Israeli Apartheid Week 2010: NGO Involvement
Updated on March 3, 2010 with information on ICAHD
Overview (more details below)
- Adalah (Funded by New Israel Fund and the European Union)
- ICAHD (Funded by the European Commission EIDHR program and Spain)
- Alternative Information Center (Funded by the Sweden via Diakonia, and Christian Aid)
- Palestinian Center for Human Rights (Funded by the European Union, Oxfam NOVIB, the Open Society Institute, Christian Aid, Dan Church Aid, Trocaire, Norway, Ireland, Denmark)
- Addameer (Funded by NDC — Switzerland, Sweden, Netherlands, and Denmark)
- Badil (Funded by NDC — Switzerland, Sweden, Netherlands, and Denmark)
- Breaking the Silence’s “Israeli Soldiers talk about Hebron”
- “Occupation 101” video, with interviews with Human Rights Watch, Rabbis for Human Rights, ICAHD, B’Tselem, Gaza Community Mental Health Programme
- Canadian Arab Federation
- Independent Jewish Voices
- National Lawyers Guild – NY Chapter
- WESPAC, a Westchester, NY-based pro-Palestinian group
Adalah: On Tuesday, March 9, a representative of the NIF- and EU-funded Adalah is scheduled to speak at Al Quds University in Abu Dis “on Apartheid as it is experienced by Palestinian citizens of Israel” (i.e. Israeli-Arabs). Adalah published a 2007 “Democratic Constitution” calling for the abolishment of Israel’s Jewish character. Based on the concept of “a one-state solution,” the document would permit Jewish immigration for “humanitarian reasons” only. Adalah officials, in conjunction with radical Palestinian NGO Al-Haq, also wrote and edited large portions of a May 2009 300-page publication, initiated by anti-Israel ideologue John Dugard, entitled “Occupation, Colonialism, Apartheid?: A re-assessment of Israel´s practices in the occupied Palestinian territories under international law.” The document refers to Israeli occupation as a “colonial enterprise which implements a system of apartheid.”
Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD): In Glasgow, Jeff Halper, head of ICAHD, will speak on “Israeli Apartheid: The Case For BDS” and will explain how “Palestinians are ‘warehoused’ in Gaza” (March 17). (Halper will also speak on “Israel and Palestine hurtling Towards Apartheid” in Santa Cruz on March 4.) Halper regularly refers to the Israeli “matrix of control,” claiming that a bi-national state is the only remaining option resulting from Israel’s “futile attempt to impose an apartheid regime.” ICAHD’s website promotes a “campaign against apartheid,” and accuses Israel of “state terrorism.” Halper has claimed that Israel “wants to enclose [the Palestinians] in a little Bantustan-type state.”
Alternative Information Center (AIC): Shir Hever, an “economic researcher” from the self-declared radical NGO AIC, is scheduled to give three lectures in the Netherlands, Amsterdam (March 10), Tilburg (March 11), and Utrecht (March 12). The head of AIC, Michael Warschawski, is speaking in Oxford, billed as a “leading Israeli anti-apartheid figure.” AIC, which refers to the Arab-Israeli “colonial conflict,” has published an article claiming that partnerships between Palestinian NGOs and the Israeli Peres Center for Peace are “politically unacceptable, and morally disgusting. Shimon Peres is definitely an enemy of the Palestinian people, of human rights and of peace.”
Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR): AIC’s office is also serving as a venue for two IAW events in Bethlehem on “the Effects of Operation Cast Lead on Mental Health in the Gaza Strip” (March 2) and on “Settlement Expansion and Judaization of Jerusalem” (March 6). The first was scheduled to be given, via videoconference, by Raji Sourani, director of the PCHR (his name has since been removed from the schedule; the lecture is still listed). PCHR frequently condones Palestinian terrorism using the euphemism of “resistance” and terms like “apartheid” and “racist” in reference to Israel.
