In a recently released document under the banner of the Movement for Black Lives, groups associated with Black Lives Matter (BLM) presented their platform on a host of domestic and foreign policy issues, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The document labels Israel as an “apartheid state” and accuses the country of committing “genocide” against Palestinians. These terms echo the demonizing rhetoric of the infamous 2001 NGO Forum of the UN Durban Conference. In the document, the organization also advocates for ending U.S. military aid to Israel, explaining that this support “makes US citizens complicit in the abuses committed by the Israeli government.” Additionally, the authors urge supporters to combat anti-BDS (boycotts, divestment, and sanctions) legislation in the United States. According to the Jerusalem Post, a delegation of Black Lives Matter activists was recently in Israel, and “spent the majority of their time in the West Bank and east Jerusalem”, reinforcing this political messaging.

The fingerprints of several biased and politicized non-governmental organizations (NGOs) — particularly the group Adalah – are clearly visible in this publication. Nadia Ben-Youssef, Adalah’s U.S. representative, was originally listed as an “author and contributor.” MBL subsequently removed Youssef’s name, instead listing Adalah as an “organization currently working on policy.” (See below for screenshots of the original and edited document.) The JTA originally reported that Adalah was credited as “one of its ‘authors and contributors,'” but subsequently changed the terminology to reflect the new description in MBL’s publication (see screenshots below). Moreover, the reference to Israeli laws that “sanction discrimination against the Palestinian people,” is based on Adalah’s “discriminatory laws” database.

Adalah’s promotion of BDS tactics directly contravenes the stated policies of some of its funders, including the New Israel Fund (NIF). NIF’s position on BDS states that it “will not fund global BDS activities against Israel nor support organizations that have global BDS programs.” From 2008-2015, NIF donated $1,975,826 to Adalah.

Similarly, the EU regularly states its opposition to BDS in public forums. However, there are many instances of EU funding for NGOs that practice and advocate these tactics, including Adalah, which received NIS 1,308,208 from the EU from 2012-2014. These funds are in addition to the $190,000 granted to Adalah in 2014 by the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat, a joint funding mechanism of The Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, and Denmark.

The NIF and European contributions to Adalah are augmented by grants made by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF), which has donated a total of $200,000 to the NGO since 2014. RBF finances a host of BDS organizations, including the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation ($30,000 in 2015), American Friends Service Committee ($50,000 in 2015), and the Institute for Middle East Understanding (a total of $200,000 since 2013). All of the above NGOs were cited approvingly by BLM as “organizations currently working on policy.”

Regarding the text of the MBL platform on BDS, the changes in reference to Adalah’s role remain unanswered and must be addressed, particularly by Adalah and the New Israel Fund. In addition, the decision by JTA to change its text also raises questions regarding its treatment of procedure and evidence, beyond simply reflecting the unexplained revision in the MBL platform.


Screenshot, August 17, 2016

BLM_Adalah_new ExpendituresOnePager.pdf

Screenshot, August 4, 2016


Screenshot, revised content


Screenshot, original content


JTA, published by Haaretz