On February 24, 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine, sparking a devastating humanitarian crisis. To date, millions of civilians have been displaced, amidst massive damage to homes and civilian infrastructure.

As with many other events that capture international attention, anti-Israel NGOs and activists appropriate the situation to further their own agendas and to promote demonization, in the form of BDS and other attacks on Israel. Many cited Western sanctions against Russian entities and individuals as a blueprint for targeting Israel, and lamented the lack of enthusiasm for such policies vis-a-vis Israel. Others sought to equate Ukrainian defense against invading forces with Palestinian “resistance,” i.e., terrorism.

Such comparisons distort the history and nature of the Israeli-Arab conflict and erase decades of Palestinian terrorism directed at Israeli civilians.  Moreover, the apparent deliberate targeting of civilian infrastructure by Russian forces is contrasted with Israel’s extensive efforts to avoid civilian casualties while conducting defensive military operations, including through the “roof-knock” technique and dropping leaflets to encourage civilians to vacate areas where military targets are located.

The following are quotes from selected NGOs reacting to the outbreak of war between Russia and Ukraine by castigating Israel:

Al Haq

Main funders: European Union, Sweden, Denmark

  • In a March 6 interview, Al Haq director Shawan Jabarin stated that “the International Criminal Court’s rapid investigation into the Ukraine crisis reveals the selective use of international laws, as hundreds of files submitted from the State of Palestine have not been studied so far.”

Applied Research Institute Jerusalem (ARIJ)

  • On March 9, ARIJ released a statement bearing the EU logo and expressing “concerns about the Russian-Ukranian conflict’s repercussions regarding the Palestinians.” The antisemitic statement called on the International Criminal Court “to prevent the Jewish Ukrainian immigrants from colonizing the occupied Palestinian lands, which is [also] a war crime,” and absurdly claimed that “inviting 100 thousand Ukranian Jews to colonize…will shatter the two-state solution.”

Human Rights Watch

  • On March 6, Israel and Palestine Director Omar Shakir tweeted in response to Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky’s announcement that his company would suspend operations in Russia and Belarus: “Sorry Brian, @Airbnb brokers rentals in illegal West Bank settlements on land stolen from a ppl under occupation who are barred from staying there. Principles tested in times of challenge/controversy—not comfort/convenience—as MLK said. You failed that one.”
  • Former director of HRW’s Middle East Division Sarah Leah Whitson was quoted in a March 7 Guardian article stating that there are “clear parallels” between alleged Russian and Israeli violations of international law: “We see that not just the US government but US companies are falling over themselves to sanction and boycott anything that has an association with the Russian government…Contrast that with the exact opposite when it comes to sanctioning Israel for its violations of international law to the point where American states are passing laws to punish Americans unless they promise never to boycott Israel. It’s very clear that the grounds for resisting sanctions on Israel, or even compliance with international law, is purely political.”


Main funders: European Union, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland

  • In a March 6 column in +972 Magazine, executive board member Orly Noy compared the plight of Ukranian refugees to that of Palestinians: “The demand that Ukrainian refugees pay a large deposit to deter them from remaining long term indicates that, for Israel, the condition of being a refugee is supposed to end the moment the danger passes…Yet Palestinian refugees, who Israel itself created in 1948, are barred from returning to their homeland, even seven decades after the end of the war.”

Kerem Navot

Main funders: Belgium, Sweden, Germany

  • On March 1, director Dror Etkes tweeted: “War in Ukraine = Continued violent takeover of the West Bank.”

Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP)

Main funders: Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Tides Foundation

  • “Our anti-war stance is consistent with our demand that the US stop all military funding to Israel and end its complicity in Israeli occupation, apartheid, and ethnic cleansing — all of which are violations of the same “international law” US leaders invoke in the case of Russia.” (Twitter, February 24)
  • “While Israeli violence in Gaza is directly funded by the US government to the tune of $3.8 billion per year, the US refuses to withdraw this funding and impose the kind of sanctions it has so readily vowed to impose on Russia.” (Twitter, February 24)
  • “Some bombing images purported to be from Ukraine are actually from Palestine. If these images are moving us to action and sympathy for Ukraine — and provoking the US to impose aggressive sanctions on Russia — they should do the same for Palestine and Israel, respectively.” (Twitter, February 24)

Adalah Justice Project

Main funders: EU, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium via Adalah

  • “Palestinians wrote the playbook on how to stop an authoritarian occupation; it’s called BDS. Seeing that playbook applied against Russia is surely something to behold while Israel faces no consequences.” (Twitter, March 1)


Main funders: Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Tides Foundation

