Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center (JLAC)
|In their own words||“Since its inception over 40 years ago, the Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center (JLAC) has formed a specific and specialized niche for itself; that of rendering legal aid to vulnerable communities in combating human rights violations.”|
- In 2019, total income was $1.4 million; total expenses were $1.3 million.
- According to its website, “Core Donors” include: Ireland, Bread for the World (Germany), Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (joint funding from Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark and the Netherlands), Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD), and UNDP. “Project-Based Donors” include: Australia, Germany, Norwegian Refugee Council, and the Welfare Association. (See tables below for detailed funding information based on information published in annual reports and in financial reports.)
- In 2019-2022, JLAC was an implementing partner on a €2.1 million grant from the European Union for the “Protection of marginalized communities in East Jerusalem through legal aid, planning, and advocacy.”
- In 2019, Switzerland granted CHF 156,804 to JLAC.
- In 2017–2018, JLAC received €150,000 from Ireland (Irish Aid).
- In 2015-2018, JLAC and the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD) received €561,100 from the European Union via EIDHR for the “Protection of marginalized Palestinian Communities in East Jerusalem and Area C of the West Bank through Legal Aid, Outreach and Advocacy.”
- In 2014-2017, JLAC received a core funding grant of $605,000 from the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (a joint funding mechanism of Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark and the Netherlands that closed in 2017).
- The Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center (JLAC) was “established in 1974 by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC),” a US-based Quaker organization that leads anti-Israel BDS campaigns on college campuses and in churches. In 1997, became “an independent Palestinian NGO.”
- JLAC is highly active in promoting BDS campaigns, lobbying international bodies, and utilizing highly inflammatory rhetoric.
- Describes itself as “a key and major player in certain interventions; undertaking pro-bono legal cases related to house demolition, forced displacement, land confiscation, and more recently settler violence… more recently, [JLAC] has coupled its legal aid rendered to individuals with; public interest cases, legal reform, community awareness, advocacy, among other interventions.”
- In January 2020, Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO), of which JLAC is a member, vehemently opposed a new clause in European Union grant contracts with Palestinian NGOs that prohibits grantees from working with and funding organizations and individuals designated on the EU’s terror lists. According to media reports, PNGO claimed that Palestinian terrorist organizations are “political parties.”
Demonization of Israel
- JLAC rhetoric includes accusations of “collective punishment,” “ethnic cleansing,” and “apartheid,” as well as supporting a Palestinian “right of return.”
- Participates in discriminatory campaigns such as “Love in the Time of Apartheid Campaign: The Palestinian Campaign for Repealing Israel’s Racist Law Denying Family Reunification.”
- Published a book, We Have Names and We Have a Homeland, alleging that “brutality and sadism is the true face of Zionism and the State of occupation” and accusing Israel of “savage,” “abhorrent and fascist” practices. The book continues to ask: “Has the history of humanity ever known such brutality as practiced at the hands of Israel…?”
- In July 2020, JLAC was a signatory on an appeal to the United Nations referring to Israel’s alleged “shoot-to-kill policy” as “contributing to the maintenance of Israel’s apartheid regime of systematic racial oppression and domination over the Palestinian people as a whole, which, embedded in a system of impunity, prevents Palestinians from effectively challenging Israel’s apartheid policies and practices.”
- In May 2020, JLAC signed a statement referring to the “Nakba” as being “far from a distant memory for the Palestinian people: it is an ongoing reality of Israeli settler-colonialism, population transfer, apartheid, and dispossession, policies which have never ended and continue to be entrenched today.” The statement further called to “take effective legal and political measures to eradicate colonialism, to bring perpetrators of suspected war crimes and crimes against humanity to justice at the ICC, and to publicly recognise and collectively overcome Israel’s apartheid regime imposed over the Palestinian people as a whole.”
- In April 2020, to commemorate World Health Day, JLAC was a signatory on a statement alleging that “Israeli apartheid undermines Palestinians’ right to health during COVID-19 pandemic.” According to the statement, “For decades, Israel has established and maintained an apartheid regime over the Palestinian people through a plethora of laws, policies and practices designed to systematically fragment, isolate and oppress Palestinians…As long as Israeli impunity continues, it is the responsibility of all states to take effective measures, to uphold international justice and responsibility for the Palestinian victims, and to end the apartheid regime of Israel” (emphasis added).
