Analysis of Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) Report: “Unsafe Space: The Israeli Authorities’ Failure to Protect Human Rights amid Settlements in East Jerusalem“
Released on September 5, 2010
- This report is based almost exclusively on Palestinian “testimony” (along with 1 or 2 police files and selected articles from the Israeli media). None of the claims can be verified independently, and the “testimony” is clearly designed to promote the desired political conclusions.
- The publication is entirely one-sided and reinforces the artificial image and ideology of Palestinian victimization. ACRI admits to this in the introduction “We have chosen to focus specifically on the complaints of the Palestinian residents because of the extent of the phenomenon and its impact on their day-to-day lives, and also to allow this community, whose voice is seldom heard in the Israeli public discourse, to sound its complaint.”
- This report, like many others on Jerusalem, erases the political context and history of the conflict – particularly the wanton destruction of the ancient Jewish quarter of the Old City in the Jordanian invasion of 1948, the ethnic cleansing of the Jewish population, and related events.
- ACRI’s report repeats tendentious terminology used by political organizations, such as the PLO Negotiations Affairs Department. For example the phrase “Judaize” erases the intense Jewish historical connection to Jerusalem and suggests that the very presence of Jews is alien and unacceptable. The use of the term “Judaize,” therefore, is an expression of anti-Jewish discrimination. While it is perhaps not surprising that the PLO would employ such terminology, it is immoral for human rights organizations to use phrases supporting ethnically-based exclusion.
- The report makes vague and overly broad accusations regarding so-called “failings of Israeli authorities.” For example: ACRI falsely claims that “security guards employed in East Jerusalem are not reined in by any clear working definitions.” In fact, as noted by Israeli government officials in their response to the report, “the activities of the unit are carried out under strict supervision.”
- The substance of Israeli responses and rebuttals to several allegations (included as an appendix) is ignored.
- Some “testimony” was collected by B’Tselem, although the report is published by ACRI. The end of the report thanks the New Israel Fund (NIF), Bimkom, ICAHD, PCATI, Hamoked, Yesh Din, Ir Amim, and Rabbis for Human Rights – highlighting the close cooperation between such one-sided political advocacy NGOs funded by European governments and NIF.