Another nail in the coffin of Israeli “democracy”, a fanciful word that always meant discrimination against non-Jews:
A new report and billboard campaign launched by Israeli group Im Tirtzu – the Second Zionist Revolution” accuses at least twelve Israeli human rights groups of support for or involvement in the indictment of Israeli officials for serious violations of international law in courts overseas, under the principle of ‘universal jurisdiction’ (see below).
Launched to coincide with Israeli Remembrance Day on 19 April, and Independence Day on 20 April, the campaign also accuses two grant-making bodies, the New Israel Fund (NIF) and the Ford Foundation, of complicity in these activities.
The report, of which 34 pages have been made available to JNews, was published Friday by reporter Ben Caspit of the Israeli daily Ma’ariv. (Both report and article are in Hebrew.)
Caspit covered the report largely sympathetically, although he objected to the blatant connection to Remembrance Day. According to his article:
“Im Tirtzu are keeping the grand finale of the campaign for Remembrance Day. It will feature a hard-hitting billboard: against the background of a wreath placed on the tomb of a fallen IDF soldier from operation ‘Cast Lead’, with a burning torch in the background, the following text will appear: ‘We salute, They persecute! New Israel Fund and Adalah: Subversives, we’ve had enough of you.’”
The chairperson of Im Tirtzu, Ronen Shoval, is quoted in the article as saying: “This research and its results made us feel sick. Every Hebrew mother should know that while her son stands guard, somewhere there is a lawyer connected to the NIF sitting and thinking how to turn him into a war criminal.”
The latter is a play on a famous quote by David Ben-Gurion, who said that every Hebrew (Jewish) mother should know that her son is in good hands in the army.
Caspit says that the NIF employs a “systematic pattern of action” and that it “establishes and sponsors dozens of radical anti-Zionist organizations.” He adds that the Im Tirtzu campaign aims to expose the “antithesis” to Remembrance Day: “Israelis who ask international courts to conduct ‘targeted assassinations’ against Israeli officers.”
The report points to Gaza-based rights group the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) as the prime mover in legal action against Israeli officials overseas in recent years. It then attempts to describe links between that organization and Israeli human rights groups, the NIF and the Ford Foundation.
The report mentions a plethora of Israeli organizations, including Gisha, Bimkom, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, HaMoked, B’Tselem, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI), Yesh Din, MachsomWatch, Social TV, Zochrot, Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP), Adalah and Rabbis for Human Rights, but the accusations directed at them are rather broad.
Most of these organizations are castigated for maintaining ongoing relations with PCHR and other Palestinian organizations, exchanging human rights information with them and issuing joint statements against human rights violations. Social TV is also castigated for having organized public debates about the principle of universal jurisdiction.
The report also criticizes Israeli lawyer Michael Sfard (Yesh Din) and Ishai Menuhin (PCATI) for saying that if Israeli officials are not brought to justice in Israel, they should face charges abroad, while the feminist peace group Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP), is attacked for having issued a statement supporting indictment abroad of Israeli officials for crimes committed during the Gaza offensive (2009).
Menuhin is described as having promoted a war crimes case while he was a spokesperson for Israeli antimilitarist group Yesh Gvul, while human rights group Adalah – The Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel – is targeted for having provided a legal opinion for one of the legal cases overseas.
The report also examines in detail the history and connections of Jamil Dakwar, a lawyer whose studies were previously funded by the NIF, and is now active in submitting war crimes cases against Israeli policymakers.
Financial relations between these organizations and the NIF, and between the Ford Foundation and the NIF, are also explored in detail.