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Avaaz

Profile

Country/TerritoryUnited States
Websitehttp://www.avaaz.org/en/about.php
Founded2007 by “Res Publica, a global civic advocacy group, and Moveon.org,” a George Soros-funded organization involved in ideological and political campaigns in the United States.
In their own wordsTo empower “millions of people from all walks of life to take action on pressing global, regional and national issues, from corruption and poverty to conflict and climate change.”

Funding

  • 2013 total revenue of $14,647,766 (accessed March 10, 2015).
  • Maintains that “Avaaz is wholly member-funded” and that “[n]o corporate sponsor or government backer can insist that Avaaz shift its priorities to suit some external agenda.”

Activities

  • Co-founder Ricken Patel also serves on the advisory board of lobby group J Street.
  • Campaigns in “15 languages, served by a core team on 6 continents and thousands of volunteers.”

Political Advocacy

  • Azaav is openly political: “Avaaz is very rare in that our donations are not tax deductible, leaving us 100% free to say and do whatever we need to to (sic) get leaders to listen to people. Since so many important issues are won and lost in the political realm, this makes us much more effective than advocacy groups that shy away from speaking out politically.”
  • Activities include “signing petitions, funding media campaigns and direct actions, emailing, calling and lobbying governments, and organizing ‘offline’ protests and events.”
  • Active on internal Israeli issues, including social protests, as well as topics related to the Arab-Israeli conflict, including recognition of a Palestinian state, protests over a Jewish presence in Sheikh Jarrah (East Jerusalem), boycotts, divestments and sanctions (BDS) campaigns, and conflict in Gaza.
  • Its petition on the 2014 Gaza War called on banks, businesses, and pension funds to divest funds from Israel. The petition claims: “The only way to stop this hellish cycle of Israel confiscating Palestinian lands, daily collective punishment of innocent Palestinian families…is to make the economic cost of this conflict too high to bear.” The petition accuses Israel of committing “war crimes,” targeting civilians, “occup[ying], colonis[ing], bomb[ing], raids” and  “creat[ing] the largest open-air prison in the world.”
    • In a highly ideological and distorted response to criticism of this campaign, Campaign Director Alice Jay claimed that “our campaign offers one of the few directions that can save Israel as we know it….Extremists on both sides (Including both Netanyahu and Hamas) are the true threat to the kind of peace that reasonable people seek.”
    • The statement also asserts, “To address the violence we need to address the decades long dispossession of the Palestinian people and the occupation of millions.”
    • Jay pretentiously concludes, “If you’re an Avaaz member outraged by our campaign, it’s possible that you’re a very good, socially conscious person that just does not know how awful the Israeli occupation, colonisation and repression of Palestinians has been.”
  • Initiated a 2011 campaign, “Palestine: the time is now,” aimed at pressuring the UK, France, and Germany to support a Palestinian bid for recognition by conducting protests outside EU offices and “run[ning] 3 urgent public opinion polls that clearly show these leaders that their people support recognition, and flood[ing] the media with full page ads.” The petition and accompanying video titled “Middle East Peace – The Real Story” promote the Palestinian narrative, claiming that “US-led peace initiatives have failed for decades, while Israel has confined the Palestinian people, confiscated their lands and blocked Palestine from becoming a sovereign political entity.” While Avaaz’s PR initiative on statehood was uncritically cited by numerous media outlets, an independent analysis expressed concerns that this represents “astroturfing” – “the manufacture of fake ‘grassroots’ campaigns.”
  • Calls for members to participate in the Sheikh Jarrah protests, providing a distorted account of the situation and using highly offensive, racially-charged rhetoric: “the unjust eviction of Palestinians, losing their homes in the aggressive Judaization of East Jerusalem.” (emphasis in the original)
  • Initiated a 2009 campaign, “Gaza: Full ceasefire, end the blockade,” calling on the UN Security Council, the European Union, the Arab League and the USA to “act immediately to ensure a comprehensive ceasefire in the Gaza Strip,” claiming that “Gaza lies in ruins and its people are still blockaded,” placing responsibility for the conflict on Israel and omitting Hamas terror attacks, as well as legitimate Israeli security concerns.

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