YMCA - East Jerusalem


Country/TerritoryPalestinian Authority
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.”



  • 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.”
  • On December 30, 2019, YMCA and other Palestinian NGOs launched a “Palestinian National Campaign to Reject Conditional Funding,” which rejects new requirements in European Union grant contracts that prohibit grantees from working with and funding organizations and individuals designated on the EU’s terror lists. The campaign labeled this policy as “conditioned funding” and “so-called anti-terrorism clauses and policies…on preventing terrorism that affect the history and struggle of our people” (emphasis added), justified the use of violence, and claimed that the “Palestinian resistance factions are not terrorist organizations.” (see video clip)

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.”
  • In May 2022, EJ-YMCA published a statement claiming that “Until today, the Palestinian Nakba never stopped…We ask you to put political, social, and economic pressure on Israel…[and] their policy makers to recognize the Right of Return of the Palestinian refugees and push Israel to respect this right of and put an end the oppression of the Palestinian people and its ongoing settler colonial apartheid regime.”
  • In March 2022, EJ-YMCA Director of Rehabilitation Programme Rami Khader participated in a webinar titled “Exposing Israel’s Illegal Child Detention.” The webinar alleged that “Palestinian child detainees and other youth [] have been traumatized by Israel’s defense and police forces,” and promoted Rep. Betty McCollum’s House Resolution 2590. This bill excludes Israel’s use of U.S. military aid to detain and incarcerate Palestinian children, demolish Palestinian homes, and annex Palestinian land.”
  • In October 2021, EJ-YMCA was a signatory on a statement condemning the decision by the Israeli Ministry to designate six Palestinian NGOs as terrorist organizations. According to the statement, “This designation targets all Palestinian civil society organizations, particularly those working to defend Palestinian human rights, document violations against Palestinians, offer legal aid, and carry out international advocacy work on their behalf, urging the international community to safeguard the human rights of Palestinians, particularly their right to self-determination, and ending the Israeli settler-colonialism and its Apartheid regime.”
  • 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.”
  • In June 2021, YMCA published a statement titled “Ongoing Loss of Land, Ethnic Cleansing, and Forcible Displacement of the Palestinian People” calling to “Promote the Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions (BDS) Campaign as a practical peaceful effective tool to bring Israel to comply with the international norms.”
  • In July 2020, EJ-YMCA was a signatory on a statement calling for “Immediate targeted sanctions to stop Israel’s annexation and apartheid.” The statement further called for “A ban on arms trade and military-security cooperation with Israel,” “Suspension of trade and cooperation agreements with Israel,” and “Investigation and prosecution of individuals and corporate actors responsible for war crimes/crimes against humanity in the context of Israel’s regime of illegal occupation and apartheid.”
  • In January 2019, EJ-YMCA was a signatory on a letter to the World Council of Churches calling to “defend our right and duty to resist the occupation creatively and non-violently. We ask that you speak in support of economic measures that pressure Israel to stop the occupation and that you support atheltic [sic], cultural, and academic measures against Israel until it complies with international law and UN resolutions urging the ending of its occupation, apartheid, and discrimination, and accepts refugees to return to their homeland. This is our last peaceful resort. In response to Israel’s war on BDS, we ask that you intensify that measure.”

Joint Advocacy Initiative

  • Together with the YWCA 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 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…”
  • JAI 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 offers “youth training” on “international law, advocacy and BDS.” The trainings focus on the “BDS campaign with its goals and accomplishments locally and internationally, and how the trainees could be part of it.”
  • In May 2020, to commemorate “72 years of Nakba,” JAI published a statement referring to “the ethnic cleansing and forcible displacement of the majority of the indigenous Palestinian population by the Zionist militias.” JAI called for people to “Lobby policy makers to put pressure on Israel to stop its colonization of the Palestinian land, and settlements activities as the main reasons behind the ongoing Nakba.”
  • In March 2020, to commemorate Palestinian Land Day, JAI called to “Adopt and promote (in the way people see fit to your context) the Palestinian civil society’s call for Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions (BDS) against Israeli, until it complies with international law.”
  • In February 2020, following the announcement of President Trump’s “Peace Plan, JAI published a statement referring to it “not [as] a Peace Plan, but a Recipe for Violence and Apartheid.”
  • In June 2017, JAI was a signatory to an “Open Letter” from the National Coalition of Christian Organizations in Palestine to the World Council of Churches, accusing Israel of “Discrimination and inequality, military occupation and systematic oppression.” The letter calls upon the WCC to “recognize Israel as an apartheid state” and “unequivocally condemn the Balfour declaration as unjust, and that you demand from the UK that it asks forgiveness from the Palestinian people and compensates for the losses” (emphasis added). The letter also defends “our right and duty to resist the occupation creatively and nonviolently,” through “economic measures that pressure Israel to stop the occupation…in response to Israel’s war on BDS. We ask that you intensity those measures.”
  • 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.
  • 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.”


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