- In November 2019, JLAC signed a letter to Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Fatou Bensouda calling to open “an official, full-scale investigation into the ‘situation in Palestine’” and the “possible war crimes and crimes against humanity committed” as the “absence of an official investigation…has fuelled the already existing culture of impunity.”
- In February 2020, following the announcement of President Trump’s “Peace Plan,” JLAC signed a statement stating that States “must exert the same pressure today to uphold the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and bring an end to Israel’s apartheid regime over all Palestinians” (emphasis added).
- In December 2019, JLAC was a signatory on a letter to Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Fatou Bensouda calling to open “an official, full-scale investigation into the ‘situation in Palestine’” and the “possible war crimes and crimes against humanity committed” as the “absence of an official investigation…has fuelled the already existing culture of impunity.”
- On May 18, 2019, JLAC was a signatory on a statement referring to all of Jerusalem as “occupied,” and called for the UN to “take a firm stand against…unlawful unilateral measures to be taken by the U.S. in favor of an unveiled attempt at legitimizing Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise, occupation and colonization.” The statement further called to “Ban Israeli settlement products” and “Impose individual sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes, on individuals that are identified as responsible for or complicit in the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
- In December 2017, following President Trump recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, JLAC Director Rami Saleh published an article stating that “Any meetings of the EU-Israel Association Council should be postponed until Israel commits to upholding its legal obligations. Furthermore, the EU should avoid deepening political and economic cooperation with Israel until it demonstrates its commitment to ending its occupation. These steps would send a clear message that the EU will not be complicit in Israel’s ongoing crimes.”
- On April 17, 2017, JLAC, as a member of the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC), released a statement on Palestinian Prisoners’ Day stating that “This year marks 50 years of torture of Palestinian political prisoners through a military system which has historically been endemic and various forms of physical and psychological torture and ill-treatment,” and calling on the International Criminal Court to “open an investigation into the case of Palestinian prisoners and detainees, and bring those who have tortured, extrajudicially executed, forcibly transferred, and arbitrary (sic) detained Palestinians to be held to accountable.”
- In a March 22, 2017 press release, JLAC lauded the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UNESCWA) report on the “Question of Apartheid” that accused Israel of being “guilty of policies and practices that constitute the crime of apartheid,” and “called upon the ICC Public Prosecutor to open an investigation into Israel’s commission of the crime of apartheid against the Palestinian people and to bring those responsible into justice.”
- In January 2017, JLAC, alongside Al-Haq, Society of St. Yves, Al-Shabaka, and BADIL, released an infographic aimed at “raising awareness of Israel’s apartheid policies in the city, its effects on the Palestinian population, and the gross violations of international humanitarian and human rights law that arise.” The infographic claims that “Since 1967, apartheid prevails” and that Israel has “been enacting discriminatory policies” in Jerusalem.
- In November 2016, JLAC co-authored a submission to UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation in the Palestinian Territories Michael Lynk on “Human Rights Defenders in the OPT…highlight[ing] the repressive environment within which human rights defenders (HRDs) work in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.” The submission referred to Manal Tamimi, a fieldworker for the Women’s Center for Legal Aid and Counseling (WCLAC) as a “human rights defender.”
- Tamimi frequently utilizes antisemitic and violent rhetoric and imagery on social media. In August 2015, Tamimi tweeted, “I do hate Israel, i (sic) wish a thrid Intefada (sic) coming soon and people rais (sic) up and kills all these zionist settlers everywhere.”
- As a member of the PHROC, submitted a July 16, 2014 “Open Letter to UN Secretary-General on Hostilities in the Gaza Strip,” accusing Israel of “collective punishment,” “ongoing indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks against Palestinian civilians and civilian objects in the Gaza Strip” and “intentionally target[ing] Palestinian civilians and homes.”
- JLAC co-signed a July 14, 2014 open letter calling on the EU and member states to: “Immediately and unequivocally deplore Israel’s indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks against Palestinian civilians and civilian objects”; “Refrain from condoning Israel’s misuse of the notion of self-defence”; “Take the position that the root cause of the ongoing hostilities is Israel’s belligerent occupation and accompanied violations of international law”; and “Unequivocally support Palestinian accession of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.”
