Combatants for Peace
|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.”|
- In 2020, total income was NIS 2 million; total expenses were NIS 1.9 million.
- Donors include: Switzerland, Bread for the World/EED (Germany), Rosa Luxemberg Stiftung (Germany), ZFD-Germany, New Israel Fund, and SIVMO.
- Based on financial information submitted to the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits, in accordance with the Israeli NGO transparency law, Combatants for Peace received NIS 2,297,236 from foreign governmental bodies in 2014-2021(see chart below for detailed funding information).
- In 2017-2020, Combatants for Peace was an implementing partner on a project funded by the Civil Peace Service-ZFD (Germany) titled “It can be done different: unite youth and establish peace education.” The amount of funding received by Combatants for Peace is unknown.
- In 2015-2020, Combatants for Peace received $172,718 from the New Israel Fund.
- 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.”
- 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 May 2021, Combatants for Peace called for people to write to the US Congress about Israel’s alleged “apartheid legal system.”
- Combatants for Peace is part of a network of NGOs that promote artificial and manufactured definitions of apartheid to extend the ongoing campaigns that seek to delegitimize and demonize Israel. (Read NGO Monitor’s Policy Paper “False Knowledge as Power: Deconstructing Definitions of Apartheid that Delegitimise the Jewish State”)
- In April 2021, Combatants for Peace welcomed the decision by the International Criminal Court to launch a formal investigation into alleged war crimes committed by Israel in the “State of Palestine.” According to Combatants for Peace, “This is a long-awaited and a critically important step towards ensuring the rule of law and ending impunity, while ensuring accountability for Israel’s crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court.”
- In December 2020, Combatants for Peace, 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 June 2020, Combatants for Peace wrote a letter to German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas requesting that the German government “object to the annexation in a clear and loud voice and applies the full range of sanctions and actions of International Law to prevent its realization” (emphasis added).
- In May 2020, Combatants for Peace held its first ever “Nakba Day ceremony” as the “Nakba is an important part of this story.”
- In April 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Combatants for Peace published on its Facebook page a quote from a “former military officer” condemning the IDF and claiming that “One thing is clear: the Coronavirus will come and go. But the Occupation is trying to stay. The Occupation is a dangerous and brutal epidemic. Corona does not discriminate, but the Occupation does, and it finds more and more ways to justify its criminal acts. Unlike the Coronavirus, the Occupation is wholly an act of man and is subject to our control.”
- 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 Mossawa, met 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 Profile, Alternative Information Center, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), Coalition of Women for Peace, and others.
- In August 2021, Combatants for Peace signed a letter to the States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty calling to “put an end to Israel’s notorious use of arms and military equipment…by immediately imposing a comprehensive two-way arms embargo on Israel.” According to the letter, “This systematic brutality, perpetrated throughout the past seven decades of Israel’s colonialism, apartheid, pro-longed illegal belligerent occupation, persecution, and closure, is only possible because of the complicity of some governments and corporations around the world.”
- In May 2021, Combatants for Peace called on the Israeli Consumer Protection Authority to label “products made in Jewish settlements and outposts in the West Bank be labeled as products not manufactured in Israel.” In July 2021, the Israeli government rejected the request.
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.
- Yonatan Shapira, founder
- Shapira has referred to the Israeli army as a “terrorist organization,” as well as accusing Israel of engaging in “land grabs” and “massacres.”
- 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.”
- Member of the Alliance for Middle East Peace (ALLMEP).
- ALLMEP regularly engages in lobbying, approaching “opinion makers, elected representatives, government officials, American and international funders, and the international community about the critical opportunities and needs of people-to-people efforts.”
Partial List of Foreign Donations (NIS)
Based on annual reports to the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits.
|New Israel Fund*||79,049||69,369|
|Rosa Luxemberg Stiftung (Germany)||31,310||62,284||42,343|
|Bread for the World/EED||143,471||339,943||207,178||291,738|
*Based on NIF financial reports