throat until you ask for forgiveness for having mixed us up with your crimes.” (Michael Warschawski, Absolutely Not in Their Name, Not in Ours, AIC, January 18, 2009)
- “Their crimes are definitely not less horrible than the ones that brought Milosevic and his generals to an international war crimes tribunal. The Alternative Information Center has decided to join the call of one hundred civil organizations from all over the world demanding the opening of a procedure by the International Court of Justice in the Hague… BARAK & all the rest of them—TO NUREMBERG!” (Michael Warschawski, Barak and all Israeli Leaders—To the Hague, AIC, January 15, 2009)
Demonization: war crimes, massacre, genocide, ethnic cleansing
- “The AIC calls on social movements throughout the world to mobilize against these Israeli war crimes and demands that the international community implement sanctions against Israel and indict Tzipi Livni, Ehud Barak and other Israeli political and military leadership for these blatant war crimes, committed as part of Israel’s election process.” (AIC Condemns Deadly Attacks on Gaza, Calls for Civil Society Mobilization, International Sanctions, AIC, December 27, 2009)
- “This war of extermination can be easily described as a genocidal war: it is not a clash with a guerrilla organization aimed at achieving a conventional victory, but to carry on a genocide that exterminate the political framework of the resistance.” (We are facing a genocidal war, Interview with Sergio Yahni, AIC program director, January 23, 2009)
- “The international community has given a green light to the state of Israel to massacre hundreds of Palestinian women, men and children in order to protect human rights from Islam in Gaza, as it is doing in Afghanistan and in Iraq.” (Michael Warschawski, International Intervention Now!, December 31, 2009)
- “…the State of Israel is conducting a rampant genocide against the people of Gaza, using the weapon of almost-starvation, electricity cuts and deprivation of drinking water, provoking epidemics and preventing basic health-care.” (Michael Warschawski, Sanctions Now – Upgrading Hell No!, AIC, December 2008)
- “They have revealed the true face of Israel; a racist state whose aim, carried out through its policies of land confiscation, is to ethnically cleanse the land of all Palestinians, including Palestinians who are now citizens of Israel...In 2009, everybody knows well what happened: War Against Gaza, Settlements Expansion, Displacement Policy, Home Demolishing, Land Confiscation, Assassination policy, Detentions, etc. All of these point to the same conclusion: while the occupation continues its policy of ethnic cleansing, Palestinians will continue to struggle for their land and their rights.” (Ahmad Jaradat, Israel’s Ethnic Cleansing Policy and Land Day: Palestinian Uprising and Resistance, AIC, March 30, 2009)
Denying the immorality of terrorism
- “There exists no legal basis for the categorization of Dawyyat’s actions [in his bulldozer attack] as terror… the Israeli government exploits yesterday’s tragedy in order to further develop a political offensive against the Palestinian population of Jerusalem.” (For Political Expediency, Israel Defines Criminal Attack in Jerusalem as Terrorist Despite Evidence, AIC, July 3, 2008.) [Dawyyat used his bulldozer to deliberately kill three Israeli civilians and wound scores more.]
- “In the Israeli imagination, Samir Kuntar assassinated Einat Haran by smashing her head. However, Kuntar’s file, which was declassified only three days ago, makes different claims.” (Israel-Hezbollah Prisoner Exchange: Insecurity Grows in the Middle East, AIC, July 16, 2008.) [The article was accompanied by a picture of Kuntar in an heroic pose.]
- Supported Al-Haq’s Shawan Jabarin, who was refused travel visas based on his alleged ties to the PFLP. (Israeli High Court Must Lift the Travel Ban on Palestinian Activist Shawan Jabarin, AIC, July 2, 2008)
- “Only the choice of resistance can put an end to the occupation. Fighting and negotiating together.” (Interview with Nassar Ibrahim, "‘Resistance Should be our Strategic Choice’ An Analysis of the Palestinian Political Situation in the Wake of the Gaza Attack," January 19, 2009)
AIC at the UN
- “When that official recognition [of the rights of the Palestinian people] had finally arrived, the world had turned from decolonization to recolonization by defining a new enemy…a new strategy had been needed and the Palestinians had been targeted.” (Michael Warschawski, UN International Conference of Civil Society in support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace, August 2007)
- “…political activist Michael Warschawski began asserting conspiracy theories about a group of white Europeans seeking world domination. He portrayed Durban I as “the last chapter of a long anti-colonialist fight.” This struggle to combat “the values put forward by the neoconservative strategists and warlords” is being pulled back in the present review conference, he said. Mr. Warschawski then asserted that the purpose of Israel’s security barrier is actually to “re-colonize Palestine and the Arab World.”…Later, he called the Israeli Prime Minister a “fascist.” (Durban Review Conference, U.N. side event gives platform to anti-Zionist conspiracy theorist, UN Watch Blog, April 24, 2009)