The NGO Apartheid Campaign

Over the last two years, numerous political non-governmental organizations (NGOs) involved in anti-Israel advocacy and their UN allies have issued publications accusing Israel of “apartheid.” This offensive term is used to advance a narrative of unparalleled Israeli immorality, and to promote demonization through BDS and lawfare, including in the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Below is background information relating to the campaign and the NGOs involved, as well as articles and reports by NGO Monitor that debunk the apartheid demonization campaign.

Building on earlier efforts, since 2020, a network of European government-funded NGOs, as well as their allies in the United Nations, Human Rights Watch (HRW), and Amnesty International have intensified a concerted campaign to attach the “apartheid” label to Israel. This term is designed to delegitimize and undermine Israel’s existence as a Jewish state, and to promote BDS and lawfare campaigns to target Israelis.

Critically, these actions violate a core example in the IHRA definition of antisemitism which states: “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.”

In the past, a number of NGO “apartheid” allegations referred to specific policies (“apartheid wall,” “water apartheid,” “vaccine apartheid,” etc.). In recent publications and statements from Amnesty, HRW, B’Tselem, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, the term is applied the smear to Israel regardless of specific policies or borders.

The inclusion of a crime against humanity of apartheid in the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), is central to the NGO agenda. Several of the NGOs behind the campaign – including those designated as terrorist organizations by Israel based on extensive evidence of ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) – have submitted materials to the ICC Prosecutor. As explained by Amnesty, “After the ICC announced it had jurisdiction… we began to look at the way in which we can make international justice a central part of the human rights work that Amnesty does on Israel-Palestine….the crime of apartheid immediately emerged….” (See NGO Monitor’s analysis of NGO lobbying of the ICC to investigate Israeli officials.)

European-government support for many of these NGOs has been essential in this campaign.  Though varying degrees of transparency on the part of donor governments, UN mechanisms, and NGO recipients make it impossible to determine precise figures, based on available open-source information, NGO Monitor estimates that since 2014, foreign government and UN agencies have provided NGOs leading the Israel “apartheid” campaign with approximately $50 million.

Crucially, these NGO grantees are open and public about their apartheid-related activities and advocacy, including the use of antisemitic rhetoric, and often highlight them among their key achievements. Nevertheless, government funders continue to provide financial and other support to these NGOs under the guise of civil society and human rights. In fact, countries such as Switzerland have explicitly directed specific grantees to engage with the ICC Prosecutor and provide their office with materials in order to target Israel through this process.

In December 2021, NGO Monitor published “False Knowledge as Power: Deconstructing Definitions of Apartheid that Delegitimise the Jewish State.” Authored by UK Barrister Joshua Kern and NGO Monitor’s Legal Advisor, Anne Herzberg, this seminal report details the historical origins of the apartheid charge as levied against Israel; demonstrates how the definition of apartheid used by HRW, B’Tselem, and other NGOs is not legally substantiated; and deconstructs the legal claims being made against Israel at the ICC and other international forums.

NGO Monitor released a report in December 2021, authored by UK Barrister Joshua Kern and NGO Monitor's Legal Advisor Anne Herzberg, titled “False Knowledge as Power: Deconstructing Definitions of Apartheid that Delegitimise the Jewish State.” The report examines the nature and evolution of the apartheid allegation leveled against Israeli officials, addresses the legal vacuum, and, in contrast to the NGO publications, provides a full analysis grounded in international law of apartheid’s definition as a crime against humanity.

At the beginning of 2021, Human Rights Watch (HRW) and B’Tselem published reports alleging Israel to be responsible for, and Israeli officials to be guilty of committing, the crime against humanity of apartheid. These publications were accompanied by an extensive PR campaign. Concurrently, NGOs were influential in the establishment of two UN bodies where the claim of apartheid will prominently feature, and these same groups are vigorously lobbying the International Criminal Court to include allegations of apartheid in its investigation into Israel.

However, the definition of apartheid used by HRW, B’Tselem, and other NGOs is not legally substantiated. Instead, these groups promote artificial and manufactured definitions designed to extend the ongoing campaigns that seek to delegitimize and demonize Israel.

