Sokatch visit – NGO Monitor has its say
NGO Monitor is a Jerusalem-based organisation whose name is self explanatory…it had a lot to say about J-Wire’s article published on the visit to Australia of the New Israel Fund’s CEO Daniel Sokitch.
In their statement NGO Monitor writes:
“New Israel Fund’s (NIF) Daniel Sokatch unfortunately presents misleading information regarding the strength of Israeli democracy and the activities of NIF grantees.
He references proposed legislation, never heard on the Knesset floor, to support his claim that Israel is experiencing “attempted de-democratisation.” But in Israel, as in all democracies, numerous legislation is introduced – often by self-serving politicians – that is widely debated and discussed. The fact that the legislation never became law affirms Israel’s democratic mechanisms.
Sokatch also misrepresents the activities of its grantee, Adalah, which has been involved in BDS and “lawfare” campaigns against Israel – violating NIF’s own guidelines. Additionally, Adalah’s “Democratic Constitution” (2007) calls for replacing the Jewish state with a “democratic, bilingual and multicultural” framework, redefining the “symbols of the state,” and restricting Jewish immigration solely for “humanitarian reasons.”
Additional Aalah BDS, Lawfare, and Delegitimization Activities:
A December 2011 High Court of Justice decision(HCJ 3292/07) rejected a petition by Adalah (and Palestinian NGO Al-Haq), which alleged Israeli war crimes in Gaza in 2004. Judge Dorit Beinish wrote, “The comprehensive petition, and the severe allegations in it, do not lay out a factual or legal basis appropriate for a practical and concrete review… It appears to be an attempt to use the court…” Judge Elyakim Rubinstein added, “What is hiding behind the legal, scholarly disguise…, is it not that its real purpose is de-legitimising the State of Israel, while threatening…to employ ‘universal jurisdiction’” (emphasis added). The threats in the petition clearly contradict NIF’s policy in opposition to “lawfare.”
On April 5, 2012, as part of events in advance of the London “Palestine Film Festival 2012”, Adalah’s Suhad Bishara reportedly discussed “threats faced by the Palestinian population today with Amnesty UK campaign manager Kristyan Benedict.” During Bishara’s talk, Benedict posted Twitter messages: “Suhad giving excellent & concise overview of the #Nakba to set context for the demolitions & proposed evictions happening now” and “Suhad Bishara from Adalah says the ‘Prawer Law’ establishes a ‘new military regime in Israel’” (emphasis added). Amnesty UK and Benedict have records of extreme rhetoric and anti-Israel advocacy.
Bishara was advertised as a speaker for a February 14, 2012 event organized by a Swiss group named “BDS Geneva” under the title “The policy of Apartheid in Israel: The new racist laws.” Following criticism of Adalah, NIF released a statement claiming that “Adalah and its representatives are not participating in the event.”
This BDS event in Geneva coincided with the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination’s (CERD) review of Israel. Adalah’ssubmission to this clearly biased international framework included allegations that Israeli laws and policies “permit and even actively promote racial discrimination.” Adalah attorney Orna Kohnappeared before the committee, accusing Israel of enacting “over 40 discriminatory laws against Palestinian citizens of Israel” (emphasis in the original) and “profound discrimination” against the “indigenous Arab Bedouin citizens of Israel.”
EU and UN campaigns promoting false allegations against Israel: – In February 2011, lobbied the EU to “Raise its concerns regarding the Palestinian Arab minority in Israel at the highest political level, as well as in all bilateral relations with Israel…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.”
Sanctions: In lobbying for the Goldstone Report and its recommendations, particularly in UN and European frameworks, Adalah issued a press release urging governments to “re-evaluate their relationship with Israel.”
Apartheid rhetoric – Officials wrote and edited large portions of a May 2009 pseudo-academic study that refers to “a colonial enterprise which implements a system of apartheid.” The report delegitimises Israeli self-defense measures as “inhumane act[s] of apartheid…perpetrated in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over another.” The publication was published in conjunction with Al Haq, a Ramallah-based NGO whose General Director, according to the Israeli Supreme Court, is a “senior activist” in the PFLP terrorist organization.
Lawfare – In 2009, submitted an affidavit to a Spanish court, supporting the Palestinian Center for Human Rights’ attempt to have seven Israeli officials arrested and prosecuted for “war crimes.”
Defending those convicted of security offenses: Labeled convicted Hezbollah spy Amir Makhoul “a political activist and human rights defender,” and implied that his arrest was linked to “attacks against human rights organizations in Israel working to defend Palestinian rights” (May 10, 2010). Adalah lawyer Abir Baker, who was defending another individual engaged in contacts with Hezbollah, told a reporter that the case should be seen “in the context of efforts by Israel to limit the right of Arab citizens to strengthen cultural and political ties to the rest of the Arab world. Several of Israel’s Arab political parties, including the one Mr. Said belongs to, have been trying to inform the Arab world about the minority’s campaign for democratic reforms to end Israel’s status as a Jewish state…Israel wants to make us invisible” (September 22, 2010).