Wi'am Palestinian Conflict Resolution and Transformation Center
|In their own words||“A grassroots organization… to improve the quality of relationships and promote peace and reconciliation in the community. It strives alongside other forces present in the community to build a society based on democratic norms and values.”|
- Wi’am’s website does not provide a complete list of donors or financial information, reflecting a lack of transparency and accountability.
- In 2018-2023, Canada provided Wi’am with approximately $950,000 as part of a five-year project via UCC:KAIROS Canada titled “Women of Courage: Women, Peace, and Security.”
- In response, in April 2019, Canadian Senator Linda Frum put forth a motion in the Canadian Senate calling on the government to freeze the funding to Wi’am, review the entirety of the grant to UCC, and scrutinize all grants to ensure “Canadian aid is not provided to groups that promote hatred, racism, anti-Semitism, and/or BDS campaigns.”
- In 2020, Wi’am received £12,435 from Amos Trust.
- In 2018-2022, Wi’am is an implementing partner on an SEK 47.8 million project with the Church of Sweden for “qualitative education opportunities, human rights awareness, economic empowerment and young people as change agents and active citizens.”
- In 2018-2020, Wi’am received £50,284 from the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD).
- Wi’am hosts visitors from around the world at its offices, leading tours of “Hebron and refugee camps to see the plight of Palestinians incarcerated by the occupation measurements.”
- Zoughbi Zoughbi, W’iam’s founder and director, has been the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) Secretary and the Local Programme Coordinator since June 2017.
- Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) sends volunteers to the West Bank to “witness life under occupation.” Upon completion of the program, the volunteers return to their home countries and churches where many engage in anti-Israel advocacy, including advocating for BDS campaigns in churches, comparing Israel to apartheid South Africa and Nazi Germany, and other delegitimization strategies.
- Supports the Kairos Palestine document, which promotes BDS (boycotts, divestment and sanctions); denies the Jewish historical connections to Israel in theological terms; and rationalizes, justifies, and trivializes terrorism, calling it “legal resistance.”
- Utilizes “apartheid” rhetoric and refers to the separation barrier as the “apartheid wall.”
- Wi’am disseminates literature in the form of books and manuals, which echo the organization’s distorted view of the region and the conflict as a whole. One such publication, Folded Pages, “sketches the various political and ideological tendencies of Palestinian people who resisted British occupation and Zionist colonization from the years 1917 to 1948.”
- In March 2022, W’iam’s founder and director Zoughbi Zoughbi led a course based off of Kairos Palestine’s publication “Cry for Hope: A Decisive Call for Action,” which called on Christian supporters to “take actions to end Israel’s occupation, including boycotts against Israel.” The course discussed how “The term ‘ethnic cleansing’ is a recent one in International Law. How do you understand that term and does it apply here, for Christians and Muslims alike?”
- In October 2021, Wi’am was a signatory on a statement condemning the decision by the Israeli Ministry to designate six Palestinian NGOs as terrorist organizations. According to the statement, “This designation targets all Palestinian civil society organizations, particularly those working to defend Palestinian human rights, document violations against Palestinians, offer legal aid, and carry out international advocacy work on their behalf, urging the international community to safeguard the human rights of Palestinians, particularly their right to self-determination, and ending the Israeli settler-colonialism and its Apartheid regime.”
- On February 5, 2019, Lucy Talgieh, Women Coordinator at Wi’am, shared an article that referred to the “daily Holocaust practiced by the Israeli occupation state against its people in the occupied Palestinian territories.” The post also referred to the Western Wall as the Al Buraq Wall.
- In June 2017, Wi’am was a signatory to an “Open Letter” from the National Coalition of Christian Organizations in Palestine to the World Council of Churches, accusing Israel of “Discrimination and inequality, military occupation and systematic oppression.” The letter calls upon the WCC to “recognize Israel as an apartheid state” and “unequivocally condemn the Balfour declaration as unjust, and that you demand from the UK that it asks forgiveness from the Palestinian people and compensates for the losses” (emphasis added). The letter also defends “our right and duty to resist the occupation creatively and nonviolently,” through “economic measures that pressure Israel to stop the occupation…in response to Israel’s war on BDS. We ask that you intensity those measures.”
- In 2016, Wi’am director Zoughbi Zoughbi led a workshop on the Balfour Declaration, which concluded with Zoughbi calling on Britain to “acknowledge its error and give an open apology to the Palestinians.” Zoughbi wrote that the “hope is that this admission of guilt will open the way to healing and pressuring the occupation into recognizing its aggression.”
- At a 2015 Christmas event, children depicted the story of David and Goliath, “where Goliath is that Israeli Army and David is the Palestinian land.” The same event was attended by “clowns from EAPPI.”
- In December 2014, Zoughbi participated in Kairos Palestine’s 5th Anniversary conference “Life with Dignity” in a panel titled “Kairos – Tolerance and Religious Extremism Abuse of religious threat to perpetrate violation of laws and values.”
- The panel featured Nassar Ibrahim, president of Defense for Children International-Palestine’s General Assembly, is the former editor of El Hadaf – the PFLP’s weekly publication. In May 2014, the PFLP unveiled a mural “developed by writer and journalist Nassar Ibrahim,” honoring PFLP founder George Habash. Several members attended and spoke at the event.
- In October 2014, Wi’am signed a statement calling for Europe to “recognize the State of Palestine.”
- In August 2014, referring the 2014 Gaza war, Zoughbi stated, “They started in the West Bank with the story of the 3 disappearing children and until this morning we are not sure what happened with them” (emphasis added). In contrast to Zoughbi’s retelling, Gilad Shaar, Naftali Fraenkel, and Eyal Yifrach were kidnapped and murdered on June 12, 2014. Their bodies were found on June 18, 2014.
