Grassroots International (Boston)
|In their own words||"Boston-based 501(c)(3) human rights and development organization that channels funds to small community groups around the world that are working for peace and social justice."|
- In 2017, total income was $4.6 million; total expenses were $4.3 million.
- According to its website, “Grassroots International does not seek or receive US government funding in order to remain an independent and outspoken advocate for the human rights to land, water and food.”
- “International Institutional Supporters” include CodePink, Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, the Tides Foundation, Libra Foundation, and Vanguard Charitable.
- In 2018, Grassroots International was granted $25,000 from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
- Since its founding in 1983, Grassroots International has disbursed more than $48 million to its partner organizations.
- Grassroots International engages in advocacy and “seek[s] to influence US citizens and policy negotiators who have the power to create policies that uphold rather than undermine basic human rights.”
- While Grassroots International states that it “stands with the nonviolent Palestinian struggle for self-determination and human rights, particularly the human rights to land, water and food sovereignty,” it provides funding to a number of NGOs active in the Arab-Israeli conflict with ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a terrorist organization designated as such by the US, EU, Canada, and Israel. (See below for more information regarding these and other Grassroots International grantees.)
- In November 2018, Grassroots International co-sponsored a conference titled “Balfour’s Legacy: Confronting the Consequences” discussing “the consequences of this British commitment, and how we in the US can push for a just resolution of a century-old conflict with equal rights for Israelis and Palestinians.”
- In May 2018, during the violence on the Gaza border, Grassroots International launched a petition stating that it “cannot sit on the sidelines while such flagrant in justice and violence is being perpetrated by the Israeli military and is being supported by the US government” and called for the US government to “End all support for Israel, including cooperation and trade with the Israeli military and security sector, and the current $38 billion defense aid package from the US to Israel.” The petition ignored the violent nature of the protests, which have consisted of an organized armed attack on the Israeli border and IDF positions, attempts to destroy and breach the border fence, and sustained arson, rocket, and mortar attacks on Israeli civilian communities.
- In May 2018, on the occasion of “70 Years of Ethnic Cleansing in Palestine,” Grassroots International organized a photo exhibit and a “solemn procession showcasing the nature of Israel’s ongoing crimes.”
- In November 2017, Grassroots International was a signatory on a call to support “A World Without Walls,” drawing comparisons between “Israel’s apartheid wall on Palestinian land to the US wall of Shame on indigenous land at the border with Mexico.”
- In July 2017, “10 years since Israel (and Egypt) have essentially placed Gaza in a stranglehold, imposing a blockade that has left two million residents without sufficient food, jobs, drinking water and sanitation to live,” Grassroots International questioned, “what will the international community do in response to the relentless human rights violations and now unlivable situation in Gaza?”
- The statement made no mention of the necessity of the blockade and its role in stopping Hamas’ smuggling of weapons and rockets used to target Israeli citizens.
- In June 2017, to “mark a half of a century since some of the darkest pages were written into Palestinian history,” Grassroots International accused Israel of “continually demolish[ing] homes and increasingly block[ing] access to holy sites” as well as stating that “the near-total blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt has generated a full-blown humanitarian and environmental crisis.”
- In March 2017, to commemorate Palestinian Land Day, Grassroots International accused Israel of “robb[ing] Palestinians of both their sovereignty and much of their territory,” as well as attempting to “Judaise” the Galilee.
- In January 2017, Grassroots International published an article on “Economic challenges in Palestine,” stating that “The Zionist settler project continues in all of its crushing minutiae… the Zionists who have enshrined Jewish history, trauma, and aspirations above everyone else in the region.”
- Grassroots International published a fact sheet accusing Israel of “water theft” and that “control of water in the region relies on a system of profound inequality based on a 60-year grab of Palestinian water resources.”
- Supports BDS (boycotts, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns against Israel.
- Grassroots International is running a campaign, with accompanying fact sheets, to “Tell TIAA-CREF to stop investing in the Separation Wall,” and Elbit Systems Ltd., as Elbit “Directly profit[s] from or contribute[s] to the Israeli occupation of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.”
- Grassroots International published a fact sheet on Caterpillar, stating that it “profit[s] from the destruction of Palestinian land, homes, and olive trees.”
- In May 2016, Grassroots International published an article titled “Divestment an Appropriate Response to Israel’s Treatment of Palestinians” supporting “boycott and divestment as powerful tool to bring occupation to an end” as “Israeli settlements [have been] built on occupied Palestinian land in violation of international law and official U.S. policy have grown relentlessly, leaving Palestinians with fragmented pockets of land divided by settlements, walls, Israeli-only bypass roads and military zones.”
- In February 2016, Grassroots International published an op-ed in Counterpunch (“Climate Justice and Palestine: The New Intersectionality”) that stated that “we should take heart that boycotting products made in the Israeli settlements, challenging the massive Israeli blue and green washing propaganda machine, and supporting activists replanting olive saplings on the ancient terraces where they have been uprooted, not only supports the struggle against Israeli occupation.”
- In October 2015, Grassroots International called for an “end to United States’ military aid to Israel.” The call was accompanied by a petition to President Obama to “demand that money from US taxpayers not fund weapons for Israel.”
- Grassroots International partner organizations in the Middle East include:
- Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC)
- UAWC is identified by Fatah as an official PFLP “affiliate,” and by USAID as the “agricultural arm” of the PFLP. According to academic scholar Glenn E. Robinson, UAWC was founded in 1986 by “agronomists loosely affiliated with the PFLP.”
- Utilizes highly biased and demonizing rhetoric, accusing the “Israel occupation forces” of “continuing its brutal and immoral offensive  war on Gaza” and an ongoing “policy of collective punishment in disregard for the international law and humanitarian law.”
- Stop the Wall
- Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR)
- PCHR is a leader in anti-Israel lawfare campaigns, ignores the existence of terrorism against Israeli civilians, and presents a distorted version of the conflict based only on the Palestinian narrative.
- Raji Sourani, founder and director of the PCHR, was “prohibited from leaving Palestine (sic) from 1977 to 1990.” According to a 1995 article in the Washington Report, Raji Sourani served “a three-year sentence [1979-1982] imposed by an Israeli court which convicted him of membership in the illegal Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine…”
- Regularly describes Israel’s policies as “apartheid” and accuses Israel of “ethnic cleansing,” “war crimes,” and the “Judaization of Jerusalem.”
- Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees (PARC)
- PARC’s rhetoric includes accusations of “apartheid,” “collective punishment,” “ethnic cleansing,” and “war crimes.”
- According to PARC’s “2014-2018 Strategic Plan,” one of PARC’s strategic goals is “Holding the occupation accountable towards Palestinian rights related to the agricultural sector and rural areas” by “Boycotting…Israelis’ settlement products” and “Supporting the cooperation and coordination with the boycott committees.”
- Grassroots International is a member US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, aiding in “the effort to stop the US from increasing its military aid package to Israel to a staggering 45 billion dollars.”
- Accuses Israel of maintaining a “matrix of control” over the Palestinian population and enacting “laws that discriminate against [Palestinians], much as Black Americans had been treated during the Jim Crow era.”
- US Campaigns regularly lobbies the United States government to end military and financial aid to Israel, supporting “its brutal military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip.”
- Maintains campaigns to boycott and divest from companies including HP, G4S, and Airbnb.
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