Beyond its pejorative colloquial meaning (“apartheid state,” “vaccine apartheid”), apartheid is also criminalized in some treaties as a crime against humanity and/or a war crime, establishing individual criminal responsibility. In addition, states are prohibited from practicing apartheid in other treaties and by customary international law.

Apartheid is a grave allegation both for the individuals accused as well as the country they represent. A conviction comes with long terms of imprisonment, while the accusation alone can result in severe penalties including sanctions and international isolation.  It is not a claim to be made casually, and the crime itself must be precisely defined. However, the definition of apartheid is untested in international law as no courts have yet examined the crime, and there is little detailed analysis available.  As a result, central actors in the delegitimization campaign have exploited this gap to advance narrow, and destructive, political agendas.

This report presents a corrective. First, it analyzes the policy and practices of apartheid as pursued historically in South Africa.  Second, it examines the nature and evolution of the apartheid allegation levelled against Israeli officials. Third, it addresses the legal vacuum and provides a full analysis grounded in international law of apartheid’s definition as a crime against humanity.

In early 2022, NGO Monitor will issue a companion report, assessing whether apartheid, as defined here, is applicable to Israel and territories under its administration.

Definition of Apartheid in International Law: 

  • There is no universally accepted legal definition of apartheid.  However, there does appear to be a consensus that the South African reality between 1948 and 1994 informs our understanding of what constitutes apartheid.
  • It is doubtful whether the crime against humanity of apartheid exists as such under customary international law, which is different than the definition of treaty crimes under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the Apartheid Convention.
  • The Rome Statute (1998), which defines crimes under the jurisdiction of the ICC, treats apartheid as a crime against humanity.  Apartheid is defined by Article 7(2)(h) as a crime against humanity where there are inhumane acts of a character similar to other enumerated crimes against humanity (e.g. murder, extermination, torture, rape and forced transfer) committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups, committed with the intention of maintaining that regime and as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack.
  • As detailed in this report, each element of the crime (“inhumane acts,” “institutionalized regime,” “oppression,” “domination,” “racial group,” etc.) must be carefully defined. The version of apartheid manufactured by HRW and other NGOs does not correspond to the crime particularized in the Rome Statute.
  • Other international instruments that criminalize or prohibit apartheid are either not widely accepted, or fail to offer any definition. The 1973 Apartheid Convention, drafted in the context of the Cold War, was not acceded to by Western states. The 1965 International Convention for the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), which Israel and almost all other states have accepted, prohibits apartheid, but does not provide any definition of it. Moreover, the ICERD is directed at State responsibility rather than individual criminal responsibility.
  • Unlawful discrimination is prohibited under international law, and apartheid is an aggravated form of racial discrimination. International human rights law does however, permit differential treatment based on citizenship or where there is a reasonable basis to support it.
  • A situation of occupation does not inherently give rise to either oppression or apartheid. International humanitarian law – the legal framework that applies to a belligerent occupation – prohibits discrimination based solely on race, religion, and political opinion without reasonable grounds for the distinction. It does, however, permit the occupying power to apply different laws to its own citizens as opposed to the local population.

Warping the Definition of Apartheid to Apply Uniquely to Israel:

  • Beginning with anti-Zionist Soviet propaganda in the 1950s, the apartheid label has been falsely applied to the State of Israel. The purpose of the slander is to characterize the right of Jews to sovereign equality in their historic homeland as a violation of the international legal order. The overarching political objective is to erase and subsume the nation-state of the Jewish people into a single state of Palestine.
  • During the Cold War, the Soviet Union and non-aligned states advanced the apartheid narrative in UN frameworks and other international fora, often based on antisemitic tropes. The 1975 UNGA resolution labeling Zionism as a form of racism was accompanied by the apartheid label.
  • At the UN Durban Conference in 2001, NGOs embraced this decades-old delegitimization campaign by promoting a new and unique definition of apartheid reserved exclusively for Israel. Indeed, the Final Declaration of the conference’s infamous NGO Forum referenced “Israel’s brand of apartheid” and Israel’s “new form of apartheid.” As described in the declaration, the new definition was aimed at embracing a “policy of complete and total isolation of Israel.”
  • As demonstrated in the report, proponents of the apartheid trope reject a negotiated two-state compromise between Israelis and Palestinians, claiming any agreement that retains a Jewish state would violate international law.
  • In 2021, HRW and B’Tselem revived this discriminatory rhetoric by evoking tropes of an apartheid regime from the “river to the sea” and of “Jewish supremacy.”