- Distorts the context of terror by claiming that “…what is viewed as violence is different for the Palestinians and Israelis. The violence referred to by the Israelis, and their ally, is insurgent violence, which is the result of the systemic violence that has plagued the Palestinian people for many years at the hand of their occupier.”
- In a 2014 presentation at a conference sponsored by the United Methodist Church, Mr. Zoughbi—a member of the Mennonite Central Committee—claimed that “the issue is not Hamas- Israel is against the Palestinian people.” He strictly refers to the 2014 Gaza War as an “attack” and not a war, claiming that it “began with the story of the three disappearing children,” completely ignoring Hamas’s role in the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers.
- When asked if he would criticize the Palestinian media’s portrayal of Israelis, Zoughbi responded that he could not think of any instances.
- Uses antisemitic rhetoric, saying: “We [the Palestinians] are the victims of the victims of the holocaust, and thus its direct victims…The Palestinian people are dying on the Cross…Palestinians are taken from the Cross-to hide the Israeli Crimes. In an attempt to silence our voice, the Israeli occupation imposes sanction and siege on our people…We are laid in the Tomb” (emphasis added).
- Director Zoughbi Zoughbi has called for BDS, stating, “The world needs to be liberated from this guilty feeling that Israel has tried to instill in them and the world should be helping Israel shed its victim identity through BDS. And BDS is getting a very positive response, particularly from the Westerners. There is a growing movement among institutions, often religious or ideological, that are calling for divestment and academic, economic, and sports-related boycott. This is part of our struggle to achieve restorative justice, as BDS aims to address the problems rather than avenge them. With BDS, no one is taking an offensive approach and stating that we want to destroy Israel. Also the Palestinians must stop working in the settlements or on any project that belongs to the oppressive Israeli occupation, even if they must work out of necessity.”
- Zoughbi has also defended supporting BDS, stating, “We are not trying to bring Israel to its knees, but to its senses.”
- In a March 2019 interview, Wi’am Director Zoughbi Zoughbi stated, “I believe BDS is an important and legitimate form of non-violent struggle. When we talk about BDS we are talking about boycotting Israeli goods, especially from settlements, divesting from any company that prolongs occupation and imposing sanctions on Israel that bring it to its senses, not its knees.”
- In a May 18, 2018 interview on the US embassy moved and the violence along the Gaza border, Wi’am’s Women’s Coordinator Lucy Talgieh expressed support for BDS campaigns, stating that “We call on them [international community] to join us in our resistance to the evil of occupation and pressure on Israel. We ask the international community to do its duty. We call upon it to exert pressure on Israel by all effective means and by imposing sanctions to intervene for peace and justice, and to lift the injustice of the people of Gaza and the entire Palestinian people. We call on it to treat Israel as an apartheid state until it submits to international legitimacy” (emphasis added).
- On May 18, 2018, Wi’am posted a letter in “solidarity with the Palestinians on Nakba Day” that calls for “joining the Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions (BDS) movement…” The letter also refers to “how Israel carried out a mass ethnic cleansing that led to the establishment of Israel…We see how the ethnic cleansing continues as Israel confiscates more land; build more settlements, carries out massacres and ethnic cleansing.”
- In March 2016, Wi’am signed the “Call for Worldwide Women’s Endorsement of BDS” calling upon “women and feminists of the world, as well as women’s organizations and collectives, to endorse the BDS Call issued by Palestinian civil society in 2005 and join to the BDS movement to support our struggle for freedom, justice and equality” (emphasis added).
- In February 2016, Lucy Talgieh, Women Coordinator at Wi’am, was a signatory on a call of Palestinian Feminists in Palestine and Diaspora declaring support in “stand[ing] with the struggle of the indigenous/native Palestinians against the colonial apparatuses used by the Israeli occupation regime.” According to the call, “our duty is to engage in this struggle, in accordance with our respective circumstances, and to encourage international solidarity movements, the most effective of which is the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement” (emphasis added).
- In November 2015, Wi’am posted an International Solidarity Movement “urgent alert” on Facebook calling on civil society worldwide to “support the above demands and do all they can to pressure the Israeli government…including joining the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.”
- On October 20, 2014, posted about a meeting Wi’am Centre hosted in cooperation with the Palestinian Foreign Ministry on its Facebook page. According to the post, the meeting concluded with a number of recommendations, including “boycotting Israeli products and enhancing the BDS movement.”
- On February 10, 2014, Wi’am posted an article by Hanan Ashrawi titled “The Boycott Is Our Palestinian Non-violent Resistance.”
- On February 2, 2014, posted a “Popular Struggle Coordination Committee Press Release,” which states “Based on our support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS) we call upon our friends and international solidarity groups to stand with the demands of the Palestinian people and boycott all Israeli companies including Israeli factories and companies that work in the Jordan Valley and profit from Palestinian natural resources.”
- Wi’am’s 2011 “Christmas Message” states, “Your calls to adopt BDS are a blessed message of nonviolence, resisting the ugly violence of the Occupation to bring the occupiers to their senses. Christ is always struggling for restorative, not punitive Justice. Therefore we, as followers of Christ and the children of the Holy Land, look to redress injustice rather than avenge it” (emphasis added). This statement was also included in its 2010 Christmas Message.
- Signatory to the 2005 global call for BDS.
- Wi’am works with Amos Trust, CAFOD, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Church of Canada, Church of Sweden, DanChurchAid, EAPPI, Euro-Med, International Fellowship of Reconciliation, Kairos Palestine, National Coalition of Christian Organizations in Palestine, United Methodist Church, Women Waging Peace, World Council of Churches, and World Vision.
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