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Rebuilding Alliance (RA)

Profile

Country/TerritoryUnited States
Websitehttp://www.rebuildingalliance.org/
Founded2003
In their own words“dedicated to rebuilding war-torn communities and making them safe.”

Funding

  • In 2016, total income was $266,785; total expenses were $315,379.
  • Rebuilding Alliance (RA) states its funding comes from “thousands of small donors who come to us though speaking events. We do receive grants from foundations, peace groups, and Rotary Clubs. To raise funds and spread the word, we also sell organic, extra-virgin olive oil and za’atar fair trade from Palestine at holiday fairs.”
  • In 2015, Rebuilding Alliance granted $34,930 to American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA).
  • In order to raise funds, the group has participated in a number of Microsoft’s “Youth Spark” competitions that provides matching grants between organizations in the U.S. and “teams in Palestine” in order to facilitate “educational, employment and entrepreneurial opportunities” for children and youth.

Activities

  • According to its website, RA “believe[s] construction is the best response to destruction, that rebuilding projects ease trauma, build trust, strengthen peacemakers, advance law, and press officials forward in tangible ways.” Focuses solely on promoting the Palestinian narrative and cause.
  • Regularly lobbies the U.S. Congress and State Department, promoting a Palestinian narrative of victimization and Israeli aggression.
    • In September 2017, Rebuilding Alliance, alongside Churches for Middle East Peace and Jewish Voice for Peace, organized a Congressional briefing titled “Palestinian children speak about peace.” The briefing aimed to have members of Congress “personally make calls to the Israeli Embassy to express concern, stop the demolitions, recognize Palestinian planning rights, assure due process, turn on the lights in Gaza.” The briefing featured Palestinian children, as well as Arik Ascherman (Torat Tzedek) and Alon Cohen-Lifschitz (Bimkom).
    • In October 2017, Rebuilding Alliance sponsored the Rachel Corrie Foundation’s Peace Works Conference titled “From Marches to Movements.” The conference included a lecture titled “How to influence politics & make your government leaders represent YOU!”
  • Rebuilding Alliance hosts “Leadership Learning Missions to Gaza, the West Bank, and Jerusalem.” The delegations, comprised of Senators and constituents, meet with “UN officials, human rights organizations, and lawyers who represent Palestinian communities at risk of demolition by the Israeli Army. Our hope is that these experiences will equip Congressional staffers with the first-hand information they need to take what they learned back to DC and assist members of Congress in taking a firm stance in support of Palestinian rights.”