Click Here for Full Report

In December 2021, we published a report titled False Knowledge as Power: Deconstructing Definitions of Apartheid that Delegitimise the Jewish State, which sought to rectify the lack of a coherent and legally substantiated definition of the crime of apartheid. Accusations of this crime against humanity have been historically leveled at the state of Israel and its officials by powerful NGOs such as Human Rights Watch (HRW), B’Tselem and, most recently, Amnesty International. The lack of an accepted definition of the crime of apartheid has been harnessed by central actors in the campaign to delegitimise Israel, who apply the term to characterise the political and legal nature of Israel’s government, and in many cases to delegitimise the notion of Israel’s identity as a Jewish state.

The legal analysis found the definitions of apartheid’s elements commonly used by the NGOs to be unreasoned by reference to principles and instruments of international law; consequently, we found the legal basis upon which accusations of apartheid against Israel rest to be invalid.

In this report, we expand on this analysis by assessing whether apartheid, as previously defined, is applicable to Israel and territories under its military administration. Building upon our previous analysis, it aims to respond to the most politicised aspects of the NGOs’ allegations by presenting a clear-eyed review of the validity of common claims which are said to support a case that apartheid is being committed in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza.

First, we examine specific allegations made in the main NGO and UN reports alleging Israeli responsibility for apartheid – including publications by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty, B’Tselem, Al Haq, and former UN Rapporteur Richard Falk. We also review prominent academic publications and the 2018 Palestinian complaint to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. We then turn to the topics that appear most frequently in such publications, including the concept of a “Jewish State,” the Law of Return, the Nation State Law, separate legal regimes in Area C of the West Bank, freedom of movement, “right of return,” settlements, and the concept of race and racial groups. We analyse claims made regarding these issues against the elements of the crime of apartheid in the Rome Statute per False Knowledge as Power. We conclude with a discussion about institutional discrimination and offer recommendations to the government of Israel.

Main Findings:

  • Apartheid discourse is not merely criticism of or an attempt to improve Israeli policy. Rather, it is used by NGOs and UN officials to construct a narrative that presents Israel’s very existence as a Jewish state as illegitimate.
  • The NGO and UN reports present an ahistorical and decontextualized narrative to press the case of apartheid. The publications erase the international community’s endorsement of the creation of a Jewish State, alongside Arab States; Arab military aggression and the ongoing Palestinian rejection of any final settlement to date; Palestinian political divisions and the root causes of fragmentation; and how the ongoing armed conflict has shaped policy in the region.
  • NGO and UN publications overwhelmingly adopt an neo-orientalist approach towards Zionism and Judaism. Their claims rest on antisemitic caricatures and stereotypes, which trivialize how Jews have, for thousands of years, defined their peoplehood and their religion.
  • Claims that Israel imposes a single, institutionalised apartheid regime “from the river to the sea,” and has deliberately “fragmented” the Palestinians are false. The existing territorial and political division of the Palestinian population results not from Israeli policies of “domination,” but rather from geopolitical factors impacting the history of the conflict, including Arab rejectionism, the 1947 UN Partition Plan, Jordanian and Egyptian control over the West Bank and Gaza respectively, the Oslo Accords (mutually agreed to between Israel and the PLO and witnessed by representatives of the international community), and Palestinian political splits.
  • Contrary to NGO and UN rapporteurs’ claims, there is no fundamental incompatibility between Israel’s identity as a Jewish state and the protection of equality for all its citizens.
  • Israel’s Law of Return does not provide for “Jewish preferential citizenship,” nor does it make the citizenship of non-Jews in any way inferior. Its provisions are consistent with international norms.
  • Any reasonable assessment of Israel’s policies must be viewed through the lens of its security dilemma and the context of armed conflict within which they are implemented. NGO and UN reporting consistently fails to address these issues.
  • An intention to secure the right of a people to reside in their ancient homeland, alongside Palestinian communities, cannot be said to entail an intention to establish and maintain a relationship of “domination and oppression.”

