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Avaaz

Profile

Country/TerritoryUnited States
Websitehttp://www.avaaz.org/en/about.php
Founded2007 by “Res Publica, a global civic advocacy group, and Moveon.org,” a George Soros-funded organization involved in ideological and political campaigns in the United States.
In their own wordsTo empower “millions of people from all walks of life to take action on pressing global, regional and national issues, from corruption and poverty to conflict and climate change.”

Funding

  • In 2016, total income was $18 million; total expenses were $17.9 million.
  • Maintains that “Avaaz is wholly member-funded” and that “[n]o corporate sponsor or government backer can insist that Avaaz shift its priorities to suit some external agenda.”

Activities

  • Avaaz is an online political campaign framework by “Res Publica, a global civic advocacy group, and Moveon.org,” a George Soros-funded organization involved in ideological and political campaigns in the United States.
  • Campaigns in “15 languages, served by a core team on 6 continents and thousands of volunteers.”
  • Activities include “signing petitions, funding media campaigns and direct actions, emailing, calling and lobbying governments, and organizing ‘offline’ protests and events.”

Political Advocacy

Anti-Israel Activities

  • In January 2018, Avaaz created a petition calling for the release of Ahed Tamimi, who was charged with assaulting a soldier and incitement to terrorism. Avaaz released an accompanying fact-sheet on child prisoners that repeated the factually inaccurate and misleading claims made by the NGOs behind the No Way to Treat a Child Campaign. (For a complete discussion of these inaccuracies, see NGO Monitor’s reports “The Origins of ‘No Way to Treat a Child’: Analyzing UNICEF’s Report on Palestinian Minors” and “No Way to Represent a Child: Defense for Children International Palestine’s Distortions of the Israeli Justice System.”)
  • In August 2016, Avaaz, alongside Alyn Smith, a member of the European Parliament for Scotland, initiated a petition against Google calling to “show the Annexation Wall in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, as well as all the checkpoints throughout Palestine, immediately. Not doing so puts people’s lives at risk and hides the unjust reality on the ground. Google’s motto is ‘Don’t be evil’, but by providing an inaccurate and distorted map service, Google is not fulfilling its ethical responsibility to its users.”
  • In July 2016, Avaaz hosted a petition titled “Lift the Gaza Blockade,” calling to “stop this injustice” and “Lift the Gaza Blockade,” as “this blockade is a violation of international law.”
  • Avaaz teamed up with the anti-Israel, pro-BDS group Jewish Voice for Peace during the 2013 AIPAC Policy Conference purchasing hundreds of anti-AIPAC billboards posted in downtown Washington, DC subway stations. The billboards said “AIPAC does not speak for me. Most Jewish Americans are pro­-peace. AIPAC is not.”
  • Initiated a 2011 campaign, “Palestine: the time is now,” aimed at pressuring the UK, France, and Germany to support a Palestinian bid for recognition at the United Nations by conducting protests outside EU offices and “run[ning] 3 urgent public opinion polls that clearly show these leaders that their people support recognition, and flood[ing] the media with full page ads.” The petition and accompanying video titled “Middle East Peace – The Real Story” promote the Palestinian narrative, claiming that “US-led peace initiatives have failed for decades, while Israel has confined the Palestinian people, confiscated their lands and blocked Palestine from becoming a sovereign political entity.” While Avaaz’s PR initiative on statehood was uncritically cited by numerous media outlets, an independent analysis expressed concerns that this represents “astroturfing” – “the manufacture of fake ‘grassroots’ campaigns.”
  • Called for members to participate in the Sheikh Jarrah protests, providing a distorted account of the situation and using highly offensive, racially-charged rhetoric: “the unjust eviction of Palestinians, losing their homes in the aggressive Judaization of East Jerusalem” (emphasis in original).
  • Initiated a 2009 campaign, “Gaza: Full ceasefire, end the blockade,” calling on the UN Security Council, the European Union, the Arab League and the USA to “act immediately to ensure a comprehensive ceasefire in the Gaza Strip,” claiming that “Gaza lies in ruins and its people are still blockaded,” placing responsibility for the conflict on Israel and omitting Hamas terror attacks, as well as legitimate Israeli security concerns.

