In July-August 2020, Jewish Voice for Peace – Boston and the Palestinian non-governmental organization (NGO) BADIL held a series of webinars aimed at “raising awareness in the USA…on the current obstacles and challenges facing the Palestinian people in their struggle for liberation.” Topics included annexation, President Trump’s “peace plan,” “Segregation, Fragmentation and Isolation,” and conditional funding.
- One of the sessions focused on EU requirement in contracts with NGOs that prohibits grantees from working with and funding organizations and individuals designated on the EU’s terror lists (such as Hamas, Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine). During the webinar, BADIL’s Head of Administration & Financial Affairs Unit Lubnah Shomali justified BADIL’s decision not to sign on to the contract: “What the clause does is if a Palestinian organization were to sign on to the granting contract, it would be as if they agree with the classifications for these organizations as terrorist organizations. It would effectively mean that we agree with the criminalization of our resistance movement and the history of resistance and struggle of our people.” According to Shomali, “Our resistance cannot be classified as terrorism. We can be accused of implementing terrorist acts, but it’s not the same as being classified as being a terrorist organization and being denied funding” (emphasis added).
- One webinar, which discussed the prospects of annexation of parts of the West Bank, promoted BDS tactics. According to Shomali, the international community is obligated by international law to stand up to annexation by “cutting diplomatic ties, establishing arms embargo[s], ending trade relations, [and] prosecution of individuals or entities that implemented the annexation.” She also stated that BDS is a “legitimate form of nonarmed resistance sanctioned under international law…to pressure to adhere to international law. We’ve seen it in other instances of colonialism and apartheid.”
- During the webinars, BADIL also supported the decision of the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Fatou Bensouda to investigate alleged war crimes in the “State of Palestine.” Shomali referred to the decision as “a very good thing…a positive…a win within the legal avenue or the legal advocacy resistance form …legal advocacy is a mechanism. These legal frameworks are mechanisms of nonarmed resistance for Palestinians and we are using them” (emphasis added). While Shomali acknowledged she is a “firm believer in international legal frameworks,” she felt it was more important to use “the more powerful mechanisms” of Palestinian civil society.
Both Jewish Voice for Peace and BADIL are known proponents of BDS campaigns, and regularly utilize antisemitic rhetoric and promote demonization campaigns against Israel’s existence.
Background on Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP)
- JVP’s strategy is to create “a wedge” within the American Jewish community, while working toward the goal of eliminating US economic, military, and political aid to Israel.
- JVP is a leader of BDS campaigns in a variety of different forums, including with local governments and on university campuses.
- In June 2017, JVP launched the “Deadly Exchange” campaign, that ostensibly aims to “end police exchange programs between the US and Israel.” The goal, however, is to malign the organized Jewish community and exclude it from progressive circles. JVP falsely claims that by supporting police exchange programs with Israel, American Jewish organizations such as AIPAC, ADL, Birthright, and others are contributing to and enabling violence against minorities in America. The initial “Deadly Exchange” video urged viewers to “hold accountable the Jewish institutions who run and fund the deadly exchange.” As a result of JVP lobbying, the Durham, North Carolina City Council voted in April 2018 to ban joint training activities with the Israel Police.
- JVP has embraced and advocated on behalf of Palestinian terrorists such as Ahmed Sa’adat and Rasmea Odeh. Similarly, JVP regularly justifies and excuses Palestinian violence.
- Rasmea Odeh, a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) operative, was convicted for immigration fraud after concealing her role in two terrorist bombings in Israel. The PFLP is designated as a terrorist organization by the US, EU, Canada, and Israel.
- PFLP General Secretary Ahmed Sa’adat was sentenced to 30 years in prison for heading an “illegal terrorist organization,” as well as for his involvement in planning many of the group’s attacks, such as the assassination of Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze’evi.
Background on BADIL
- BADIL was founded to promote a Palestinian “right of return” and is a leader of international BDS campaigns. BADIL holds annual “right of return contests” and has published antisemitic cartoons on its website, as well as imagery promoting the elimination of Israel, which is a widely recognized form of antisemitism. A cartoon that won a monetary prize for 2nd prize in BADIL’s 2010 Al-Awda Nakba caricature competition is a blatant representation of classic antisemitic tropes, including a Jewish man, garbed in traditional Hasidic attire, with a hooked nose and side locks.
- On December 30, 2019, BADIL and other Palestinian NGOs launched a “Palestinian National Campaign to Reject Conditional Funding.” The campaign, which rejects the European Union’s “politically conditioned funding” and “so-called anti-terrorism clauses and policies,” claims that such conditions “have reached an unacceptable level that stipulates the signing of the provisions on preventing terrorism that affect the history and struggle of our people” (emphasis added). The campaign further justifies the use of violence and claims that the “Palestinian resistance factions are not terrorist organizations” (see video clip). (See more on conditional funding above.)