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 2016, total income was $1.2 million; total expenses were $1.2 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 on website and in 2013/2014/2015/2016 financial reports.)
- According to information released by donors, JLAC received a core funding grant of $605,000 (2014-2017) from the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (joint funding from Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland).
- Between 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.”
- Between January-December 2016, JLAC was an “implementing partner” for a project through the Norwegian Refugee Council for $6.8 million to “protect the rights of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip affected by displacement.” Other implementing partners were Society of St. Ives, HaMoked, Community Action Centre, Yesh Din, Bimkom, Palestinian Centre for Democracy and Conflict Resolution (PCDCR), Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), and Al-Mezan.
- 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.”
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 December 2017, following President Trump recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, JLAC Director Rami Saleh published an article stating that the EU “should set an example for the rest of the international community by ensuring that any Israeli-EU cooperation does not contribute to illegal settlements nor human rights violations. 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.”
- In September 2014, JLAC signed a call to “stop the forcible transfer of ethnic Palestinian Bedouins,” as it amounts to “ethnic cleansing and illegal annexation of land.”
- 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 November 2017, JLAC was a signatory on a statement supporting the UN database of settlement businesses stating, “The Database is a much-needed initiative which could facilitate states’ regulation of business conduct in the OPT, where hundreds of Israeli and foreign businesses participate in, contribute to, or profit from abuses and violations of human rights of Palestinians.“
- 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.
- Member of the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO), which was instrumental in producing many of the preparatory documents for the Durban 2001 conference including the document calling for embargoes on Israel.
- 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 2013, 2014, and 2015 financial reports (amounts in USD)
|Norwegian Refugee Council||536,731||556,000||550,850||576,431
|Bread for the World-EED (Germany)||369,676||468,700||
|Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD)||47,100||49,800||51,480||41,700
|Human Rights and International Law Secretariat (joint funding from Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark and the Netherlands)||410,000||
|Representative Office of the Federal Republic of Germany||25,286||
|Medical Aid for Palestine||104,070||
Donation amounts based on information published on website
|Irish Aid (Ireland)||76,614 (2012)
|Bread for the World(Germany)||54,909 (2012)
|Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD)||45,990 (2012)
|Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat(joint funding from Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark and the Netherlands)||410,000 (2014-2016), of which 137,600 was allocated for 2014
|Norwegian Refugee Council||518,722 (2012)
|Welfare Association||120,000 (2013-2014), of which 76,451 was allocated for 2014
|AusAid (Australia)||104,070 (2013-2015), of which 44,639 was allocated for 2014
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