Israelis Against Apartheid have joined the near-universal condemnation of the recent decision to outlaw six Palestinian human rights organisations by labelling them terrorist groups. The Jewish Israeli group, which has over a thousand signatories, slammed the decision in an open letter yesterday urging people to join the global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement to end Israel’s brutal apartheid regime.
“We, Israeli citizens, stand in absolute solidarity with Palestinian human rights groups and their admirable work for justice, in the face of the recent attack on their existence and their labeling as terror organisations,” said Israelis Against Apartheid. They argued that like every colonial regime, crushing the colonised civil society has been a cornerstone of Israeli policies since its creation, both within the 1948 borders and in the territories it occupied in 1967.
“Criminalising any form of dissent and resistance by indigenous Palestinians, by labelling them as terrorists while at the same time calling its own colonial practices, of oppression and dispossession, ‘self-defense’ is essential in order to sustain Israel’s settler-Apartheid system,” the group continued.
Israelis Against Apartheid mentioned the importance of the work carried out by the banned Palestinian groups in documenting Israeli human rights violations and protecting non-Jews relegated to second-and third-class citizens in their historic homeland.
Under the ruling, issued last week the work of Addameer, Al-Haq, Defense for Children-Palestine, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, Busan Center for Research and Development, and the Union of Palestinian Women Committees have been banned.
No evidence was provided for banning the six groups, however, representatives from the Shin Bet security service and the Israeli Foreign Ministry will be sent to the United States to ease concern in Washington over Tel Aviv’s extreme authoritarian turn.
The move has been widely condemned including by the UN which denounced the terrorism designation as an attack on Palestinian civil society. US Congressman Rashida Tlaib also slammed the decision. “The apartheid regime’s labeling of award-winning human rights groups as terrorist organisations—just because they speak truths about Israel’s violence & its human impact—is grossly antidemocratic and dangerous,” said Tlaib urging the US to end funding for human rights abuse.
Israelis Against Apartheid described the terrorism designation as “part of the continued efforts by Israel to erase the traditions, kinship, and economy of Palestinian society and bring it to its knees.”
Urging people to join the Palestinian civil society’s call to join the BDS movement, the group said: “We call on those appalled by Israel’s apartheid and by its attempt to crush human rights organisations, to join us in supporting the organisations under attack.”
Israel will not end its occupation and apartheid regime of its own free will, they insisted, arguing that a joint effort was needed for pushing to bring it to an end, just like the BDS campaign against apartheid South Africa decades ago.