Coming Soon

<p>

Load More ...
</p>

Al-Haq

Government Funders:

FranceSweden European UnionIreland Italy

 


The Palestinian NGO - designated as a terrorist organization by Israel in October 2021 over its ties to the internationally-designated Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) - has long labeled Israel “apartheid.”

However, along with its NGO partners, Al-Haqit too has recently intensified its international efforts to label Israel as an “apartheid” states:.

  • In April 2021, Al-Haq published the “The Legal Architecture of Apartheid” that concludes that “Israel maintains its apartheid regime through a complex framework of laws that enable demographic engineering, widespread land appropriation and the fragmentation of the Palestinian people and territory. These laws also introduce illegally transferred Jewish settlers to colonize both sides of the Green Line. Finally, racially discriminatory laws seek to subordinate the Palestinian population as a whole through denying their collective rights of return, self-determinationand permanent sovereignty (over lands on both sides of the Green Line).”
  • In describing its participation on the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in April 2021, Al-Haq wrote, “In collaboration with Palestinian, regional, and international civil society, Al-Haq highlighted Israel’s systemic oppression and racism, inherent in its settler colonial and apartheid regime over the Palestinian people as a whole, including those living on both sides of the Green Line, and as refugees and exiles denied their right of return. Al-Haq further urged the Council and its Member States to take effective measures to ensure justice and accountability for widespread and systematic human rights violations, including suspected international crimes, committed against the Palestinian people. Al-Haq accordingly called for the establishment of a fact-finding mission into Israel’s apartheid regime and full international cooperation with the International Criminal Court (ICC), to ensure an end to Israel’s unlawfully-enjoyed culture of impunity.” 
  • In September 2020, Al Haq published a call from the PHROC and PNGO umbrella organizations to all Member States of the UN General Assembly to:
    • Launch international investigations into Israel’s apartheid regime over the Palestinian people as a whole, as well as associated State and individual criminal responsibility, including by reconstituting the UN Special Committee against Apartheid and the UN Centre Against Apartheid to end apartheid in the 21st century. (emphasis added)
    • Ban arms trade and military-security cooperation with Israel.
    • Prohibit all trade with illegal Israeli settlements and ensure that companies refrain from and terminate business activities with Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise.”
  • In November 2019, Al-Haq published a joint submission (with BADIL, Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), Al-Mezan, Addameer) to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), claiming that  “Israel has created and maintained an apartheid regime over the indigenous Palestinian people.”

Addameer

Government Funders:

IrelandSpain



  • Designated as a terrorist organization by Israel in October 2021 over its ties to the PFLP, in April 2021, Addameer launched a petition calling for the ICC to “investigate crimes by the Israeli military judicial system as part of the Israeli apartheid regime, and further call for the end of prosecuting Palestinian civilians in Israeli military courts.”
  • In February 2021, Addameer was a signatory on a policy paper titled “United States Policy on Palestine: 2021 and Beyond” calling for the “US to reevaluate its past blanket support of Israel” and “end the decades long environment of impunity that it has enabled for Israel to entrench its settler colonization and apartheid in the Palestinian territory.” The policy calls to “ban the import of all Israeli settlement products and services” and “End all military aid to Israel.”
  • In January 2021, Addameer, alongside a number of Palestinian organizations, issued a declaration that the “Vaccine Roll-Out Exposes Israel’s Inhumane Acts of Apartheid.
  • In September 2020, Addameer called for the UN General Assembly to “Launch international investigations into Israel’s apartheid regime over the Palestinian people as a whole, as well as associated State and individual criminal responsibility,” to “Ban arms trade and military-security cooperation with Israel,” and to “Prohibit all trade with illegal Israeli settlements and ensure that companies refrain from and terminate business activities with Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise.”
  • In October 2019, Addameer General Director Sahar Francis spoke at an event in Berlin about the “institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by Israelis over Palestinians, committed with the intention of maintaining that regime in line with the definition of apartheid by the International Criminal Court.”

Al-Dameer

Government Funders:

European Union



  • The Gaza-based Al-Dameer is closely linked to the PFLP.
  • On February 6, 2021, following the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber ruling that the Court has jurisdiction to investigate alleged war crimes in the West Bank and Gaza, Al-Dameer, alongside Al-Haq, Al-Mezan, and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), published a press release stating, “…it is imperative that the Prosecutor include acts of apartheid in the scope of her investigation… (emphasis added). The organizations stressed that they will continue their “tireless” cooperation with the ICC, having submitted “six substantial communications and thousands of eyewitness files to the Office of the Prosecutor…”
  • In May 2020, Al-Dameer 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.”

