International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL)


In their own wordsSince IADL's founding in 1946 in Paris, IADL members have participated in the struggles that have made the violation of human rights of groups and individuals and threats to international peace and security, legal issues under international law.



  • The IADL is an international umbrella organization whose members “have protested racism, colonialism, and economic and political injustice wherever they interfere with legal and human rights, often at the cost of these jurists personal safety and economic well being.”
  • The IADL has been recognized as a communist front for the Soviet Union by the CIA, and was described in a 1978 CIA study as “one of the most useful communist front organizations at the service of the Soviet Communist Party.” According to Professor Alan Dershowitz, the IADL “is anti-democratic to its core and supportive of terrorism and repression.”
  • Supports BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns against Israel, and calls on states “to immediately put an end to any commercial transaction regarding weapons and military technology to and from Israel.” Calls upon its member organization “to engage in promoting an economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel.”
  • In 2014, signed a letter, along with representatives from National Lawyers Guild, Center for Constitutional Rights, American Association of Jurists, and the Arab Lawyers Union, urging the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Fatou Bensouda to initiate “an investigation into crimes committed and ongoing during and immediately before” the 2014 Gaza War. The letter claims that, “By transferring financial assistance, weapons and other military aid to Israel, members of U.S. Congress, President Barak Obama, and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel have aided and abetted the commission of war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity by Israeli officials and commanders in Gaza.” The letter further accuses “Israeli political figures” of “ongoing incitement to genocide.”
  • Submitted a written statement to the UN Human Rights Council in July 2014 condemning Israeli actions during the 2014 Gaza War. The statement denies Israel’s right to protect its civilians from rocket attacks from Gaza, claiming that “Israel cannot claims to act in ‘self-defense’ because, as also recognized ten years ago by the International Court of Justice…the Palestinians constitute a people under Israeli occupation and are therefore not a ‘foreign’ threat” (sic).
  • In 2015, IADL, along with groups including the National Lawyers Guild, Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights, Amnesty international, Center for Constitutional Rights, Dream Defenders, FIDH, and Jewish Voice for Peace, signed a statement supporting a call by the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council on the international community to “act on the report of the UN Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict.” In particular, the groups called for the international community to “exercise universal jurisdiction to try international crimes in national courts.”
  • Participated in a 2013 conference in Malaga, Spain at which highly politicized Israeli, Palestinian, and international NGOs discussed ways to confront issues relating to “justice and redress for Palestinian victims.” Other groups include Adalah, Al-Dameer, Al-Haq, Al-Mezan, B’Tselem, FIDH, the Center for Constitutional Rights, PCHR, and Yesh Din. This was the fourth such conference organized by PCHR and serves as part of a greater “lawfare” strategy implemented by these groups.
  • During the 2012 Gaza War, the IADL condemned “illegal Israeli aggression in the strongest possible terms.” It published a statement released by PCHR and demanded “the urgent convening of a Special Session of the Human Rights Council.”
  • In 2012, IADL held “its bureau meeting in Gaza, occupied Palestine” where it met with politicized NGOs and networks, including the Palestinian Bar Association and the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO).
    • Following this trip, released a statement accusing Israel of “war crimes and crimes against humanity,” carrying out “targeted killings of civilians,” and “illegal collective punishment” that is a “precursor to genocide.”
  • During the 2009 Gaza War, IADL called upon the UN General Assembly to convene a “special tribunal” to “punish Israeli war crimes and those complicit with these crimes.”
  • In 1982, the IADL established the “Permanent Commission of Lawyers on Palestine and Peace in the Middle East under the coordination of the Association of Palestinian Lawyers.” Raji Sourani, who is also the founder and director of the PCHR, served as president. Sourani was “prohibited from leaving Palestine (sic) from 1977 to 1990.” In an interview, Sourani admitted that he 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…”


  • The IADL’s member organization in the Middle East is the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR).
    • PCHR is a highly politicized and biased NGO active in the Arab-Israeli conflict. The group regularly accuses Israel of “ethnic cleansing,” “war crimes,” and the “Judaization of Jerusalem.” PCHR is also a leader in the anti-Israel “lawfare” movement and has tried to have Israelis arrested in England, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, and New Zealand.
  • In 2012, the Arab Lawyers Union, one of the IADL’s “regional organisations,” honored a Palestinian woman who carried out a suicide bombing at Maxim’s Restaurant in Haifa in 2003. The attack killed 21.

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