Goldstone and other UN frameworks

  • Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), Adalah, Bimkom, Gisha, HaMoked, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I), Public Committee against Torture in Israel (PCATI), and Yesh Din submitted a written statement to the Goldstone Commission on June 30, 2009.  The groups do not address alleged Hamas war crimes, “but rather offer[] our own distinct perspective – human rights violations for which Israel must be held accountable…. To the extent that this was planned as a punitive operation which main purpose was not the achievement of actual military objectives, but the inflicting of deliberate damage as a deterrent and punitive measure.”
  • On October 15-16, 2009, the UN Human Rights Council held a special session to debate the adoption of the Goldstone Report.  At the meeting, Adalah’s representative urged the HRC to adopt the report, claiming that “the Israeli legal and judicial systems have consistently failed in providing any legal remedies for the Palestinian people.”
  • On November 2-3, 2009, representatives of PCATI and Adalah joined the NGO leaders of the anti-Israel lawfare campaign (PCHR, Al Haq, FIDH) in a series of meetings with officials at the International Criminal Court (ICC) to “explor[e] different avenues to bring justice to the victims of serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law” relating to the Gaza War.

Lobbying foreign governments

  • B’Tselem operates an office in Washington, DC. Former Board Chair Anat Biletzki explained the motivation, “Now, if you go to Capitol Hill, you see B’Tselem’s booklets and reports on every single person’s desk. If you ask me if it will make a political difference —I think that it’s the only way to get through to some people… hopefully, this will lead to the politics getting done right.” (“Precis Interview,” PRECIS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Fall 2007)
  • Adalah co-wrote a report (February 2011) that was submitted to the EU and EU-member states, alleging, “the situation of the Palestinian Arab minority in Israel has further deteriorated with a flood of discriminatory legislation that targets their basic citizenship rights, rampant anti-Arab racism throughout the country, and attacks, including criminal indictments, against Arab political leaders for their legitimate political activities.” The authors urged the EU to pressure Israel and “Condition the upgrade of its relations with Israel, including any new bilateral agreement, on tangible improvements in the human rights situation in the OPT and in Israel.”
  • Mossawa and PCATI testified before the EU Subcommittee for Human Rights, misrepresenting a large number of bills that were introduced in the Knesset (Israeli Parliament): “Jafar Farah, director of the Mossawa Center, asked the European Parliament to take immediate measures to prevent the adoption of the four bills threatening the activity of civil society organizations in Israel.” (“European Parliament Subcommittee on Human Rights holds exchange of views on the situation of civil society and NGOs in Israel,” Mossawa, July 2, 2010)
  • Lobbying letter to MEPs and distortion of the contents on Transparency Law: “Attached please find the materials we had presented during our meetings, including a translation of the law proposal, some messaging points and a letter written by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel on behalf of the organisations to Israeli Ministers. In addition, as discussed last week, please find a draft of an Urgent Oral Question to the EC and the Council that we have prepared at your suggestion…. How will the EU follow other anti-democratic trends in Israel with a view to protecting human rights and human rights defenders?” (Miri Weingarten [“on behalf of the Israeli NGOs”] and CEO of NIF-Israel Rachel Liel“, Israeli NGOs proposed law – thanks and follow up,” March 1, 2010)
  • “Last March, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI ) published a report stating that the present Knesset has passed a record amount of anti-democratic, discriminatory and racist legislation which violates human rights…  ‘I say that the campaign being waged against the laws on the grounds that they are racist is contributing just as much to the delegitimization. I get requests from embassies and international organizations to explain about the racist legislation being enacted by the Knesset.’” (“Legal Guardian” [Interview with Knesset Legal Adviser Eyal Yinon], Jonathan Lis, Haaretz, June 3, 2011)
  • On May 14, 2009, Israel Social TV, Mossawa, Machsom Watch, Women against Violence, and Coalition of Women for Peace sent a letter to the Council on Ethics of the Norwegian Government Pension Fund, petitioning the Fund to divest from Israeli corporations that allegedly “provide specifically designed equipment for the surveillance and repression of Palestinian population through restrictions of movement and collective punishments; or take part in the illegal exploitation of Palestinian nonrenewable natural resources for the needs of the Israeli market.”
  • Gisha and PHR-I, in conjunction with Human Rights Watch, wrote a May 2008 letter to President George W. Bush, accusing Israel of “collective punishment” in Gaza and misrepresenting the legal status of that territory.

Other international activities

  • Breaking the Silence (BtS) claims its goal is “to expose the Israeli public to the reality of everyday life in the Occupied Territories.”  However, it frequently travels throughout the US, Canada and Europe, speaking to private and governmental audiences. BtS director Yehuda Shaul explained, “Sometimes to make messages go in, you must go out.” In March 2011, BtS held an exhibition at the Army Museum in Stockholm, Sweden. As the representative of BtS at the event, Itamar Shapira told a reporter, “We are the oppressors, we are the ones that are violating human rights on a daily basis. We are creating the terror against us, basically.” (“Israeli Ex-Soldiers ‘Break the Silence’ in Sweden,” NTD Television, March 15, 2011)
  • Israeli-Arab GLBT groups Aswat and Al-Qaws published a letter in solidarity with Queers against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA) regarding controversy over its appearance at the Toronto Pride Parade in July 2010. The organizations claimed that “Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are struggling for their basic human rights under Israel’s stifling Apartheid. Our 62-year struggle for freedom from Israeli occupation and Apartheid is a struggle for justice and human rights from its inception. The struggle against occupation and Apartheid is a struggle for human rights, and that is the struggle that QuAIA is furthering.”

Appendix: NIF funding for NGOs in this document

NGONIF funding for 2006NIF funding for 2007NIF funding for 2008NIF funding for 2009NIF funding for 2010Total
ACRI$992,386$866,148$812,912$603,250 $781,123$4,055,819
Adalah$429,746$105,396$510,150$55,400  $475,950$1,579,642
Al-Qaws--$77,000$45,500  $58,110$180,61
Arab Forum for Sexuality-$43,500$28,898$10,000  -$82,398
Aswat--$34,000$7,200  $42,300$83,500
B'Tselem$288,073$139,643$357,569$111,722  $368,832$1,265,839
Bimkom$239,500$349,150$334,571$449,000  $274,000$1,646,221
BtS$61,046$70,976$68,833$49,000  $152,540$402,395
Coalition of Women for Peace$243,194$22,233$20,082$8,620  $20,130$314,259
Gisha$14,929$900$19,796$4,350  $35,975$75,950
HaMoked$254,481$5,034$240,250$36,320  $208,300$744,385
IsraeliSocial TV$5,000$10,000$65,580$47,500  $25,000$153,080
Machsom Watch $42,775$33,061$89,362$39,500  $34,362$239,060
Mossawa$125,120$280,022$112,500$213,000  $92,625$823,267
PCATI$20,046$13,842$15,000$7,500  $30,000$86,388
PHR-I$227,817$65,004$210,716$178,182  $301,947$983,66
Women against Violence$135,800$309,000$149,700$322,000  $88,000$1,004,500
Yesh Din$57,182$63,123$73,642$42,85 $38,866$275,663