- As a member of the Palestinian Human Rights Organisations Council (PHROC), JLAC referred to the resignation of William Schabas as the head of the UN inquiry into the 2014 Gaza war as a “charade put up by Israel” and “condemn[ed] in the strongest terms Israel’s latest and unfortunately far too common attempt to obstruct the work of the international human rights and justice mechanisms in investigating Israeli violations of international law against the Palestinian population.” In fact, the resignation followed revelations that Schabas had previously done legal work for the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) – a clear conflict of interest that would have disqualified him from the beginning if it had been disclosed. Furthermore, Schabas’ record of anti-Israel biases includes repeated calls for prosecuting Israeli officials for alleged “war crimes” at the International Criminal Court.
- In 2011, JLAC signed on a letter to President Obama, accusing Israel of “implementing a matrix of discriminatory policies against Palestinians,” and demanding an end to all settlement activity as they “allow[ing] for the implementation of an apartheid system in the OPT and further hampering prospects for peace.”
- On August 30, 2009, General Director Issam Abu-Haj wrote an open letter, following the publication of an article in the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet that accused Israeli soldiers of abducting and killing Palestinians in order to harvest their organs. The article was widely condemned as being a modern-day blood libel. Abu Haj dismisses allegations of antisemitism as “false” and an attempt “to impose a trans-continental censorship of the press.” His letter continues to state that the “instance of the Israeli Government in detaining the bodies of Arab and Palestinian victims and their refusal to permit any access to them, reinforces our speculation that Israel is stealing the organs of the dead for such uses as; medical and educational trials, organ transplants, and other despicable uses” and goes on to “urge you to further advocate this cause and continue your courageous efforts. For Israel should not exist as a State free of question, shielded by threats of Anti-Semitic accusations.” (emphasis added)
- Active in promoting the BDS (boycotts, divestments and sanctions) campaign against Israel.
- In September 2020, JLAC called for the UN General Assembly to “Launch international investigations into Israel’s apartheid regime over the Palestinian people as a whole, as well as associated State and individual criminal responsibility,” to “Ban arms trade and military-security cooperation with Israel,” and “Prohibit all trade with illegal Israeli settlements and ensure that companies refrain from and terminate business activities with Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise.”
- In July 2020, in response to the “Report of the Special Rapporteur addressing Israel’s Collective Punishment Policy,” JLAC called on “Third States to adopt effective measures to put an end to Israel’s illegal and inhumane policies of collective punishment, including sanctions and countermeasures, to bring the illegal situation to an end” (emphasis added).
- In May 2020, JLAC was a signatory on a statement calling for “Immediate targeted sanctions to stop Israel’s annexation and apartheid.” The statement further called for “A ban on arms trade and military-security cooperation with Israel,” “Suspension of trade and cooperation agreements with Israel,” and “Investigation and prosecution of individuals and corporate actors responsible for war crimes/crimes against humanity in the context of Israel’s regime of illegal occupation and apartheid.”
- In 2018-2019, JLAC lobbied in support of the discriminatory UN blacklist of businesses supposedly operating across the 1949 Armistice line, aimed at bolstering BDS campaigns against Israel.
- In November 2019, as a member of PHROC, JLAC signed a statement calling for the “international community to immediately impose sanctions on the State of Israel and illegal Israeli settlements” and “implement domestic legislation to prohibit and criminalize the import of illegal settlement goods and services into their territory.”
- In May 2019, JLAC was a signatory on a statement calling on the German Bundestag to revoke a joint resolution defining BDS campaigns against Israel as antisemitic.
- In February 2017, as a member of the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC), released a statement calling upon “the international community to abide by their international obligations” and “act immediately by imposing sanctions against Israel,” as a result of the passing of the “Regularization Law,” which is “another brazen tool for Israel to confiscate privately held and registered Palestinian property for its illegal settlement enterprise.”
- In August 2016, submitted a joint complaint to the UN Special Rapporteur concerning review of the residency status of Omar Barghouti, a prominent proponent of BDS. The statement falsely describes BDS as “peacefully pursu[ing] a human rights agenda based on an international law framework”; in fact, BDS are tactics of political warfare, based on the exploitation of human rights double standards, comparisons to apartheid South Africa, and false accusations of “war crimes.”
