In an open letter, more than 100 global foundations and donors have expressed solidarity with Palestinian civil society, after six leading human rights organisations were designated as so-called ‘terrorist organisations’ by the Israeli Defense Minister, Benjamin Gantz.
‘The cynical weaponization of anti-terrorism laws poses an existential threat both for Palestinian human rights defenders and those defending human rights globally,’ said Lara Friedman, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, a philanthropic organization that promotes a just resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
‘The breadth of signers of this letter underscores funders’ shared recognition of the urgency of challenging this dangerous tactic, and of the moral obligation to defend partners on the ground who, in essence, have been singled out for attack because they have done their work defending human and civil rights too well.’
The letter’s list of signatories includes foundations and funder networks across the U.S. and Europe that support environmental justice, feminist movements, and human rights — all areas that the six banned nonprofit organizations focus on.
Providing essential services for more than five million Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation, the targeted organisations include Addameer, Al-Haq, Bisan Center for Research and Development, Defense for Children International – Palestine, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees. International human rights and intergovernmental bodies rely on the targeted groups for documentation of Israeli rights violations.
The philanthropy open letter urges the U.S. government, European Union, and other governments around the world to protect Palestinian civil society by taking the following actions:
- Denounce all smear campaigns against Palestinian civil society organizations and press the Israeli government to immediately and fully rescind Gantz’s designation of ‘terrorist organization’ against the six prominent Palestinian human rights organizations;
- Hold the Israeli government accountable to adhere to international law and human rights standards; and;
- Ensure that any philanthropic funds designated toward civil society organizations in Palestine reach them without interference by the Israeli government or financial institutions.
The full text of the letter and latest list of signatories may be found here.