Stand with the six - #31
Six Palestinian human rights groups are struggling to have their bogus "terrorism" designation by Israel reversed.
As we saw in last week’s newsletter, Israel has banned six leading Palestinian human rights groups. If implemented, this draconian measure threatens to shut down these groups altogether.
Al-Haq, Addameer, Defense for Children International Palestine, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees and the Bisan Center for Research and Development have all been unilaterally re-classified by Israel as “terrorist” groups.
Reactions have flooded in from across the world and the ban has received a wide range of press coverage. The governments of the US and Ireland have both told journalists that they were not warned by Israel about the bans before they were announced.
But as my colleague at The Electronic Intifada Ali Abunimah revealed on Friday the European Union does seem to have been warned in advance. And they have still pointedly not condemned the move, effectively giving a green light to Israel’s criminalization of Palestinian human rights groups.
This is despite the fact that the EU has given funding to some of the six groups in the past.
The British government has also refused to condemn Israel’s criminalisation of Palestinian human rights defenders. Britain’s nine main trade unions — as well as the Trade Union Congress umbrella group — issued a condemnation of the ban.
They said that:
This attack is a brazen attempt to further restrict Palestinian rights and to silence and punish Palestinian human rights defenders already working against incredible odds. We note that the six organisations targeted are amongst those most effectively documenting Israel’s systematic violations of Palestinian rights
They also called on the British government to demand Israel reverses the ban. Sixteen British charities, faith organizations and human rights groups have also condemned the ban — including Save the Children, Christian Aid and Oxfam.
Israel is aggressively using its troll networks to push back against the support that the six groups have have received. This seems to be calculated to create the false impression that there are “two sides” to the narrative here.
Act.IL — an Israeli government troll army with an annual budget of more than $1 million which I have been reporting on in depth since 2018 — has issued a flurry of “missions” attacking the six groups.
What can you do to act against the ban?
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign is urging its members to write to their MPs. In the US, Jewish Voice for Peace Action is urging its supporters to urgently call Congress and Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Both have posted resources to help with the campaign.
My work this week
I wrote this new piece for subscribers, about Vanessa Redgrave’s 1977 film The Palestinian. It’s an analysis of the film, giving important background on the Lebanese civil war and the lost Palestinian revolution in South Lebanon.
Upgrade to a paid subscription and have a read. There is a preview for non-subscribers.
Here’s my weekly column for Middle East Monitor:
This is quite simply an attack on Palestinian existence. There are no forms of Palestinian public life that are considered permitted and legal by Israel.
When I lived in the West Bank between 2005 and 2007, I witnessed this first-hand. Any Palestinian demonstration against the occupation – no matter how peaceful – would be outlawed, and the area declared a “closed military zone”.
And now, it seems Israel wants to declare even the liberal concept of “human rights” to be a closed military zone.
Read the rest over at MEMO.
Corbyn documentary update
Thank you to everyone who has watched my mini-documentary on how Israel helped depose Jeremy Corbyn. We released it in April and it’s had more than 71,000 views on YouTube.
If you haven’t seen it yet, watch in the video below, and check out the show notes.
No newsletter next week
I’m off on Monday, so no newsletter next week. But as usual I’ll schedule something from the archives to repost.