BADIL

Government Funders:

DenmarkIrelandSpain



  • In December 2020, BADIL released a working paper “Israel’s Apartheid-Colonial Education: Subjugating Palestinian Minds and Rights.”

Defense for Children International - Palestine (DCI-P)

Government Funders:

European UnionSwedenItalyThe Netherlands



  • Designated as a terrorist organization by Israel in October 2021 over its ties to the PFLP, in August 2021, DCI-P signed a letter to the States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty calling to “put an end to Israel’s notorious use of arms and military equipment…by immediately imposing a comprehensive two-way arms embargo on Israel.” According to the letter, “This systematic brutality, perpetrated throughout the past seven decades of Israel’s colonialism, apartheid, pro-longed illegal belligerent occupation, persecution, and closure, is only possible because of the complicity of some governments and corporations around the world.”
  • In May 2021, DCI-P was a signatory on a statement calling to “Ban arms trade and military-security cooperation with Israel,” “Suspend free-trade agreements with Israel,” and “Ensure that individuals and corporate actors responsible for war crimes/crimes against humanity in the context of Israel’s regime of illegal occupation and apartheid are brought to justice.” In April 2021, DCI-P was a signatory on a joint submission to the UN Secretary-General on Intimidation and Reprisals for Cooperation with the UN, stating that “Since its establishment, Israel has created and maintained an institutionalised regime of racial domination and oppression, amounting to apartheid, over the Palestinian people as a whole…Israel has sought to fundamentally undermine key human rights and accountability work and thereby further entrenched impunity for its apartheid regime over Palestinians.”
  • In February 2021, DCI-P published a policy paper titled “United States Policy on Palestine: 2021 and Beyond” calling for the “US to reevaluate its past blanket support of Israel” and “end the decades long environment of impunity that it has enabled for Israel to entrench its settler colonization and apartheid in the Palestinian territory.” The policy calls to “ban the import of all Israeli settlement products and services” and “End all military aid to Israel.”
  • In January 2021, DCI-P, alongside a number of Palestinian organizations, issued a declaration that the “Vaccine Roll-Out Exposes Israel’s Inhumane Acts of Apartheid.” 
  • In September 2020, DCI-P called for the UN General Assembly to “Launch international investigations into Israel’s apartheid regime over the Palestinian people as a whole, as well as associated State and individual criminal responsibility,” to “Ban arms trade and military-security cooperation with Israel,” and to “Prohibit all trade with illegal Israeli settlements and ensure that companies refrain from and terminate business activities with Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise.”
  • In July 2020, DCI-P was a signatory on an urgent appeal to the United Nations referring to Israel’s alleged “shoot-to-kill policy” as “contributing to the maintenance of Israel’s apartheid regime of systematic racial oppression and domination over the Palestinian people as a whole, which, embedded in a system of impunity, prevents Palestinians from effectively challenging Israel’s apartheid policies and practices.”
  • In May 2020, DCI-P 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.”

Al-Mezan

Government Funders:

European UnionThe Netherlands



  • In December 2021, the Gaza-based NGO published “The Gaza Bantustan—Israeli Apartheid in the Gaza Strip.” In the document, the PFLP-linked organization directly compares Gaza to apartheid-era South African bantustans:“As a sealed-off enclave, fragmented from the rest of the OPT and controlled by Israel within its apartheid system, Gaza is a strip of land that can be likened to a South African bantustan. Some interlocutors, as will be discussed in this report, have suggested that the comparison is in fact inexact because the Gaza Strip is substantially worse than the South African bantustans ever were.”
    • Moreover, the publication broadens the “apartheid” charge to cover Israel as a whole:
      • “Since the founding of the State in 1948, the Palestinian people have endured an ongoing nakba through means of ethnic cleansing, forced displacement, dispossession, population transfer, and political, legal, and geographic fragmentation, as part of Israel’s attempt to oppress and eradicate them from their land and homes. In deference to the colonial vision of establishing a home for the Jewish people in Palestine, the Palestinian people have been constantly dispossessed and denied their collective, inalienable right to self-determination.”
    • It also promotes demonstrably false libels of Israel deliberately flooding Gaza with the aid of non-existent dams:
      • “Moreover, Israel has constructed dams or floodgates in its territory to control and redirect the natural flow of water away from the Gaza Strip, depriving the aquifer of its main natural source of groundwater. Israel opens the gates of these dams when near overflowing, causing sudden flows of water into Palestinian farmlands in the buffer zone, damaging crops, houses, and other property.”

Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO)

Government Funders:

European UnionSpain



  • Not only were multiple PNGO member-organizations designated as terror groups by Israel in October 2021, the umbrella body is itself terror-linked.
  • In September 2020, NGOs from the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO) called on all Member States of the UN General Assembly to:
    • “Launch international investigations into Israel’s apartheid regime over the Palestinian people as a whole, as well as associated State and individual criminal responsibility, including by reconstituting the UN Special Committee against Apartheid and the UN Centre Against Apartheid to end apartheid in the 21st century.
    • Ban arms trade and military-security cooperation with Israel.
    • Prohibit all trade with illegal Israeli settlements and ensure that companies refrain from and terminate business activities with Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise.”

B'Tselem

Government Funders:

European UnionDenmarkThe NetherlandsSwedenFranceGermanyIrelandSpain



  • In January 2021, B’Tselem launched a discriminatory and hateful campaign, under the banner of “A regime of Jewish supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea: This is apartheid.” As part of the campaign, B’Tselem attacked Israel’s role as a haven for the Jewish people (the Law of Return) and used the phrase “from the river to the sea” – echoing long-standing Palestinian terminology for the destruction of Israel.
    • B’Tselem alleges that “The Israeli regime, which controls all the territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, seeks to advance and cement Jewish supremacy throughout the entire area.” (emphasis added)
      • The use of the term “Jewish supremacy” throughout the publication is a transparent attempt to invoke a parallel between Israel and White Supremacy – a noxious and racist ideology.
    • The NGO claims “Non-Jews have no right to legal status in Israeli-controlled areas.”
      • Non-Jews born in Israel acquire citizenship at birth, just as Israeli Jews do.
    • It asserts that the “Israeli regime severely restricts construction and development in the little remaining land in Palestinian communities within its sovereign territory.”
    • B’Tselem concludes, “There are various political paths to a just future here, between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.”  This suggests – at best – ambivalence about Israel’s future.
  • In March 2021, B’Tselem joined Israeli NGO Kerem Navot in publishing “This Is Ours – And This, Too.”  Funded by the Norwegian government, it accuses Israel of “appear[ing] more determined than ever to continue upholding and perpetuating an apartheid regime throughout the area under its control.”

Yesh Din

Government Funders:

European UnionThe NetherlandsIrelandSpainGermanyFrance



The Israeli NGO has accused Israel of “apartheid” in multiple publications, most notably in a July 2020 report written by its legal advisor, Michael Sfard, in which he alleges that “the crime against humanity of apartheid is being committed in the West Bank. The perpetrators are Israelis, and the victims are Palestinians."

Sfard additionally adds that "Continued creeping legal annexation, let alone official annexation of a particular part of the West Bank through legislation that would apply Israeli law and administration there, is an amalgamation of the regimes. This could mean strengthening the argument, which already is being heard, that the crime of Apartheid is not committed only in the West Bank. That the Israeli regime in its entirety is an apartheid regime. That Israel is an Apartheid state" (emphasis in original).

Breaking the Silence

Government Funders:

European UnionThe NetherlandsGermanyIrelandDenmark



  • In November 2020, Breaking the Silence joined Yesh Din and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I) in publishing “A Life Exposed: Military invasions of Palestinian homes in the West Bank,” claiming that “Israel is committing the crime of apartheid in the West Bank.”
  • In March 2020, Breaking the Silence alleged, “Israeli officials are now actively promoting an apartheid reality which itself blurs the lines, and our position [of not participating in ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ events on campus] may therefore have to change in the future accordingly.”

Human Rights Watch

Funding is not fully transparent, with the HRW website only listing some organizations that provide “partnership and support” including: Open Society Institute, Ford Foundation, the Oak Foundation, among others.