  • “The Israeli government is taking a more aggressive approach to an ice cream company founded by two American Jews than to Russia’s war crimes against Ukraine.” (Twitter, March 1)
  • “It’s good that these governments are taking concrete action to stand in solidarity with the Ukrainians and hold the Russian government accountable. It’s wrong that they prohibit concrete action to stand in solidarity with Palestinians and hold the Israeli government accountable.” (Twitter, February 27)
  • “All of a sudden, the state of Israel is against violent military occupations.” (Twitter, February 26)

Al Shabaka

Main funders: Switzerland, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Open Society Foundation, Foundation for Middle East Peace, Heinrich Boell Stiftung

  • “This world is hysterical. Israel, a settler-colonial state, decries Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia decries Israel’s expansion of illegal settlements in occupied Golan Heights. Must be getting tight over there in occupiers’ camp.” – Marwa Fatafta, Policy Analyst (Twitter, February 24)
  • “Highlighting the double standards of international response to Ukrainian armed resistance compared to other non-White struggles such as Palestine is not a competition for attention. It’s highlighting how inherently racist attitudes and perceptions are to our struggles.” – Mariam Barghouti, (Twitter, February 28)

American Muslims for Palestine

  • “The world, especially Europe should be just as outraged about #apartheid in #Palestine as they are about the crisis in #Ukraine. What we’ve seen proves that the West indeed understands the power of accountability, however, Israel remains an exception!” #SanctionIsrael“ (Twitter, March 5)
  • On March 2, AMP Chairman Hatem Bazian wrote an article, “Palestine: Ten Lessons from Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine.” According to Bazian, “Volunteering to fight in defense of the Ukraine from outside is a heroic act, which indeed it is, but volunteering to resist settler colonialism and Apartheid is framed as ‘terrorism’ by Western powers. Lesson three, Palestinians are demonized no matter what heroic acts they undertake.”


  • “Every news channel in the US is undoubtedly talking about Russia’s invasion and occupation of Ukraine. But when it comes to US-supported Israeli occupation? Silence. #FreePalestine” (Twitter, March 3)

Palestine Legal

Main funders: Rockefeller Brothers Fund

  • On February 28, Palestine Legal senior staff attorney Radhika Sainaith told Mondoweiss, “The hypocrisy is epic…It seems that when it comes to boycotts against a foreign military invader, there are different standards depending on whose lives are at stake.”

Electronic Intifada

  • “Everyone has a right to resist. But have you ever seen such glowing and supportive coverage of even unarmed Palestinian resistance to Western-backed Israeli occupation? They are afraid to even mention Palestine. If all this does not open your eyes …” – Ali Abunimah, (Twitter, February 26)

Center for Constitutional Rights

Main funders: Tides Foundation, Ford Foundation, Open Society Foundation

  • Retweeted a link to the article On Watching Ukraine Through Palestinian Eyes (March 4):
    • “When Ukrainians prepare Molotov cocktails to use in resistance against the Russian military, we will call them freedom fighters—and The New York Times memorializes their efforts with expertly produced videos of the explosive-making process. When Palestinians do so against the Israeli military, they are invariably shot and killed by a Western-financed weapon in the hands of an Israeli soldier, whom we will then shield from accountability at the United Nations and the International Criminal Court.”

Foundation for Middle East Peace

Main funders: Open Society Foundation

  • The Double Standard on BDS – Russia/Ukraine vs. Israel/Palestine (March 3)
    • “In this episode of Occupied Thoughts, FMEP’s Lara Friedman speaks to Yousef Munayyer (Arab Center DC) about how the near global embrace of boycotts, divestment, and sanctions against Russia in response to its military assault on Ukraine contrasts to longstanding, far-reaching efforts to delegitimize, quash, and even criminalize these same tactics as a response to Israel’s systematic violence against Palestinians and violations of Palestinian rights.”

Arab American Institute

  • Omar Baddar, director- “I dream of the day armed Palestinian resistance to foreign invaders & occupiers in their homeland is treated by American media with the same sympathy & lionization that Ukrainian resistance is rightly portrayed.” (Twitter, February 27

Canadian Jews for Peace in the Middle East (CJPME)

  • On February 28, CJPME released a podcast episode under the headline “Canada’s Ukraine Response Highlights Extreme Double-Standard on Palestine,” stating, “Canada’s reaction to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last week has been prompt, forceful and wide-ranging. But there are obvious similarities between Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and Israel’s aggression against the Palestinians, raising questions about the consistency of Canada’s foreign policy.”
  • On March 8, CJPME released a position paper noting “the discrepancy in Canadian measures as applied to Russia and Israel,” urging “the consistent application in all cases of violations of international law.”