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Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA)

Profile

Country/Territory
Websitehttp://www.aidajerusalem.squarespace.com/
In their own words“to strengthen the work of the international non-governmental organization community in the oPt in order to better address the rights of the Palestinian people. AIDA does this by being a collective voice of its members and representing their interests to key decision-makers, and by coordinating and facilitating exchange, learning and resource-sharing among its members.”

Funding

  • Does not publish financial information, reflecting a lack of transparency and accountability.
  • AIDA received CHF 450,000 (2016-2017) from Switzerland to “enhance the influence of international civil society actors to improve coordination, to promote joint strategic thinking and improve advocacy work, while using a rights-based and conflict-sensitive approach to humanitarian and development assistance.“
  • The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency pledges to “contribute funds of SEK 1 million for the support of the NGO platform International Association of Development Agencies (AIDA) through NRC [Norwegian Refugee Council]” in 2017-2019.

Activities

Political Advocacy

  • AIDA engages in international advocacy by acting as “a collective voice of its members and representing their interests to key decision makers.” As a result, policy makers often rely on AIDA’s inaccurate and unverifiable claims without consulting a variety of sources or Israeli perspectives.
  • Accuses Israel of “violations of international law,” “collective punishment,” “forcible population transfer plan,” and using “coercive tactics to heighten the pressure on Palestinian Bedouin communities.” These accusations are part of the broader NGO campaign to demonize and delegitimize Israel in the international arena.
  • Regularly places sole blame for the conflict on Israel, omitting Hamas terror against Israeli civilians, Palestinian rejectionism, and legitimate Israeli national security concerns.
  • In 2017, launched a campaign titled “#OpenGaza 50 Years Of Occupation. 10 Years Of Illegal Blockade” stating that “collective punishment of Palestinians in Gaza must end” and that “Gaza is an open air prison.”
  • In March 2017, AIDA called on the European Union, the United States, and the international community to condemn the “threatened demolition of Khan al Ahmar” (unauthorized village in Area C of the West Bank) and to “Demand from the Government of Israel to immediately cease its violations of international law and guarantee non-repetition or any further violations in the occupied Palestinian territory.”
  • In August 2015, AIDA launched a campaign to “highlight the displacement of Palestinians across the West Bank and Gaza Strip.” The campaign included a press release of 31 international organizations calling on “world leaders to take urgent action to halt ongoing demolitions and hold the government of Israel accountable for the wanton destruction of Palestinian property and of projects funded by international aid in the occupied West Bank,” as well as two infographics on “Displacement and Replacement…Separating Palestinians Across the West Bank” and “20 Years of Talks- Keeping Palestinians Occupied.”
  • Published an April 13, 2015 joint agency briefing paper titled “Charting a New Course: Overcoming the Stalemate in Gaza,” misrepresenting international law and distorting legal terminology to place primary blame for the 2014 Gaza war on Israel. The paper omits Hamas rocket attacks against Israeli civilians, as well as terror tunnels running beneath the border into Israel. The paper further encourages contact with Hamas, stating: “Restricted contact can undermine humanitarian access and implementation of humanitarian programmes…”
  • Organized a June 14, 2012 campaign to “End the Blockade Now,” accusing Israel of “violation[s] of international law.” Contrary to these claims, the naval blockade is a legal measure used to prevent the smuggling of weapons from Iran and Syria into Gaza by Palestinian terrorist organizations. The campaign “included a media blitz picked up by press from The New York Times to the Oman Observer, private lobbying, and supplying questions to European parliaments.”
  • Published a 2011 report, “Failing to Make the Grade: How the EU Can Pass Its Own Test and Work to Improve the Lives of Palestinians in Area C,” urging the EU to use “collective strength and political will” to “change conditions on the ground” in Area C. The report falsely accuses Israel of restricting “children’s access to education” and the Palestinian population’s “access to water.” As with other AIDA publications, the report presents a biased and distorted view of the conflict, grossly misrepresenting the facts, and omitting the context of Palestinian terrorism and internal Palestinian governance issues.