BDS Activities

  • In June 2018, following Argentina’s soccer team refusing to play in Israel, Avaaz campaign director Alice Jay, stated that Avaaz is “celebrating the Argentinian team’s brave ethical decision. This proves Argentina understands there is nothing friendly about playing in Jerusalem, when just miles away Israelis snipers are shooting unarmed protesters.” Fadi Quran, senior campaigner at Avaaz, further thanked Argentina for “taking a moral stance and reminding the world that Palestinians lives matter.” Avaaz ignored the death threats against the Argentinian team, as well as incitement from Jibril Rajoub, president of the Palestinian Football Association, who was suspended for 1 year from FIFA for demanding that “everyone burn their [Messi] shirts and pictures and renounce him”.
  • In May 2018, Avaaz launched a petition titled “Palestinian Lives Matter! Sanction Israel,” calling on Foreign Ministers, Trade Ministers, and Heads of State to “bring sanctions on key Israeli industries until Palestinians are granted full and equal civil rights.”
    • This campaign included a monument of 4,500 shoes set up outside the Council of the European Union, “one pair for every life lost in this conflict in the last decade,” as “Citizens across Europe have one clear message for our governments: Palestinian lives matter to us and they need to matter to you. As Israel’s largest trading partner and political ally, it is our moral responsibility to send a clear signal to Netanyahu’s government that the violence must stop. What is happening in Palestine is a modern-day apartheid, and for Europe to turn a blind eye to that does not protect Israel: it only undermines our humanity.”
  • In February 2018, Avaaz called for Irish senators to “take action to prohibit the sale of goods produced in Israeli settlements built, in violation of international law, on stolen Palestinian land” and support the Irish BDS bill, which would make it illegal for Irish citizens and residents to import or sell “settlement goods” or to provide or attempt to provide “settlement services,”
  • On February 9, 2015, Fadi Quran, senior campaigner at Avaaz, showed his support for a resolution that called on Stanford University to divest from corporations that “maintain the occupation of Palestine” stating that the “Israeli government is spending over 100 million Shekels to stop the spread of divestment, and even paying college students to work for them, but that’s not working because: No amount of money or weapons can stop this epic pursuit of dignity and justice.”
  • In January 2015, Avaaz had a petition calling West Bank settlements a “war crime” and calling on Facebook to “ban all advertisements for settlement homes or settlement based products from showing on Facebook.”
  • In September 2014, Avaaz hosted a petition calling for Prime Minister David Cameron to “stop selling arms to Israel & Russia now.” According to the petition, “UK government has announced the suspension of all arms exports to Russia. But it’s still happily shipping weapons to Israel, despite the horrific civilian casualties in Gaza. Let’s keep up the pressure until they stop doing so.”
  • Its petition on the 2014 Gaza War called on banks, businesses, and pension funds to divest funds from Israel. The petition claims: “The only way to stop this hellish cycle of Israel confiscating Palestinian lands, daily collective punishment of innocent Palestinian families…is to make the economic cost of this conflict too high to bear.” The petition accuses Israel of committing “war crimes,” targeting civilians, “occup[ying], colonis[ing], bomb[ing], raids” and  “creat[ing] the largest open-air prison in the world.”
    • In a highly ideological and distorted response to criticism of this campaign, Campaign Director Alice Jay claimed that “our campaign offers one of the few directions that can save Israel as we know it….Extremists on both sides (Including both Netanyahu and Hamas) are the true threat to the kind of peace that reasonable people seek.”
    • The statement also asserted, “To address the violence we need to address the decades long dispossession of the Palestinian people and the occupation of millions.”
    • Jay pretentiously concluded, “If you’re an Avaaz member outraged by our campaign, it’s possible that you’re a very good, socially conscious person that just does not know how awful the Israeli occupation, colonisation and repression of Palestinians has been.”

Advocacy against FIFA

  • On January 5, 2017, Avaaz, Human Rights Watch, and the European Middle East Project (EuMEP) sent a letter to Gianni Infantino, president of FIFA, and Fatma Samoura, Secretary General of FIFA,  writing that “continuing to allow the IFA to hold games in settlements is itself a deeply political act: a decision to endorse football matches on stolen land and to flout FIFA’s human rights responsibilities and the overwhelming consensus of the international community against settlements and against the attempts of the Israeli government to treat parts of the West Bank as if they were part of Israel.”
  • In March 2017, Fadi Quran, senior campaigner at Avaaz, stated, “There is only one non-political, fair solution: no more FIFA games in illegal Israeli settlements built on stolen Palestinian land.”
  • As part of ongoing campaigns against Israel, Avaaz published an online petition demanding that “the Israeli Football Association either removes the settlement football clubs from its membership or relocates them outside the illegal settlements. If the Israeli Football Association doesn’t comply it must lose its membership with FIFA.” According to the petition, “Israel is trying to persuade [FIFA official Tokyo Sexwale] to do nothing. But if enough of us raise our voices and make this a massive call to Sexwale, who has lofty political ambitions, we could push FIFA to hold the Israeli Football Association accountable.”
  • In May 2015, Avaaz published a petition “48 hours for FIFA to ban Israel” aiming “to suspend Israel until it respects fair play and ends discrimination.”

Staff

  • Co-founder Ricken Patel also serves on the advisory board of lobby group J Street.
  • Fadi Quran, senior campaigner at Avaaz, is also an Al-Shabaka Policy Member and former UN Advocacy Officer with Al-Haq.
    • On May 23, 2016, Quran spoke at a Students for Justice in Palestine event titled “Disrupting Israeli Apartheid: Civil Disobedience in Palestine.”
    • In April 2016, Quran tweeted “How can you #CelebrateFreedom when you oppress millions of Palestinians? #CelebrateApartheid is a more potent hashtag.”
    • In May 2014, Quran promoted a petition to “hold Israeli commanders and soldiers accountable for killings in Palestine by calling for US and EU travel bans.”
    • In May 2011, in a phone interview with Democracy Now!, Quran accused Israel of “ethnic cleansing of over 700,000 Palestinians” and stated that Israel was “created under this ideology that was racist.”

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