Al-Shabaka-The Palestinian Policy Network
|Founded||2010 as a “think tank without borders… whose mission is to educate and foster public debate on Palestinian human rights and self-determination within the framework of international law.”|
|In their own words||“[d]raw upon the vast knowledge and experience of the Palestinian people, whether under occupation, in exile, or in Israel, so as to engage the broadest spectrum of perspectives in debate on policy and strategy” and “[c]ommunicate ideas and strategies on resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to… interested parties worldwide.”|
- Claims to be “fully funded through the contributions of its members and other Palestinian supporters of its mission and goals.” Does not publish financial reports, reflecting a lack of transparency and accountability.
- According to NGO Monitor research, Al Shabaka received $30,000 in 2013 from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
- Claims that the “opinions expressed in Al-Shabaka publications do not necessarily represent the views of the organization, the policy advisors or members, or its donors. Nor is Al-Shabaka responsible for any positions or actions by policy advisors or members in the network.” However, Al-Shabaka clearly promotes the Palestinian narrative of “the right of return,” the “Nakba,” the boycotts, divestments and sanctions (BDS) campaign, and regularly features writers who accuse Israel of “apartheid” and “ethnic cleansing” without featuring alternative views.
- Policy advisors include: Ameer Makhoul, convicted of spying for Hezbollah; Grace Said, organizer a major 2009 Sabeel conference in Washington, DC; Ali Abunimah, co-founder and executive director of Electronic Intifada; Omar Barghouti, co-founder of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI); Ingrid Jaradat Gassner, founding member of the BDS Campaign and co-founder and former director of Badil; Muhammad Jaradat, co-founder of Badil; and Issam Younis of Al-Mezan and the Gaza Community Mental Health Program.
- In July 2013, Al-Shabaka hosted a roundtable, “Political Agency For Palestinian Return,” promoting the Palestinian “right of return,” the boycotts, divestments and sanctions (BDS) campaign and accusing Israel of “apartheid,” “colonialism,” and “ethnic cleansing.” Roundtable rhetoric includes:
- Failure to recognize the existence of a Jewish state: “[T]here is a need to build consensus – among Palestinians first and foremost since it unfortunately does not yet exist – that Israel’s Zionist regime over Palestinians before and after 1948 is best described as a regime of colonialism and apartheid, and that in the 1967 areas colonialism and apartheid are practiced ‘under the guise of occupation.’”
- Lawfare and BDS: “[A] broad range of existing actions can and should be understood within the context of return. Such actions include the pursuit of civil rights in host countries, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns, spatial documentation and planning efforts, and possible new legal avenues via the ICC, in addition to direct return actions.”
- “Right of return” and demonizing rhetoric: “The fact that the Palestinians are victims of colonialism and apartheid further strengthens the right of return”; “[E]fforts for changing the balance of power by weakening and isolating Israel should be seen as efforts for refugee return.”
- Published a policy brief, “The Russell Tribunal on Palestine and the Question of Apartheid,” promoting the third international session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, a “kangaroo court” held November 5-6, 2011 in Cape Town, South Africa. The brief argued that the Tribunal “provide[d] carefully structured arguments…about the ways in which apartheid can be used to reframe the discourse around Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians” and noted that “It would be fitting if the South African people and government led the way in an international movement to pressure governments to amend their policies towards Israel and the Palestinians.”
- Omar Barghouti wrote a 2010 article, “BDS: A Global Movement for Freedom and Justice,” claiming that “BDS does indeed challenge Israel’s ‘essential nature.’” The article states that the Palestinian Civil Society Campaign for BDS against Israel was launched in response to “Zionist settler colonialism” and as a “qualitative new phase of resistance to Israel occupation, dispossession and apartheid against the indigenous people of Palestine.”
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