Jerusalem – Today, NGO Monitor released a report on the Israeli NGO Adalah and its misleading database that mischaracterizes Israeli laws as “racist.” The report, “Imagining Racism to Demonize Israel,” highlights the exploitative charges in Adalah’s “Discriminatory Laws in Israel” database. According to NGO Monitor’s analysis, Adalah brands all Jewish aspects of Israel as racist, ignores laws that specifically protect ethnic minorities, misquotes laws, and deceptively includes fringe proposals that never became law.

Adalah’s database, launched in March 2013, lists 101 laws and proposed pieces of legislation that it considers to “discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel in all areas of life.” The database has been cited numerous times by pro-Palestinian activists as proof of supposed Israeli discrimination in publications as diverse at BET and the New York Times, despite its distortions and radically anti-Jewish political agenda.

“Adalah’s law database promotes the false and demonizing allegation that ‘Zionism is racism’, and labels all references to the Jewish connection to Israel, including use of the Hebrew calendar or menorah symbol, as ‘racist’. This is part of the political warfare strategy Adalah helped formulate at the 2001 UN Durban Conference,” said Professor Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor.  “Adalah also strips away the comparative context, treating Israel’s status as the nation-state of the Jewish people as if it were unique among democratic societies.”

Many of the laws and proposed laws in Adalah’s database are entirely unrelated to Israeli Arabs or other minorities. In addition, Adalah claims that laws benefiting those who completed military or national service discriminate against Arabs, ignoring the fact that thousands of Arabs, including Bedouin and Druze, serve in the Israeli armed forces and national service programs, and are allotted the same benefits package as other veterans.

The database, published in English, also repeatedly misquotes and misconstrues laws, while failing to provide translations of the laws to facilitate independent evaluation by readers who cannot access the original texts”. Furthermore, 44 of the 101 items in Adalah’s database are Knesset proposals that never passed, obscuring Israel’s vibrant democratic process.

“It is disconcerting that European governments, along with the New Israel Fund, continue to support Adalah,” said Professor Steinberg. “Its efforts to deny the legitimacy of Israel and its democratic processes are incompatible with the stated goals and guidelines of its funders. There is an urgent need for due diligence on the part of those who continue to fund Adalah and similar NGOs.”