|In their own words||“An independent organization dedicated to protecting the civil and constitutional rights of people in the US who speak out for Palestinian freedom.”|
- Palestine Legal does not publish financial information, reflecting a lack of transparency and accountability. It does state, however, that it is a fiscally supported project of the Tides Center, a San Francisco-based organization that funds a number of highly biased and politicized NGOs.
- In 2013, the Tides Center had total revenue of $92,925,976 (latest available; accessed July 1, 2015). The Tides Center does not list how much money was provided to Palestine Legal.
- Formerly known as Palestine Solidarity Legal Support.
- Aims “to bolster the Palestine solidarity movement by challenging efforts to threaten, harass and legally bully activists into silence and inaction.”
- Provides “legal advice, Know Your Rights trainings, advocacy and litigation support to college students, grassroots activists and affected communities who stand for justice in Palestine… also monitors incidents of repression to expose trends in tactics to silence Palestine activism.”
- Highly active in BDS campaigns, particularly on college and university campuses throughout the United States.
- Maintains a database of “Anti-BDS Legislation by State” and publishes the contact information of legislators to campaign against such legislation. Regularly opposes these bills, alleging that these types of laws are “aimed at punishing and suppressing First Amendment-protected boycotts for Palestinian freedom.”
- Claims that as “support for Palestinian rights has grown, so too have attempts by groups that uncritically support Israeli state policies to silence advocates for change. Through a variety of tactics, these groups pressure government actors, universities and other private institutions to investigate, censor and punish individuals and groups who criticize Israel or support Palestinian rights.” Such allegations altogether misrepresent the realities on college campuses, where Jewish students are often harassed, intimidated and silenced by pro-Palestinian groups that engage in highly offensive and provocative campaigns against Israel.
- Calls on “university administrators to protect speech rights and to protect the physical safety of students who are at risk for voicing their views in favor of Palestinian rights.”
- Together with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), published a report, “The Palestine Exception to Free Speech,” which “documents the suppression of Palestinian advocacy in the United States.” The report claims that Israel advocacy groups repress Palestinian rights groups by falsely accusing them of antisemitism and sympathizing with terrorism. In actuality, the anti-Israel groups regularly ignore the context of terrorism and Israel’s right to defend its civilians in alleging “war crimes” and “regular violence against Palestinians.”
- Together with CCR published a document, “Accusations of Anti-Semitism Used to Deter Advocacy for Palestinian Rights.” The report advances the argument used by many anti-Israel activists and antisemites who claim that “conflation of Israeli policies with anti-Semitism [is used] as a tool to silence activism in support of Palestinian rights,” even when their activities are in fact manifestations of anti-Jewish hatred. Furthermore, many of the BDS campaigns promoted by Palestine Legal are rooted in immoral double standards and tactics of demonization and delegitimization, all of which are expressions of modern-day antisemitism.
- Together with the CCR, published a September 2013 “Legal and Tactical Guide,” advising students how to avoid potential lawsuits and effectively organize BDS campaigns, mock checkpoints, protests, demonstrations, and other anti-Israel activities.
- Prepares a “Mock Eviction Actions Preparations Checklist,” informing students how to plan, publicize, implement, and similarly avoid lawsuits when engaging in “mock eviction actions” against Jewish student dorm rooms.
- On April 24, 2014, the Students for Justice in Palestine chapter at New York University distributed “mock eviction notices” to two residence halls known for their high concentration of Jewish students. Palestine Legal defended SJP and denied as “baseless” claims that SJP specifically targeted these residence halls for their Jewish populations.
Anti-Israel Legal Activities
- In August 2014, Palestine Legal, together with a number of other groups, sent a letter to University of Illinois Chancellor Phyllis Wise urging the University to reinstate its offer of employment to Professor Steven Salaita, which had been rescinded after he posted a series of obscene anti-Israel tweets during the 2014 Gaza War. Salaita’s tweets included: “If you’re defending #Israel right now you’re an awful human being”; “Zionists: transforming ‘antisemitism’ from something horrible into something honorable since 1948”; “At this point, if Netanyahu appeared on TV with a necklace made from the teeth of Palestinian children, would anybody be surprised?”
Works closely with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), both of which are highly active in anti-Israel BDS (boycotts, divestment and sanctions) and lawfare campaigns.