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YMCA - East Jerusalem

Profile

Country/TerritoryPalestinian Authority
Websitewww.ej-ymca.org
Founded1949
In their own words“committed to a unique vision of community based on the universal values of human dignity, peace, and justice. Through diverse programs and activities with a focus on holistic youth development, the YMCA aims to work toward the building of a viable Palestinian state based on equality and social justice for all.”

Funding

  • Neither its website nor its 2013 annual report (latest available; accessed August 21, 2017) lists funding information, reflecting a lack of transparency and accountability.
  • The European Union (Non-State Actors and Local Authorities in Development) approved $491,083 in funding to YMCA between 2012-2017 to “empower young women to increase their economic opportunities & participation in decision making in the ”Seam Zones” of the West Bank.”
  • In 2015, EJ-YMCA received £85,000 from Embrace the Middle East, an NGO that promotes an entirely biased and distorted view of the conflict based solely on the Palestinian narrative of victimization and Israeli aggression.
  • Between 2013-2015, East Jerusalem YMCA received $275,488 from the NGO Development Center (2013, 2014, 2015).
  • Between 2011-2014, YMCA, alongside Women’s Affairs Center (WAC) and the Palestinian Working Women’s Society for Development (PWWSD), received €750,000 from EuropeAid for a project with DanChurchAid.
    • YMCA, WAC, and PWWSD support BDS initiatives through participation in activities and events, signing of petitions and initiatives, and/or membership in BDS platforms.
  • YMCA was a partner organization, together with B’Tselem and BADIL, on a DanChurchAid project, funded by ECHO (EUR 1316,841 from July 1, 2013 for the duration of 18 months) to “protect, assist and advocate for the most vulnerable segments of the West Bank (Area C) populations affected by the Israeli occupation.”

Activities

  • Claims to be an “integral part of the Palestinian social movement… Within the context of oppression and Israeli military occupation, the YMCA is a beacon of hope for Palestinians throughout the West Bank.”

Political Advocacy

  • YMCA rhetoric includes accusations of “apartheid,” “collective punishment,” and “war crimes,” as well as supporting a Palestinian “right of return.”
  • Engages in international advocacy and together with the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) of Palestine founded the “Joint Advocacy Initiative,” which “works for Peace with Justice in Palestine, based on Humanitarian and Christian Values, by mobilizing the world movements of YMCA and YWCA, churches, church-based organizations, UN agencies, and other relevant organizations to influence decision-makers and prompt actions that contribute to end Israeli occupation and all its violations of International Law.”
  • The JAI “networks with local advocacy organizations, runs the Olive Tree Campaign, promotes the Kairos Palestine document and the Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions (BDS) Campaign, to enhance international advocacy work with partners and activists.”
    • The JAI also organizes “advocacy visits and trips,” geared specifically for an international audience, to “make them witness land confiscation process by the Israeli government, the apartheid wall, settlements construction and expansion…”
    • On October 14-23, 2017 the Joint Advocacy Initiative and the Alternative Tourism Group will run an “annual olive picking program in Palestine” granting “an opportunity to people from around the world to experience Palestine under Israeli military occupation.” The program will meet with the Applied Research Institute Jerusalem (ARIJ) for a “presentation on the Apartheid Wall and land confiscation.”
    • In 2013, a JAI participant reflected upon her experience saying: “…this is NOT a conflict. This is a genocide, one that is funded by the U.S. and other international governments. This is a genocide that uses a settler strategy to steal land and to justify the imprisonment, torture and deprivation of an entire group of people.”
    • The JAI together with the Alternative Tourism Group published a 2012 report, “Life Under Occupation – An Introduction to the Situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories,” which provides historical inaccuracies, refers to the security barrier as the “apartheid wall,” and promotes a Palestinian right of return, meaning the elimination of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people.
  • Co-signed an August 5, 2014 open letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, under the headline “stand for law and Justice or resign!,” expressing “extreme[] disappoint[ment] by your performance, notably by your biased statements, your failure to act, and the inappropriate justification of Israel’s violations of IHL, which amount to war crimes.” The letter alleges that his “statements have not only allowed the continuance of Israel’s killing our people, but also, encouraged States to continue providing Israel with impunity.”
  • EJ-YMCA runs the Free Palestine Campaign in response to what it claims is “‘routine’ Israeli occupation policy, movement restrictions, harassment, destruction of YMCA property, and even random arrests.” The program aims to “to provide reliable and accurate information about the history and present reality of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to mobilize local and international organizations to work in solidarity with us to promote justice and peace and to bring about an end to the Israeli military occupation of Palestine.”

BDS Activities

  • Member of the Coalition for Jerusalem, which issued a campaign to boycott Hewlett-Packard in 2014 on the grounds that it is “complicit with Israel’s stratified ID system.”
  • YMCA launched and manages (together with YWCA) the Joint Advocacy Initiative (JAI), which calls for a “wide boycott of goods from Israel, from Israeli settlements and from companies that contribute to the occupation until the occupation has ended and Palestinians enjoy their basic human rights.” JAI published a “BDS Resource” page as well as a “List of Products from Settlements in the Occupied Territories and List of Settlements.”
    • JAI signed an appeal in 2008 to boycott Israel’s 60th Independence Day celebrations – “Sixty years ago, Zionist militias and gangs ransacked Palestinian properties and destroyed hundreds of Palestinian villages…We urge international civil society in all its components, particularly institutions and individuals working in the arts, academia, sport, trade unions, and communities of faith to boycott the ‘Israel at 60’ celebrations wherever they are held in the world.”
  • In May 2016, Norwegian-YMCA signed a call titled “Enough with the criminalisation of the BDS movement for justice in Palestine! Let’s support right to boycott!” calling on the European Commission to “introduce the human rights guidelines guaranteeing freedom of speech and right to boycott.”
  • Signatory to the 2005 “Palestinian Civil Society Call for BDS,” which calls for an end to Israel’s “occupation and colonization of all Arab lands” and promotes the right of “Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties.” These goals undermine the fundamental right of the Jewish people to self-determination and would effectually mean the elimination of Israel as a Jewish state.

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