  • In April 2021, HRW published “A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution.” The report urges states to “Impose targeted sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes, against [Israeli] officials and entities” as well as “Condition[ing] arms sales and military and security assistance to Israel.”
    • In December 2021, HRW boasted that this report was the most-read story on its website in 2021, reflecting HRW’s campaign promoting it.
    • In the report, HRW misrepresents Israeli law, ignores its “disengagement” from Gaza, the role of the PA, while blaming Israel for anti-Palestinian policies enacted by Arab states: “Every day a person is born in Gaza into an open-air prison, in the West Bank without civil rights, in Israel with an inferior status by law, and in neighboring countries effectively condemned to lifelong refugee status, like their parents and grandparents before them, solely because they are Palestinian and not Jewish.”
    • Like the other NGOs, HRW’s report calls for heavy sanctions against Israeli officials, BDS measures from businesses, and an arms embargo on Israel: “States should impose individual sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes, against officials and individuals responsible for the continued commission of these serious crimes and condition arms sales and military and security assistance to Israel on Israeli authorities taking concrete and verifiable steps towards ending their commission of the crimes of apartheid and persecution.”
  • HRW’s January 2022 “World Report” on “Israel and Palestine” opens, “Across two governments, each in power for roughly half of 2021, Israeli authorities doubled down on policies to repress Palestinians and privilege Jewish Israelis. The government’s policy of maintaining the domination of Jewish Israelis over Palestinians across Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), coupled with the particularly severe repression against Palestinians living in the OPT, amounts to the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution” (emphasis added).

Amnesty International

Amnesty claims that it does not “accept any funds for human rights research from governments or political parties.”

  • In February 2022, Amnesty published “Israel’s Apartheid against Palestinians: Cruel System of Domination and Crime against Humanity.”
    • In the embargoed draft Amnesty sent to journalists ahead of the publication of its January 2022 “apartheid” report, Amnesty wrote, “This system of Apartheid originated with the creation of Israel in May 1948 and has been build and maintained for decades.” Following extensive public criticism of its antisemitism before the report’s publication, Amnesty changed amended the line; however, the original language remains in materials posted by some Amnesty branches.
    • Throughout the report, Amnesty refers to Israeli policies designed to achieve “Jewish domination.”  For example:
      • “Israel has designed policies to maintain Jewish domination over the Palestinian economy through the exclusion of Palestinian communities inside Israel, and the creation of a regime of economic dependency in the OPT in the context of a prolonged military occupation.”
      • Its use recalls the infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion forgery - “This Protocol has, like the first, never been called in question by the Nation of Jewry. It reveals identically the same plans and purposes of the Jews for World domination and revenge which pervade them all” (emphasis added).
    • In describing Israel’s Law of Return, Amnesty writes “Palestinians – whether inside Israel or, later on, in the OPT – were perceived as a threat to establishing and maintaining a Jewish majority, and as a result were to be expelled, fragmented, segregated, controlled, dispossessed of their land and property and deprived of their economic and social rights.”
    • Referred to a pro-Hezbollah speech as “popular resistance to the Israeli occupation.”
  • Amnesty welcomed the February 2021 ICC Pre-Trial Chamber announcement that the Court has jurisdiction over the West Bank and Gaza and stated its hopethat this would pave the way to an investigation of - inter alia - “the crime of apartheid against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.”

International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH)

Government Funders:

European UnionSwedenFranceThe NetherlandsIreland



In an April 2021 statement, the international human rights NGO umbrella group announced, “Since 2013, FIDH has sounded the alarm on the crime of apartheid perpetrated by Israel. Today, after having greeted with satisfaction the historic decision made on 21 February 2021 by the Preliminary Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) confirming that the jurisdiction of the Court extends to Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and that, consequently, the Prosecutor is authorised to investigate the international crimes committed in these territories, FIDH is calling for investigation, in addition to war crimes, of all the facts, laws and practices testifying to the crime of apartheid.”

Diakonia

Government Funders:

European UnionSweden



Diakonia’s IHL Centre in Jerusalem commissioned an “expert opinion” (published March 23, 2021) by a British law professor, on “whether the prohibition of apartheid applies in situations of occupation and how it interacts with the law of occupation.” According to HRW, this was “provided” to them for their own report.

