Jerusalem 20/06/18 – Yesterday, NGO Monitor filed an amicus brief in the Jerusalem District Court case involving Omar Shakir, a Human Rights Watch (HRW) staffer and BDS activist. Shakir and HRW filed suit against the Israeli government after a renewal of his work visa was denied. The next hearing in the case is scheduled for later this month.
HRW’s counsel, Adv. Michael Sfard, moved to prevent the brief’s acceptance.
NGO Monitor decided to file the brief after Shakir, HRW, and their attorney made numerous misrepresentations regarding Shakir’s involvement as a BDS activist. The brief is based on more than fifteen years of research and expertise into the NGO superpower. It demonstrates conclusively that HRW and Shakir, despite their claims to the contrary, both support campaigns of boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel.
The brief specifically is not intended to address the legal questions of the case, but rather to aid the court by providing the necessary factual dimension of the claimants’ activities.
“We filed this brief because we were highly disturbed by Omar Shakir’s and HRW’s gross misrepresentations to the Israeli government and the court regarding their activities, and feel compelled to set the record straight,” stated Anne Herzberg, Legal Advisor at NGO Monitor. “We do not take a position on Israel’s visa policy in general, or toward Shakir specifically, but want to ensure that the Court’s decision in this case is not made based upon false and distorted claims.”
The brief highlights numerous statements by Shakir demonstrating his open support for BDS and similar campaigns against Israel, including his close identification with what he calls “our movement.” It also reveals comments by activist Linda Sarsour, who said, “activists that support BDS, including people like our brother Omar Shakir…and they want deported just because he supports BDS.” Sarsour’s remarks were made at a June 1 conference hosted by Shakir’s former employer, the Center for Constitutional Rights, one of the leading BDS groups in the US. Omar Shakir also attempted to attend a 2017 FIFA board meeting in Bahrain as part of an HRW effort to sanction Israeli football, despite claims made by his attorney that he had no involvement in this HRW campaign.
NGO Monitor’s brief also points to HRW statements, including multiple reports calling for sanctions against and divestment from Israel’s banking industry.