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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 describes 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 transparency.

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."

According 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 others."

In highly 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

Halper 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 apartheid." Similarly, 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 as Pierre Galand from Belgium, Phyllis Bennis, and Adam Shapiro of the International 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.

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