International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL)


In their own wordsSince IADL's founding in 1946 in Paris, IADL members have participated in the struggles that have made the violation of human rights of groups and individuals and threats to international peace and security, legal issues under international law.


  • The International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) does not include any financial data on its website, reflecting a complete lack of transparency and accountability.
  • IADL claims that “the funds of the Association shall be derived from…annual subscriptions of member Associations and individual members…grants; donations and contributions; [and] sale of publications.”
  • IADL formerly instructed users to make donations via accounts in Comerica Bank in Michigan and Caixa d’Est Alvis I Pensions de Barcelona in Spain.


Political Advocacy

  • In December 2022, IADL petitioned for the release of Salah Hamouri.
  • In November 2022, IADL was a signatory on a letter to the ICC Prosecutor to “Urgently expedite his investigation into the Situation of Palestine, including the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution.” 
  • In August 2022, following criticism of antisemitism on the part of the UNHRC’s permanent Commission of Inquiry against Israel, IADL signed a joint statement “extend[ing] their full support and pledg[ing] their ongoing cooperation with the UN Commission of Inquiry on Palestine.” The statement affirmed that “the present Commission is a crucial step toward the recognition and remedy of Israel’s settler-colonial and apartheid regime as the root cause of Israel’s perpetual violations of international law in Palestine.”
    • In July 2022, Commissioner Miloon Kothari made antisemitic comments on a podcast, claiming that the “Jewish lobby” controls social media and questioned whether Israel should have UN membership. In a letter to UNHRC President Federico Villegas, Commissioner Navi Pillay refused to condemn Kothari’s remarks, stating his comments “have deliberately been taken out of context…[and] deliberately misquoted.” Dozens of countries, UN Special Rapporteur Ahmed Shaheed, and HRC President Federico Villegas condemned these remarks.
  • In May 2022, IADL was a signatory to a flagrantly antisemitic report submitted to the UNHRC’s permanent Commission of Inquiry against Israel. The submission presented a blatantly false historical account that denied Israel’s right to exist, categorized Israel’s very existence as illegal, and labeled Zionism as a form of racism, demanding that the Commission “Recognise and Address Zionist Settler Colonialism and Apartheid as the Root Causes of Israel’s Ongoing Violations.”
  • In October 2021, IADL “expresse[d] outrage” at the decision by the Israeli Ministry to designate six Palestinian NGOs as terrorist organizations. According to IADL, “All of these organizations have long histories of defending and promoting human rights and are recognized throughout the world as leaders in their fields. The designations are a blatant attempt to criminalize Palestinian civil society overall.”
  • In October 2020, IADL called on France to release Georges Ibrahim Abdallah from prison. Abdallah was convicted and sentenced by a French court to life in prison for “complicity in the assassinations” of Charles R. Ray in 1982, a US military attaché serving in Paris, and Yacov Bar-Simantov, a second counsellor at the Israeli embassy in Paris.
  • In March 2020, IADL submitted an amicus brief to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in support of ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s decision to investigate Israel for alleged war crimes.
  • In November 2019, IADL called for the release of Khalida Jarrar and Samer Arbid from prison.
  • In March 2017, IADL lauded the UN ESCWA report on the “Question of Apartheid,” stating that the report provides “evidence [that] establishes beyond a reasonable doubt that Israel is guilty of policies and practices that constitute the crime of apartheid.” IADL called for the UN Human Rights Council to “make more authoritative the report’s finding that Israel maintains a racist regime of apartheid in its exercise of control over the Palestinian people,” as well as “support boycott, divestment and sanctions [BDS] activities.”
  • In 2014, signed a letter, along with representatives from National Lawyers Guild, Center for Constitutional Rights, American Association of Jurists, and the Arab Lawyers Union, urging the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Fatou Bensouda to initiate “an investigation into crimes committed and ongoing during and immediately before” the 2014 Gaza War. The letter claims that, “By transferring financial assistance, weapons and other military aid to Israel, members of U.S. Congress, President Barak Obama, and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel have aided and abetted the commission of war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity by Israeli officials and commanders in Gaza.” The letter further accuses “Israeli political figures” of “ongoing incitement to genocide.”
  • Submitted a written statement to the UN Human Rights Council in July 2014 condemning Israeli actions during the 2014 Gaza War. The statement denies Israel’s right to protect its civilians from rocket attacks from Gaza, claiming that “Israel cannot claims to act in ‘self-defense’ because, as also recognized ten years ago by the International Court of Justice…the Palestinians constitute a people under Israeli occupation and are therefore not a ‘foreign’ threat” (sic).
  • During the 2012 Gaza War, the IADL condemned “illegal Israeli aggression in the strongest possible terms.” It published a statement released by PCHR and demanded “the urgent convening of a Special Session of the Human Rights Council.”
  • In 2012, IADL held “its bureau meeting in Gaza, occupied Palestine” where it met with politicized NGOs and networks, including the Palestinian Bar Association and the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO).
    • Following this trip, released a statement accusing Israel of “war crimes and crimes against humanity,” carrying out “targeted killings of civilians,” and “illegal collective punishment” that is a “precursor to genocide.”

