Combatants for Peace

Profile

Country/TerritoryIsrael
Websitehttp://cfpeace.org/
In their own words“raise the consciousness in both publics regarding the hopes and suffering of the other side, and to create partners in dialogue”; “educate towards reconciliation and non-violent struggle in both the Israeli and Palestinian societies”; “create political pressure on both Governments to stop the cycle of violence, end the occupation and resume a constructive dialog.”

Funding

Activities

  • According to its website, the “‘Combatants for Peace’ movement was started jointly by Palestinians and Israelis, who have taken an active part in the cycle of violence; Israelis as soldiers in the Israeli army (IDF) and Palestinians as part of the violent struggle for Palestinian freedom. After brandishing weapons for so many years, and having seen one another only through weapon sights, we have decided to put down our guns, and to fight for peace.”

Political Advocacy

  • While claiming to “allow each side to understand the other’s narrative,” Combatants for Peace activities reflect a strong affiliation with the Palestinian agenda and narrative, placing most of the blame for the conflict on “the occupation.”
  • According to Combatants for Peace, as of 2015 it met “with ministers and political parties, in order to promote it’s (sic) positions into the political scene. On the Palestinian side, members of the movement have met the president Mr. Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) twice….” Combatants for Peace does not indicate whether it meets with Israeli officials.
  • Organizes “alternative” Remembrance Day ceremonies, featuring the families of fallen Israeli soldiers and victims of terror, as well as the families of Palestinian terrorists. The ceremony equates acts of terror with measures of defense, diminishing the importance of commemorating those who fell defending the state of Israel.
  • Organizes political theatre performances in the West Bank, titled “Theatre of the Oppressed,” in which members “take examples of suppression from their own personal experiences.” The performances “take place on the ground: in the village or at the road-block” in an effort to “present[] an opportunity for non-violent resistance.”
  • In July 2017, Combatants for Peace was featured in a documentary produced by Trocaire (Ireland) titled “This is Palestine,” on “the impact of ongoing conflict and military occupation on the people who live there.” The documentary makes numerous false and biased claims regarding Palestinian access to water, as well as ignoring the context of terrorism against Israelis.
  • In February 2014, Combatants for Peace, together with leaders of the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI), Shatil, and Mossawamet with European Parliament President Martin Schultz. At the meeting, the NGOs presented a letter to Schultz accusing Israel of “population transfer” and “forced displacement” and urging the European Union to take action to influence Israeli policy in the region.
  • During a panel of fringe NGO activists as part of a May 2014 conference on “transitional justice” organized by Hebrew University’s Minerva  Center, a representative for Combatants for Peace, Larry Lester, made the following comments1:
    • “We demonstrate against expropriating land for settlements; against activities carried out by the army, the settlers, and the secret service . . . To avoid violence we try and take ahold of our demonstrations and have a circus in front of the army.” He also noted that a feature of these demonstrations is to “bring kids from the villages around.” He claimed that Israel has implemented “road closures” in the West Bank because “settlers don’t like smell of Palestinians going down their roads.”
    • “CFP is essentially an activist organization to draw pressure of course on the Israeli government; only way change will come about is through int’l pressure; if we don’t get press coverage for an event, we regard it as a total failure.”
  • Combatants for Peace was part of the 2009 “Remove the Siege – Stop the War” coalition that stood “in defiance of the siege and the destruction and military bombardment…being exercised in Gaza with careless disregard…[and] protest the ongoing massacre” in partnership with highly politicized NGOs, including: New ProfileAlternative Information CenterIsraeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD)Coalition of Women for Peace, and others.

American Friends of Combatants for Peace

  • The American Friends of Combatants for Peace “bring[s] the Combatants’ aspirations and message to Americans,” “strive[s] to influence political, religious and otherwise influential leaders,” and “seek[s] to expand fiscal support for Combatants for Peace.”
  • While American Friends of Combatants for Peace is a “separate legal entity from Combatants for Peace,” it “serves as the CfP’s fiscal sponsor in the USA.” In 2017, American Friends of Combatants for Peace granted $4,900 to Combatants for Peace.
  • Leads tours to Israel and the West Bank to “learn about the efforts that the Combatants are making to bring peace, freedom, dignity and equality to their homeland.” Also holds speaking tours in the US to “educate the American public about the nonviolent efforts being made… [and] advocate for human rights.”
  • Board Members of American Friends of Combatants for Peace include Kathleen Peratis, the co-chair of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East North Africa Advisory Committee and emerita Board of Trustees member.
    • In January 2016, Peratis wrote an article in Haaretz about how “Challenging settler businesses to shut up shop is the new frontier for BDS.”
    • In 2011, Kathleen Peratis visited Gaza and met with several Hamas officials. Hamas is a designated terror organization by Israel, the U.S.EU, and Canada. In her article about the visit, Peratis describes her experience exploring smuggling tunnels from Gaza into Egypt with members of Hamas.

Staff

  • Yonatan Shapira, founder
  • Itamar Shapira, a well-known IDF “refusenik” and former member of Combatants for Peace, was released from his position as a docent at Yad Vashem Holocaust museum for comparing the Holocaust to the “Nakba” (Palestinian labelling of the founding of Israel as a “catastrophe”) while guiding a tour.
    • At a Breaking the Silence exhibition in Sweden, Shapira claimed: “We are the oppressors, we are the ones that are violating human rights on a daily basis. We are creating the terror against us, basically.”

Partners

Partial List of Foreign Donations (NIS)

Based on reports to the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits. Figures for the years 2012-2016 are based on annual reports; figures for 2017-2018 are based on quarterly reports

Donor20182017201620152014
New Israel Fund*$21,180$22,862$20,243$5,000
Switzerland30,00056,452
Rosa Luxemberg Stiftung (Germany)42,34339,41438,00053,528
Bread for the World/EED239,680122,669830,889
ZFD (Germany)48,9374,000
AGEH (Germany)71,79870,508102,87081,63035,931
SIVMO24,86027,780
World Vision35,000

*Based on NIF financial reports

Footnotes

  1. Notes from conference taken by NGO Monitor researcher. On file with NGO Monitor.

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