Addameer and Badil: Sahar Francis of Addameer will speak about “Palestinian Political Prisoners” and Nidal al-Azza from Badil on “Refugees and Israel’s Apartheid Regime” at Al Quds University (March 9). Sahar Francis testified in front of the Goldstone commission in July 2009 claiming that “the main purpose of these [Israeli] policies of the imprisonment was to broke [sic] the soul of the resistance in the Palestinian people against the occupation.” Badil, which claims to focus on the “right of return,” calls for a “targeted campaign to expose the lies of AIPAC and the Anti-Defamation League and to expose the Jewish and Zionist community’s double standards regarding Nakba & Occupation.” Badil refers to “Israel’s colonial apartheid regime,” “state-sponsored racism,” and “systematic ethnic cleansing,” and alleges that “[i]nstitutionalized racism and discrimination” are the “root causes of the…displacement and dispossession of the Palestinian people.”
Mazin Qumsiyeh will speak on “Israeli Apartheid and Palestinian Popular Resistance” in Providence, Connecticut, and at four different universities in Boston (March 3, 4). Qumsiyeh co-founded the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, was on the steering committee of the US Campaign to End the Occupation, and has been actively involved with BoycottIsraeliGoods.org and Sabeel North America – the NGO behind the church divestment movement. He also claims to be an “active member of a number of human rights groups (Amnesty, Peace action, Human Rights Watch, ACLU etc.).” He accuses Israeli soldiers of acting “like Nazi guards in various situations,” and refers to the Palestinians as the “victims of Israeli colonialism” and the “apartheid wall.” Qumsiyeh is a proponent of a “one-state solution.”
Other politicized speakers include Naeem Jeenah, set to speak on “Five Years Since the BDS Call – Celebrating Our Success” (Toronto, March 1) and “Fighting Racism, Fighting Apartheid” (Ottawa, March 4). Jeenah is the spokesperson for the South African Palestine Solidarity Committee, which employs the demonizing rhetoric of “massacre in Gaza” and “isolate apartheid Israel.” Jeenah has written that “Israel is, quite simply, an apartheid ethnocracy” and argued that “[t]he only solution…is a single bi-national state.” He has also claimed that “[c]learly, Zionism is a theory of ethnic cleansing and racism” and referred to Israeli “state terrorism.”
Ali Abunimah who runs the “Electronic Intifada,” propaganda website, will present a lecture in Edmonton entitled “Beyond Apartheid: Paths to Ending the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse” (March 1).
Screening of NGO Videos
In Connecticut, IAW events include the screening of a Breaking the Silence (BtS) film “Israeli Soldiers talk about Hebron.” BtS conducts tours to Hebron and the South Hebron Hills to “witness first hand the dire situation” and support its claim that in Hebron there is “a reality of apartheid and a kind of ‘ethnic cleansing.’” These tours have been criticized by Israeli police officials for “antagoniz[ing]…settlers in the hope that the settlers will attack them.” In addition to collecting anonymous testimony from soldiers, much of it based on hearsay or incomplete knowledge and widely cited as evidence of “war crimes” including the Goldstone report.
The film “Occupation 101” is being shown in various locations including California, Connecticut, and Toronto. Presented as a tool to “rais[e] awareness of Israel’s apartheid policies,” the film interviews numerous NGO officials, among them: Rabbi Arik Ascherman (Rabbis for Human Rights), Peter Boukaert (Human Rights Watch), Jeff Halper (Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions), Yael Stein (B’Tselem) and Dr. Iyad Sarraj (Gaza Community Mental Health Programme).
NGO Endorsers and Funders
The Canadian Arab Federation (CAF), recently defunded by the Canadian government for “promotion of hatred, anti-Semitism and support for the banned terrorist organizations Hamas and Hezbollah,” is an endorser of IAW in Toronto and Ottawa. Independent Jewish Voices (IJV), which adopted the BDS strategy in 2009, is a Toronto and Ottawa endorser.
Notably absent from the list of endorsers is Canadian NGO Alternatives which endorsed IAW in Montreal in 2009. Alternatives has been heavily subsidized by the Canadian government in the past, and is waiting to hear if a $2 million grant will be approved.
New York City’s IAW events are being sponsored by WESPAC, which claims to be “the leading force in Westchester County for peace and justice work for over three decades.” WESPAC is run by Nada Khader, a Palestinian-American activist. WESPAC is the financial backer of numerous highly politicized initiatives and groups such as the “New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel” (tagline: “Apartheid: We don’t buy it. Boycott Israel!”) and Adalah-New York which targets “the US and Israeli Apartheid Walls with Mexico and Palestine.” CODEPINK, National Lawyers Guild-New York Chapter, Adalah-NY, and others are also supporting the New York events.