Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI)
|Founded||1972; based in Tel Aviv, with branches in Jerusalem, Nazareth, and Be’er Sheva.|
|In their own words||“Committed to promoting the universality of human rights and defending the human rights and civil liberties of all, regardless of religion, nationality, gender, ethnicity, political affiliation, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic background.”|
- In 2021, total income was NIS 9.4 million; total expenses were NIS 8.9 million.
- Donors include: European Union, Norway, Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (joint funding from Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, and the Netherlands), Netherlands, The Middle East Partnership Initiative (US), Diakonia (Sweden), Christian Aid (UK), Bread for the World-EED (Germany), Oxfam, and Rosa Luxemberg (Germany).
- Based on financial information submitted to the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits, in accordance with the Israeli NGO transparency law, ACRI received NIS 22,718,695 from foreign governmental bodies in 2012-2021 (see chart below for detailed funding information).
- According to annual reports, donations from foreign governments comprised 21.8% of total donations, from 2017-2019.
- In 2019-2022, ACRI was an implementing partner on a €299,988 project funded by the European Union for “Democratizing Israeli democracy: accountable, transparent, inclusive and participatory governance, and respect for human rights in Israel.”
- In 2018-2020, the EU also provided ACRI with €299,988 for “eradicating racism and discrimination in Israel through government compliance with decision 2254(ETP/16).” The objective of the project was “to eradicate institutionalized discrimination in Israeli national and local government bodies and law enforcement agencies,” by overseeing the Israel government decision 2254 (ETP/16), which aims at “address[ing] criticisms of police behavior toward Israelis of Ethiopian descent and to improve its relations with that community.”
- In 2017-2020, the New Israel Fund (NIF) authorized grants worth $2,897,073 to ACRI.
- Views “international advocacy as an essential channel through which to advance key human rights concerns in Israel and the Occupied Territories.”
- Submits reports to UN committees, meets with foreign diplomats and government representatives, and participates in international conferences and NGO networks.
- Publishes reports and organizes public events alleging “violations committed by the Israeli authorities in Israel, the Occupied Territories, or elsewhere.”
- Accuses the Israeli government of implementing “racist” and “discriminatory” policies of “collective punishment” in “violation of international law.”
- Publishes an online database, “Information Center for Demonstrators in the Occupied Territories,” funded by the European Union, presenting a biased and one-sided narrative as well as false and distorted legal claims. Many of the legal claims are inapplicable in a situation of “occupation”; therefore, the territory cannot, as claimed by ACRI, both be “occupied” and also benefit from the selected “rights” as presented by the NGO.
- In January 2022, ACRI published an article accusing the Jewish National Fund of “foresting” – planting new forests – as a “tool for seizing as much land as possible and preventing the Bedouin communities from accessing their lands.”
- In October 2021, ACRI signed a joint statement condemning the decision by the Israeli Ministry to designate six Palestinian NGOs as terrorist organizations. According to the statement, “The Minister of Defense’s designation of prominent Palestinian civil society organizations, among them our colleagues in the Palestinian human rights community, as terrorist organizations, is a draconian measure that criminalizes critical human rights work.”
- Following the designations, ACRI tweeted, “We stand in solidarity with human rights orgs, and call on the Minister of Defense to withdraw his decision immediately – a decision that is seemingly a continuation of the Israeli authorities’ delegitimization campaign against these and other civil society orgs.”
- In January 2021, ACRI, alongside a number of Israeli, Palestinian, and international organizations, issued a declaration headlined “Israel must provide necessary vaccines to Palestinian health care systems.” The NGOs falsely claim that Israel has “legal obligations” to “ensure that quality vaccines be provided to Palestinians living under Israeli occupation and control,” while altogether ignoring that Palestinians residing in Jerusalem are part of the Israeli health care system; that under the Oslo Accords the PA is responsible for health care of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza; and that the PA has adopted its own vaccine policy for its population.
- In September 2019, ACRI was a signatory on a statement “condemn[ing]” the IDF’s raid of the office of Palestinian NGO Addameer. According to the statement, “It is through the work of organizations such as Addameer that Palestinians and Israelis can struggle against the ongoing, catastrophic damage caused by the occupation.”
- In April 2018, ACRI, together with Yesh Din, Gisha, and Hamoked, petitioned the High Court of Justice demanding that the “Court order the cancellation of open-fire regulations allowing IDF soldiers to fire live ammunition at demonstrators who do not endanger the lives of soldiers on the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip.” The petition ignores the violent nature of the protests, which included Molotov cocktails, arson, and attempts to breach the border fence with Israel.