Members

  • Many of AIDA’s members are active in BDS and lawfare campaigns, and utilize the Durban strategy to demonize and isolate Israel in the international arena.
  • Members include:
    • American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)
      • AFSC is a leader of BDS campaigns on campuses and churches in the United States.
      • Dalit Baum, director of AFSC’s Middle East program, is co-founder of Coalition of Women for Peace’s flagship BDS project “Who Profits?” Baum lobbies international audiences on how best to promote the global BDS campaign against Israel. AFSC materials include an online investment screening tool aimed to “help individuals and institutions identify companies on their investment portfolios that are directly complicit in ongoing severe violations of human rights and international law.”
      • AFSC promotes “anti-normalization,” rejecting dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians.
    • Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI)
    • Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP)
    • Norwegian Refugee Council
      • Norwegian Refugee Council engages in lawfare and international delegitimization campaigns against Israel.
      • The Information, Counseling, and Legal Assistance (ICLA) project, one of the NRC’s principal projects in Israel, exploits judicial frameworks to manipulate Israeli policy, bypassing democratic frameworks.
        • ICLA’s interventions in Israeli courts and other venues “beneficiary targets” include: “3628 opened and continuing cases for legal assistance in the West Bank (West Bank 612 new and 3016 continuing), 40 advocacy briefings given on specific HLP and residency issues (verbal or written), 10 of instances information is submitted to other UN mechanisms, and 75 public interest cases challenging unjust HLP issues.”
      • A lawyer affiliated with the NRC program stated that the objective of these cases are an attempt to “try every possible legal measure to disrupt the Israeli judicial system… as many cases as possible are registered and that as many cases as possible are appealed to increase the workload of the courts and the Supreme Court to such an extent that there will be a blockage” (emphasis added).
    • Islamic Relief Worldwide
      • On June 19, 2014, Israel’s Defense Minister declared Islamic Relief Worldwide to be illegal, based on its alleged role in funneling money to Hamas, and banned it from operating in Israel and the West Bank. (Hamas is a designated terror organization by Israel, the U.S., EU, and Canada.) According to news reports, the decision was made after “the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), the coordinator for government activities in the territories, and legal authorities provided incriminating information against IRW.”
    • Norwegian Church Aid
      • Held campaign titled “Close the Weapons Loophole!” calling on Norwegian authorities to stop “sell[ing] weapons to Israel.”
      • On June 2, 2016, NCA was a signatory on a letter calling on the EU to “uphold its legal responsibilities and hold Israel accountable for its violations of international law and to defend the right of individuals and institutions to take part in the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for justice and equality.”
    • Norwegian People’s Aid
      • Played a central role in lobbying the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) to divest from Israeli companies “involved in building activities in the illegal settlements,” promoting distorted factual and legal claims.
      • In June 2016, NPA worked with the Norwegian Union of Municipal and General Employees (Fagforbundet) to publish a second draft of its May 2012 document, “Dangerous Liaisons,” which falsely alleged that Norwegian companies, through financial investments in Israel, are participating in international law and human rights abuses. The original document was cited as a central resource for the GPFG campaign, as well as other Norwegian BDS efforts. The document relies heavily upon Israeli BDS NGO Who Profits.
    • Mennonite Central Committee (MCC)
      • In March 2016, MCC asked for people to tell their members of Congress “not to add their names to legislation that encourages ignoring these [settlement building] indignities by blurring the line between Israel and the occupied territories. Urge them to support peace and justice for all peoples in the region, not the illegal settlements.”
      • In 2013, the MCC’s board of directors decided that it “will not knowingly invest in companies that benefit from products or services used to perpetrate acts of violence against Palestinians, Israelis and other people groups…the list names only companies that support Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.”
    • Oxfam GB
      • In August 2014, Richard Stanforth, Oxfam GB’s Regional Policy Advisor, stated that “Palestinian armed groups have fired rockets causing fear and panic in parts of Israel,” and stated that “the targeting of Israeli civilians is despicable, but the entire population of Gaza has been increasingly paying for the actions of just a few.”
      • In 2014, following the resignation of Scarlett Johannsen, an “Oxfam Ambassador,” Oxfam released a letter in the name of Mark Goldring, the Chief Executive of Oxfam GB, stating, “While Oxfam respects the independence of our ambassadors, Ms. Johansson’s role promoting the company SodaStream is incompatible with her role as an Oxfam Global Ambassador. Oxfam believes that businesses, such as SodaStream, that operate in settlements further the ongoing poverty and denial of rights of the Palestinian communities that we work to support. Oxfam is opposed to all trade from Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law.”
        • In response, Johannson released a statement that she and “Oxfam have a fundamental difference of opinion in regards to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement…I remain a supporter of economic cooperation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine.”
    • Other members include CARE International, Caritas, Catholic Relief Services, Dan Church Aid, Diakonia, HEKS-EPER, ICCO, Kvinna till Kvinna, Oxfam Novib, Save the Children, World Vision.

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