Anti-Israel Activities

  • Publishes a blog with entries in both Hebrew and English, accusing Israel of “state terrorism,” “ethnic cleansing,” and “land theft.”
  • In July 2016, RA was a signatory on a petition to “stop this injustice” and “Lift the Gaza Blockade,” as “this blockade is a violation of international law.”
  • From June 22-26, 2015, RA traveled to Washington D.C., together with Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), calling on “elected representatives to stand for peace and stand against the demolition of Susiya,” disregarding the ruling of the Israeli Supreme Court that the village was built illegally, without permits or approved plans. (Under the Oslo framework, Israel is responsible for planning and construction in Area C, which is where Susiya is located.)
    • JVP is highly active in anti-Israel BDS campaigns and considers itself the “Jewish wing of the Palestinian solidarity movement,” seeking to create “a wedge” within the American Jewish community over support for Israel, while working toward the goal of eliminating U.S. economic, military, and political aid.
  • Signatory to the 2015 Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA) joint agency briefing paper titled, “Charting a New Course: Overcoming the Stalemate in Gaza,” misrepresenting international law and distorting legal terminology to place primary blame for the 2014 Gaza war on Israel. The paper omits Hamas rocket attacks against Israeli civilians, as well as terror tunnels running beneath the border into Israel. The paper further encourages contact with Hamas, stating: “Restricted contact can undermine humanitarian access and implementation of humanitarian programmes…”
  • Joined a 2015 “#OpenGaza” speaking tour with Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP) and Physicians for Human Rights- Israel (PHR-I), which sought to “describe the dire situation of physical and psychological health in Gaza through a lens of personal experience.” An RA coordinator “help[ed] the audience learn a how to contact Congress to press for a tangible and immediate way… to work on the big policy goal of ending the blockade of Gaza,” altogether omitting that the purpose of the blockade is to prevent the illegal flow of weapons to Hamas and other terrorist groups that will later be used to target Israeli civilians.
    • Under the guise of medical expertise and scientific fact, GCMHP and PHR-I both make factually inaccurate claims based on fundamental methodological flaws, unverifiable information and skewed statistics.
  • Executive Director Donna Baranski-Walker authored a February 23, 2011 article in The World Post in light of Poland assuming the presidency of the European Union, maintaining that Poland “displays a blatant disregard for international law in her decision to meet [Israeli officials in Jerusalem] instead of in Tel Aviv.” The article echoes calls for Poland to “[c]ancel arms trade… because these weapons are used by the Israeli military against civilians”; “[p]romote an EU arms embargo on Israel” and “[s]end independent observers to monitor Israel’s human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem.”
  • RA was reportedly the “only American NGO to send cargo on the MV Rachel Corrie, one of the ships in the Freedom Flotilla that included the Mavi Marmara” in 2010 .The flotilla sought to trigger a confrontation with the Israeli military by attempting to breach the blockade of Gaza.
  • Honored former UN official Richard Falk, who has been widely denounced for his extreme anti-Israel and antisemitic beliefs, as well as the parents of International Solidarity Movement (ISM) activist Rachel Corrie, who was killed in a confrontation with the Israeli army, at its 2010 annual “Peacemakers” awards dinner.
  • Baranski-Walker has connections to known antisemite Paul Larudee and his Free Gaza Movement and has advocated to Congress on his behalf, saying: “I care about the Free Gaza Movement and the Americans, Internationals, Israelis, and Palestinians who worked together to steer their boats through international waters to break the siege of Gaza last month. My friend and Representative Lee’s constituent, Paul Larudee, was on one of those boats. It is important to recognize their nonviolent activism and urge an end to the collective punishment of 1.4 million people in Gaza and speak out against using blockades and siege as tools of diplomacy” (emphasis added).

BDS Activities

  • In November 2017, Rebuilding Alliance supported the bill of Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) titled “Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children,” which called to “prevent U.S. aid and taxpayer dollars from being used by the Israeli Army to fund the detention, interrogation, ill-treatment, and imprisonment of Palestinian children in its separate-and-unequal military courts.” Rebuilding Alliance called for people to write letters to their members of Congress to sign their names to the bill.
  • In February 2017, as a member of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR), signed a letter calling upon NFL players to boycott a planned trip to Israel. The letter accuses Israel of “war crimes,” ”whitewash[ing] its ongoing denial of Palestinian rights,” and constructing an “apartheid wall.” It makes numerous comparisons between Palestinians in Israel and apartheid South Africa and “brown and black communities” during the civil rights movement in the U.S.
  • USCPR also maintains campaigns to boycott and divest from companies including HPG4S, and Airbnb.
  • In 2016, USCPR called on Airbnb to “stop listing vacation rentals in Israeli settlements,” alleging they were “built on stolen Palestinian land.” The group claims that “[t]hrough earning fees from settlement vacation rentals, Airbnb is directly profiting from the continuing occupation and dispossession of Palestinians.”
  • In July 2011, Rebuilding Alliance was a signatory on a petition urging the National Building Museum to rescind their annual Prize for Innovation in Construction Technology granted to Caterpillar as “Caterpillar Inc. has a long history of complicity in extensive human rights abuses and violations of international law within the Occupied Palestinian Territory…Caterpillar long has been on notice about the pattern of Israeli human rights violations committed with its equipment, yet it continues to sell to the Israeli government, putting corporate profit before human rights.”
  • Baranski-Walker signed a 2008 “Mother’s Day” petition to “boycott [] Israeli settlement-builder [Lev] Leviev,” claiming that “the only way to end the suffering of Palestinian mothers and their families is to boycott Israeli companies like Leviev’s that profit from the illegal activities of land confiscation and settlement construction.”

Bedouin

  • In March 2017, Rebuilding Alliance held a letter writing campaign calling on congress “to take action to keep the bulldozers away and protect Khan al Ahmar,” as the demolition “does not serve the cause of peace.”
  • In October 2016, founder and Executive Director Donna Baranski-Walker, called for people to send a letter to the Jewish National Fund “urg[ing] them to stop planting trees to remove the villagers of the Bedouin village of Al Araqib from their homes and their land in the Negev in Israel. Their homes have been demolished 103 times so far. They need all of our help.”

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