- In February 2016, issued a joint statement that “For decades, Israel has failed to uphold its duties as Occupying Power and has instead deepened its occupation and regime of colonialism and apartheid” and “affirm[ed] the right of all individuals to participate in and advocate for boycott, divestment, and sanction actions, and calls on states and businesses to uphold their related legal responsibilities” and stated that the EU November 2015 labeling move against Israeli settlement products is “insufficient,” calling for a complete ban (emphasis added).
- In September 2015, JLAC was a signatory on a letter to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon urging the UN to “end its relationship with G4S” as “G4S is complicit with Israel’s human rights violations.”
- JLAC joined an April 2012 campaign against companies doing business in Israel, calling to “intensify[ing] the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign to target corporations profiting directly from the Israeli prison system. In particular, we call for action to be taken to hold to account G4S, the world’s largest international security corporation, which helps to maintain and profit from Israel’s prison system, for its complicity with Israeli violations of international law.”
- In May 2005 signed a petition calling for the academic boycott of Israel as a means to “isolate Apartheid Israel…forging effective solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for freedom, self-determination and sovereignty.”
- Signatory to the 2005 “Palestinian Civil Society Call for BDS,” which calls for an end to Israel’s “occupation and colonization of all Arab lands” and promotes the right of “Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties.” These goals undermine the fundamental right of the Jewish people to self-determination and would effectually mean the elimination of Israel as a Jewish state.
- Board member of the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO), which refused to sign the anti-terror clause that is a condition of US government funding, stating “that its members would not sign funding agreements that included the ATC [Anti-Terror Certificate]: this is now a condition for membership under PNGO byelaws [sic]” (emphasis added).
- In January 2020, PNGO vehemently opposed a new clause in European Union grant contracts with Palestinian NGOs that prohibits grantees from working with and funding organizations and individuals designated on the EU’s terror lists. According to media reports, PNGO claimed that Palestinian terrorist organizations are “political parties.”
- In October 2019, Waleed Hanatsheh – a member of PNGO’s board of directors and the Financial and Administrative director for Health Work Committees, an organization with ties to the PFLP – was arrested for participating in a terrorist attack in which a 17-year old was murdered. According to an Israeli media report, Hanatsheh bankrolled the bombing.
- In April 2017, PNGO called on the international community not to “use aid to undermine legitimate Palestinian resistance.” According to PNGO, “We reject all de-legitimization or criminalization of lawful Palestinian resistance, whether in form of allegations of terrorism, anti-semitism or otherwise… We call on all governments and aid providers to respect our right to lawful resistance, support Palestinian human rights defenders, and ensure equal, impartial and transparent access to funding for all.”
- In March 2016, as a member of Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), PNGO stated that “Israel’s current government, its most racist ever, has dropped all pretences of ‘enlightenment’ and ‘democracy’. This has helped to expose Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid to world public opinion like never before.”
- Member of Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC).
- Also a member of The Coalition for Jerusalem, The Palestinian Coalition against Torture, The Palestinian Coalition against the Death Penalty, The Coordinating Council of Civil Action, The Media and Human Rights Civil Coalition for Ensuring the Execution of Court Decisions, The Civil Team in Support of the Transparency of the Public Budget, and The Palestinian NGOs Code of Conduct Coalition.
Donations based on financial reports (amounts in USD)
|Norwegian Refugee Council||390,675||628,200||617.601||576,431||550,850
|Bread for the World-EED (Germany)||212,235||468,700
|Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD)||38,100||49,610||39,038||41,700||51,480
|Human Rights and International Law Secretariat (joint funding from Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark and the Netherlands)||201,700||
|Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung||46,100||20,416||
Funding based on annual reports
|Irish Aid (Ireland)||€155,000 (2019)
|Bread for the World(Germany)||€450,000 (2019-2021)
|Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD)||$38,000 (2019)
|UNDP|| $120,000 (2019- 2020)
|France||€249,660 (2019- 2020)
|Norwegian Refugee Council||$390,675 (2019)
|European Union||€561,100 (2016- 2019)
|Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung||€94,732 (2016-2018)
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