- In February 2018, ACRI filed a petition in the Lod District Court representing Breaking the Silence when it was denied a speaking engagement in Moshav Gan Yoshiya by the local committee due to its political nature. Following the petition, the committee retracted its decision. According to ACRI attorney Tal Hassin, the ruling “makes it clear that there is no legal basis for the methodical attempts to block the entry of Breaking the Silence and other organizations to which opposition exists.”
- In 2018, ACRI launched the campaign “50 Years – A State Without Borders: People Without Human Rights” accusing Israel of turning Gaza into an “open-air prison” and of “grave violations of individual and collective human rights of the Palestinian people.” According to the campaign, “For 50 years, under the auspices of the occupation-annexation obscurity, the boundaries of the State of Israel have been blurred, the red lines have been repeatedly crossed, and Palestinians’ rights have been systematically violated.”
- Submitted a January 2014 position paper to the Knesset opposing a bill that would ban the use of Nazi symbols, claiming that the “question of the social legitimacy of holocaust symbolism within political and public discourse is big question that deserves to be fully and freely aired and discussed amongst the wider public.”
- ACRI is one of the most politically active NGOs in opposing Israeli policy regarding the Bedouin in the Negev. Published a 2013 position paper, together with Israeli NGO Bimkom, urging “Members of Knesset to vote against the [Prawer-Begin] bill,” maintaining that it “only causes problems, mistrust and alienation of Bedouin citizens”. The position paper claims that the Bedouin are the “original inhabitants of the Negev” and that “[a]fter the establishment of the state, Israel began to ignore the existence of the Bedouin villages in all planning laws and master plans, and disregarded their property rights”. This approach seeks to demonize Israel in the international arena by advancing the idea that the Bedouin are the native and legitimate residents of the land and that Israel is a foreign, occupying power.
- On December 16, 2012, published its annual “Situation Report” on “The State of Human Rights in Israel and the OPT,” claiming that Israel faces a “bleak situation in nearly every category of rights.” ACRI fails to provide references, corroborative information, or comparative data for the majority of its claims; the citations that were included often point to other ACRI reports or to other biased political advocacy NGOs. The analysis does not include detailed background, alternative explanations and perspectives, or a discussion of the complexities in balancing competing human rights principles.
- In June 2012, ACRI, along with Bimkom, accused Israel of practicing “zoning Apartheid” in Area C of the West Bank.
- Hedva Radovanitz, former head of ACRI’s Tel Aviv office, told U.S. embassy officials in February 2010 “that she believed that in 100 years Israel would be majority Arab and that the disappearance of a Jewish state would not be the tragedy that Israelis fear since it would become more democratic.” (emphasis added)
- Published a 2010 report, “Unsafe Space: The Israeli Authorities’ Failure to Protect Human Rights amid Settlements in East Jerusalem,” which erases Jewish historical connections to Jerusalem, as well as the political context and history of the conflict.
- Member of the “Displacement Work Group,” an initiative of Badil and OCHA to “monitor human rights violations (evictions, home demolitions, land confiscations) resulting in the displacement of people from their lands and communities,” along with: Addameer, Al-Haq, Al-Mezan, AIC, ARIJ, Badil, Bimkom, B’Tselem, CARE Intnl., DCI – Palestine section, Diakonia, EAPPI, Ir Amim, Maan Development Ctr, Medical Aid for Palestinians, Oxfam UK, Oxfam Solidarite – Belgium, PA Govt. Spokesperson, PCHR, RHR, Society of St. Yves, Save the Children UK, Shatil, UNFPA, Stop the Wall, UNFPA, WCLAC, World Vision, and Yesh Din.
- ACRI is a member of the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH). The FIDH, which is funded by multiple European governments, is a major leader of BDS campaigns worldwide. The group, composed of 178 member organizations, supported campaigns including the BDS campaign against Orange (2015), promoted the EU product labeling guidelines, and participated in the NGO campaign at the UN Human Rights Council to establish a Commission of Inquiry targeting Israel following the 2014 Gaza War.
Foreign donations (amounts in NIS)
2018-2019 amounts based on NGO annual financial reports; 2020-2022 amounts based on quarterly financial reports submitted to the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits.
|Bread for the World- EED (Germany)||70,722||870,645||966,889||881,649||816,259|
|Christian Aid (UK)||64,907||152,898||84,412||147,607|
|Friedrich Ebert Stiftung||28,000|
|Norwegian Refugee Council||100,210||207,409||68,865|
|Open Society Institute||371,700|
|Sigrid Rausing Trust||705,334||705,867|
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