UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI), an activist organisation which focuses on attacking supporters of Palestinian human rights, has settled out of court in a case brought forward after it alleged children’s rights NGO, Defence for Children International – Palestine (DCIP), had close links to terror groups.
The news comes as DCIP reached a settlement in a defamation case against UKLFI.
On its website, UKLFI stated:
In 2018 we wrote about Defence for Children International – Palestine and referred to links between some past board members and a designated terrorist organisation, the PFLP. We would like to clarify that we did not intend to suggest that the organisation has close current links, or provides any financial or material support to any terrorist organisation.
In a press release issued shortly after news broke of the settlement, DCIP noted that UKLFI has been targeting DCIP since 2018 “through a well-orchestrated political and media misinformation campaign aimed at isolating it, seriously harming its reputation and integrity as a human rights organisation, and preventing it from receiving charitable donations or raising funds.”
In June 2019, represented by Bindmans LLP, DCIP “issued libel proceedings against UKLFI in London at the High Court of Justice for publishing blog posts on their website and sending letters to institutional donors alleging DCIP had strong ‘links’ to a designated terrorist group.”
UKLFI specifically alleged that “donations to DCIP have encouraged and/or facilitated acts of terrorism” and, DCIP added, “threatened to report donors to relevant authorities if they did not cease providing DCIP with financial support”.
DCIP noted that UKLFI actions “take place in a context where Israeli, Palestinian, and international human rights and humanitarian organisations face increasing operational obstacles and shrinking civic space in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory.”
“A network of Israeli civil society organizations and global partners, with the support of the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy, have led targeted and organised defamation campaigns to delegitimise humanitarian and human rights organisations operating in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip,” DCIP added.
“While allegations made are unsubstantiated and distort critical factual or legal elements, they have nonetheless negatively impacted the ability of organisations to deliver critical assistance to Palestinians and advocate on behalf of their human rights.”
“DCIP carries out its work in a situation of armed conflict where perpetrators of war crimes enjoy systemic impunity,” said Brad Parker, Senior Policy and Advocacy Adviser at DCIP.
“Rather than demand Israeli forces stop intentionally and unlawfully killing Palestinian child protesters in the Gaza Strip, or that Israeli authorities hold perpetrators accountable, rising conservative nationalist social forces in Israel and their global partners aim to silence and eliminate legitimate human rights work.”
In February, Israel launched an attack on DCIP prompted by an invitation by Belgium to host the NGO at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
Taking to Twitter, Emmanuel Nahshon, Ambassador of Israel to Belgium and Luxembourg, claimed that Belgium has “chosen to invite terror supporters to a Security Council debate”, adding: “This is extremely disappointing and we will express our outrage in the strongest possible terms”.
Days later, Parker “received an early morning phone call informing me that Brussels had decided to change the Security Council event from an open meeting to a closed meeting — meaning that I was no longer a participant.”
Just last month, UKLFI also published a statement by Interpal, following allegations made by the Israel advocacy group against the NGO and its trustees.
“DCIP issued libel proceedings against UK Lawyers for Israel in the Royal Courts of Justice in relation to false allegations that DCIP has close current links to terror organisations and provides material support to terrorist groups,” said Tamsin Allen, DCIP’s solicitor at Bindmans LLP. “We are pleased to confirm that the case was settled at an early stage with UKLFI confirming that it did not intend to make any such allegations and publishing a statement to that effect.”
UKLFI, for its part, followed up their statement with a fresh attack on DCIP, disputing the children’s rights’ group’s version of events.