BDS Activities

  • Supports BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns against Israel, and calls on states “to immediately put an end to any commercial transaction regarding weapons and military technology to and from Israel.” Calls upon its member organization “to engage in promoting an economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel.”
  • In December 2022, IADL called for the “end of the E.U-Israel Association Agreement and other free trade agreements with the Israeli state that serve to support and legitimize torture, occupation and colonization,” as well as an end to “U.S. aid to Israel, which encompasses $3.8 billion in direct military aid to perpetuate the ongoing occupation of Palestinian and Arab land, including the occupation of the Syrian Golan Heights.”
  • In September 2022, IADL endorsed a report by Al-Haq and Just Peace Advocates calling to “Update the UN database annually” and “Continue to exert the necessary efforts to ensure transparency and promote accountability for business activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, to counter the pervasive impunity stemming from corporate- related violations and grave breaches of international law in such contexts.”
    • The UN BDS “blacklist” of businesses operating across the 1949 Armistice line selectively targets Israel apart from all other nations, is aimed at economically damaging companies that are owned by Jews or do business with Israel, and is ultimately meant to harm the Jewish State.
  • In May 2021, “in solidarity with the people of Palestine in their struggle against the settler colonial state of Israel,” IADL published a statement calling on the “United States and European Union end their financial, military and political support of Israel and holding political leaders accountable for their defense of Israeli crimes.”
  • In July 2020, IADL sent letters to all the embassies of the United Nations member states in New York alleging that Israel is “already responsible for the crime of apartheid against the Palestinian people.” IADL called for states to take “countermeasures” including “refusing to deal in arms with the Israeli state…refusing to purchase arms that have been tested through ongoing crimes against the Palestinian people…[and] cancel or end trade agreements that are nominally conditioned on human rights principles.”
  • In October 2019, IADL called to “Intensify our work to support the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign as an international popular mechanism of accountability for the Israeli occupation and to achieve and implement Palestinian rights to self-determination, liberation, equality and return as affirmed by multiple United Nations resolutions.”


  • IADL’s member organizations in the Middle East are the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) and the Palestinian Bar Association.
    • Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) is a leader in anti-Israel lawfare and BDS campaigns, ignores the existence of terrorism against Israeli civilians, and presents a distorted version of the conflict based only on the Palestinian narrative. According to a 1995 article in the Washington Report, PCHR director Raji Sourani served “a three-year sentence [1979-1982] imposed by an Israeli court which convicted him of membership in the illegal Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine…” He was also denied a US entry visa in 2012. For more information on PCHR’s PFLP ties, read NGO Monitor’s report “Palestinian Centre for Human Rights’ Ties to the PFLP Terror Group.”
    • The Palestinian Bar Association is a statutory body that regulates the practice of law in the Palestinian Authority. The PBA does not recognize the existence of the State of Israel, and in a July 8, 2013 interview, PBA Chairman Hussein Shabaneh stated: “In the Bar Association we say: ‘From the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea.’ We don’t recognize Israel’s existence at all.” (emphasis added)
  • In 2012, the Arab Lawyers Union, one of the IADL’s “regional organisations,” honored a Palestinian woman who carried out a suicide bombing at Maxim’s Restaurant in Haifa in 2003. The attack killed 21.

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Further Reading