07 March 2005
ICAHD - EU FUNDING FOR ONE-MAN NGO PROMOTING EXTREMIST ANTI-ISRAEL AGENDA
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Summary: The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions
itself as "a non-violent, direct-action group originally established
to oppose and resist Israeli demolition of Palestinian houses in
the Occupied Territories." In reality, this is a well-funded blatantly
political and ideological one-man NGO, which couches its radical
anti-Israel agenda and demonization in the rhetoric of human rights.
ICAHD's "coordinator", Jeff Halper, routinely uses terms such as
"apartheid" and "war crimes" to refer to Israeli policy against
Palestinian terror, supports a "one state solution", and advocates
sanctions and boycotts. Criticism of Israeli responses to terror,
including house destruction, is a minor theme in this agenda. Initially
but no longer supported by the Ford Foundation and the New Israel
Fund, the main funding has come from the European Union. Updated
details are not available, as neither the EU nor ICAHD practice
Report: The ICAHD claims
to be "comprised of members of many Israeli peace and human rights
organizations. All of our work in the Occupied Territories is closely
coordinated with local Palestinian organizations." The ICAHD's aims
include: "resistance and protest actions in the Occupied Territories;
efforts to bring the reality of the Occupation to Israeli society;
and mobilizing the international community for a just peace."
to Halper, the ICAHD "gets its funding both from donations-we
have worldwide campaigns-for rebuilding homes, we also get the funding
from the European Union and we have funding from other projects,
from other NGOs, such as Christian Aid, for example and other groups."
Former EU Commission representative in Israel, Ambassador Chevallard
also told a meeting of Euro MPs of the EU's funding for this organization.
ICAHD's filings with the Israeli government (Rasham Ha'amutuot)
for 2002 (the 2003 report has yet to be submitted), show that the
organization received over 500,000 shekels ($116,000) from the EU
and other sources although the details of these sources were absent.
The minutes of a 29 September 1999 meeting of the European Commission’s “Ad-hoc Selection Committee for People to People / Permanent Status Issues”, however, records the approval of a €250,000 EC grant to the ICAHD. This amounted to 65% of a proposal for a “joint Israeli-Palestinian public awareness campaign and concrete action against the practice of land expropriation and house demolitions by the Israeli army in the West Bank.” According to the EC notes, the “People to People-Permanent Status Issues” (PTP) program “finances activities aimed at fostering civil society cooperation”.
With these EU funds, and in pursuit of "mobilizing the international
community", Halper has traveled extensively promoting his ideological
agenda. Indeed on a 23
November 2003 appearance before a UK Parliament Select Committee
on International Development, Halper stated: "We are a political
organization. We oppose the occupation, period." Halper's particular
political extremism is evident in his many publications, media appearances
and speeches at international conferences.
Defending and justifying terrorism
While expressing his opposition to terrorism, Halper repeats
the standard immoral equivalency between Israeli actions and
Palestinian terror, claiming: "If the Palestinians are forbidden
to engage in terrorism, so too is Israel forbidden to employ the
two forms of terror implicit in the Occupation and the measures
required to maintain it: systematic and massive violations of the
Fourth Geneva Convention protecting civilians living under occupation;
and state terror embodied in Israel's indiscriminate attacks on
civilian populations." Referring to "the legitimate resistance of
oppressed peoples", Halper claims that: "Cruel as it is, this "terrorism
from below" is small-scale when compared with the massive "terrorism
from above" of states." Further justifying terror he continues:
"The Palestinians' need to resort to terrorism raises questions
of fundamental fairness. One cannot expect a people to suffer oppression
forever, to abrogate their own human rights in favor of those of
inflammatory and even racist characterizations, Halper places
all responsibility and blame for the situation on Israel, claiming
they "just don't give a damn. They make everyone else a non-issue.
They see themselves as the victim, and if you're the victim, you're
not responsible for anything you do."
Demonizing Israel as an "apartheid" state
frequently refers to Israel as an "apartheid" state. For example,
in a paper given at the United Nations International Conference
on Civil Society in Support of the Palestinian People in New York
on Sept. 5, 2003, he wrote "Israel has entered in the last phase
of fully and finally incorporating the West Bank into Israel proper,
of transforming a temporary occupation into a permanent state of
he claims that "we, as members of the international civil society
must be prepared to fight Israeli apartheid, just as we led the
struggle against apartheid in South Africa".
Following the infamous NGO Declaration at the 2001
Durban conference, Halper
declared that it "spoke more unequivocally about colonialism
and foreign occupation". "A basic 'root cause' of Israel's ongoing
and systematic human rights violations, including its grave breaches
of the Fourth Geneva Convention 1949...is Israel's brand of apartheid.""
Halper's language of demonization frequently includes charges of
war crimes. Thus,
he declared, "Israel's razing of houses in Rafah is clearly
a war crime" and "may be likened to rape".
Advocating a one-state solution
Going beyond many NGOs that use
human rights claims to oppose Israeli policy, Halper
has expressed his desire to see the end of Israel as a Jewish state.
For example, he notes that "A Jewish state has proven politically
and, in the end, morally untenable" and "The "two-state" solution
envisioned by all Israeli governments since 1967...is simply unacceptable".
Halper goes further, declaring that "The stage is thus set for the
next phase of the struggle for a just resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict: an international campaign for a single state" and that
"our slogan in the post-road map period will be that of the South
Africans' struggle against apartheid: One Person, One Vote."
Support for sanctions and boycotts
During an October 2004 speech
in Utah, Halper "called
for sanctions against Israel, saying that is a method to try
to force Israel to end the occupation. Israeli sports teams should
be banned from competitions and military assistance to Israel should
end, he said. "These are sanctions on Israel until it gives up its
occupation."" Halper has also lent his support to the campaign calling
for a boycott of the Caterpillar company, calling Israel's actions
"state terrorism" on the Stop Caterpillar website. (Human Rights
Watch has also focused on pressuring
Caterpillar to boycott Israel).
From the BBC to the UN: Halper’s anti-Israel propaganda campaign
Jeff Halper's extreme views could be dismissed as belonging on the
fringe of the political spectrum with no impact were it not for
his extensive appearances in the media and at international conferences
that provide a platform and the facade of credibility. Halper
has spoken at the UN International Conference of Civil Society
in Support of the Palestinian People, September 2002, entitled "End
the Occupation!", along with other core anti-Israel activists such
Galand from Belgium, Phyllis Bennis, and Adam Shapiro of the
Solidarity Movement. Halper also presented
his paper at the September 2003 UN conference advocating a single-state
solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Halper has also addressed many smaller gatherings, particularly
in the US and UK, most recently, for example, at the Exeter (UK)
branch of the Palestine
Solidarity Campaign on 7 February 2005 as well as appearing
on BBC World Service radio on 18 February 2005 in response to Israel's
decision to stop housing demolitions. Halper, despite the new political
situation and change of policy still claimed that "Israel's policy
of house demolitions - this is what should be emphasized - has nothing
to do with security. It has to do with Israel taking the land and
trying to break the will of the Palestinians to resist its occupation."
Thus, the evidence clearly demonstrates that Jeff Halper is a political extremist whose one-man NGO is also a one-theme anti-Israel organization. Furthermore, by funding this activity and giving Halper credibility, the European Union as well as partner groups, such as Christian Aid, are clearly promoting the demonization and delegitimization of Israel, as well as the campaign to brand Israel as an "apartheid state", and to replace a two-state political model with the elimination of Israel.