Ir Amim: European-funded Political Lobbying on Jerusalem
- NGO Monitor’s analysis shows that direct funding from foreign governments provides approximately 67% of Ir Amim’s budget. The balance is provided indirectly by European governments (via Oxfam NOVIB), and by the New Israel Fund, Ford Foundation, Open Society Institute, etc.
- Ir Amim received a two-year, €397,839 grant from the European Commission (through September 2010) for a project entitled “Keeping the Options Open for Final Status in Jerusalem.” In 2004-5, the EC provided €475,160 for a similar project.
- Ir Amim is also supported by the governments of Sweden, Norway, and the Czech Republic, and received British government funding in previous years.
Political advocacy and “relentless Israel bashing”
- Ir Amim was “founded in order to actively engage in those issues impacting on Israeli-Palestinian relations in Jerusalem and on the political future of the city,” through “legal advocacy aimed at halting or mitigating unilateral actions that harm the fabric of life in Jerusalem, and create obstacles to reaching an agreed-upon future for the city and the region,” and “policy advocacy with decision makers, both local and international.”
- Ir Amim produced Jerusalem Moments films. As noted by David Horovitz, editor of the Jerusalem Post, this film series “contained just about every imaginable one-sided, context-deficient, unbalanced misrepresentation of Israel rolled into one nasty package…a relentless Palestinian Israel-bashing, interspersed with near-relentless Israeli Israel-bashing.”
- On the Security Barrier: “Ir Amim believes that the Separation Barrier in Jerusalem, as currently planned and implemented by the Government of Israel, is not motivated primarily by security, but rather by the goal of consolidating and strengthening Israeli rule in East Jerusalem and its Palestinian suburbs…Ir Amim opposes this policy, and will act to change it.”
- “Israel’s unilateral annexation of Jerusalem cannot stand, and Netanyahu’s attempt to deny the depth of the conflict over sovereignty in Jerusalem will not only undermine the success of any future negotiation; it will increasingly damage the chances that the sides will even agree to start the discussion.” (Netanyahu Continues to Hide Behind Hollow Slogans, Ir Amim blog, Huffington Post, March 31, 2010)
Jerusalem: Promoting the Palestinian Narrative
- “Many national and municipal policies on residential zoning, demolitions, and confiscations disproportionately affected non-Jewish residents. According to the NGO Ir Amim and others, the intent of this disparity was to limit or diminish the non-Jewish population of the city.” (2009 Human Rights Report: Israel and the occupied territories, US Department of State, March 11, 2010)
- “The Holy Basin project and the activities in Silwan reflect heavy-handed and exclusionary policies – unprecedented in scope and nature – designed to incorporate these areas into an untrammeled Israeli sovereignty. These policies impose an extreme, exclusionary Jewish-Israeli narrative on the religious, national and cultural narratives of the Palestinian, Christian, and Muslim ‘other,’ dwarfing the physical embodiments of their beliefs and memories.” (State of Affairs – Jerusalem 2008, December 2008)
- “[A]n expansion of the Israeli presence is an act of sabotage against the city’s political future…this process of accelerated Judaization and Israelization in East Jerusalem intensifies the points of friction between two hostile populations…to change the existing discoursein the framework of which the Muslim Quarter becomes “the renewed Jewish Quarter,” the Old City and the Holy Basin become “ancient Jerusalem.” (Settlers acquire buildings in the Old City – Update, October 2009)
- “Shuafat RC (Refugee Camp) is an overcrowded, and impoverished Palestinian ‘ghetto’ in the heart of Jerusalem whose inhabitants defy Israeli control…” (Jerusalem Neighborhood Profile: Shuafat Refugee Camp, August 2006)
Advocacy: Blaming Israel for Failure of Peace Process
- “[Netanyahu] personally sabotaging the very diplomatic process he was purporting to lead…[Olmert] using construction in East Jerusalem in order to undermine political processes…Israel continues to exploit its superior power in order to try to determine what ‘reasonable’ borders are, thus emptying the negotiations of any practical significance.” (State of Affairs – Jerusalem 2008, December 2008)
- “When various Israeli officials…make pronouncements regarding building plans for the Palestinian population of East Jerusalem, these declarations tend to be empty gestures designed to forestall local and international criticism…and to ‘whitewash’ Israeli construction.” (Making Bricks Without Straw: The Jerusalem Municipality’s New Planning Policy for East Jerusalem, January 2010)
- “This marks a significant unilateral Israeli action to pre-judge and de-rail a negotiated agreement to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in Jerusalem.” (Demolitions in the Bustan Area of Silwan: Alert and Background, November 6, 2008)
- “In Silwan, just like in Sheikh Jarrah, legal and municipal regulations are used to promote an extreme political agenda, which aims to dictate a new geopolitical reality in the area.” (Beware of mayors with ‘new policies’, Orly Noy, Ir Amim spokesperson, Haaretz, January 22, 2010)