European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR)

Government Funders:

European UnionDenmarkSweden



In December 2020, the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) released “The end of Oslo: A new European strategy on Israel-Palestine,” claiming that “Israel has created a situation of egregious human rights violations and institutionalised discrimination that amounts to modern-day apartheid.”

Grant language from Western donors to Israeli and Palestinian NGOs has not yet explicitly used the term “apartheid” in connection to Israel. However, multiple grants have been awarded to NGOs leading the “apartheid” campaign that explicitly or implicitly direct them to engage with the ICC – a focal point of these efforts:

  • In August 2021-January 2022, the United Nations’ “oPt Humanitarian Fund,” managed by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA),  provided $194,255 to Al-Haq, Al Mezan, and the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) to conduct “Advocacy, monitoring and documentation of HR and IHL violations and related trends in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.”
    • According to the project description, “lawyers will also support in documentation of key incidents and collection of affidavits to build legal case files for future engagement with international justice mechanism [s]” (emphasis added), presumably referring to the ICC’s investigation against Israel.
  • In 2018, Switzerland provided CHF 20,000 to Addameer for “follow up for the submission to the ICC, and to file a new report” (emphasis added).
  • Also in 2018, Switzerland provided CHF 280,000 to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) for “Conduct[ing] communications with the Office of the General Prosecutor of the ICC and other intn’l litigation mechanisms” (emphasis added) (On file with NGO Monitor).
  • Switzerland also provided CHF 77,221 to Al-Dameer in 2017-2019 so that the NGO would “provide[d] information and reports to the International Criminal Court on human rights violations committed by the IOF [Israeli Occupation Forces]” (emphasis added) (On file with NGO Monitor).
  • In addition, in 2021, Al-Haq researcher Rania Muhareb received a scholarship from the Irish government to for her PhD work on “The relevance of the apartheid framework for Palestine and other ongoing contexts of institutionalised racial oppression and domination.”

Major Reports

  1. False Knowledge as Power: Deconstructing Definitions of Apartheid that Delegitimise the Jewish State, December 9, 2021 (See press release relating to this report)
  2. Analyzing Amnesty’s Antisemitic Apartheid Attack, January 31, 2022
  3. HRW’s “Apartheid” Publication: Demonization, BDS, and Lawfare, April 25, 2021
  4. From the “River to the Sea”: B’Tselem’s Demonization Crosses the Line, January 19, 2021

In the Media

  1. Nazi terminology is being rebranded as 'human rights', February 19, 2022
  2. Amnesty’s apartheid lies abet global anti-Semitism, February 8, 2022
  3. ZFA Conversations 2022 - Exposing the lies of the Amnesty report: Webinar with Professor Gerald M Steinberg and Anne Herzberg, February 7, 2022
  4. Gerald M. Steinberg : 'Europe and the 'Apartheid' Propaganda War, February 7, 2022
  5. Amnesty's war on fundamental principle of Zionism, February 2, 2022 (See also in Hebrew)
  6. The Israel-Apartheid Lie: A Brief History, January 31, 2022
  7. European Funding for Palestinian NGOs as Political Subcontracting, November 30, 2021
  8. [Opinion] Devious Human Rights Watch diminishes significance of apartheid, May 4, 2021
  9. [Opinion] Lie that won’t die: Israel practises ‘apartheid’, April 29, 2021
  10. [Opinion] Accusing Israel of apartheid echoes the ugliness of racists like the AWB, January 19, 2021

Other Reports

  1. Amnesty’s “Apartheid” Report: Recycled Tropes in the Guise of Research, February 6, 2022
  2. HRW’s Inconsistency and Incoherence Continues: EJIL: Talk! Symposium on A Threshold Crossed, August 11, 2021
  3. Uncomfortable truths: how HRW errs in its definition of “Israeli apartheid”, what is missing, and what are the implications?, July 7, 2021
  4. HRW, Other NGOs Join "Apartheid" Event, Along with Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, PFLP, June 17, 2021
  5. NGOs Intensify Apartheid Demonization Campaign, April 25, 2021
  6. NGO Apartheid State Campaign: Deliberately Immoral or Intellectually Lazy?, March 22, 2010