Israel lobby admits to lying about Palestinian rights group

Shawan Jabarin, the director of Al-Haq, at the organization’s office in Ramallah in October 2021.

Keren Manor ActiveStills

The principal Israel lobby group in the Netherlands has removed three articles from its website containing smears against Al-Haq, a prominent Palestinian human rights group.

After Al-Haq took legal action against it, the Center for Information and Documentation Israel (CIDI) admitted that the articles contained false claims harming “the good name of the organization.”

One one of these claims is that Al-Haq has “extensive ties with Palestinian terrorist groups” and belongs to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a Marxist-Leninist faction proscribed by Israel, the US and EU.

Israel designated Al-Haq and several other well-known Palestinian civil society groups as terrorist organizations in October 2021, claiming that they were front groups for the PFLP. Israel has not presented any proof substantiating its allegations, which have been rejected by 10 European countries that fund the organizations, including the Netherlands.

CIDI also admitted that it “falsely claimed that Al-Haq is on several international terror lists” and that there is no evidence for its claim that it funnels European funding to the PFLP or that it has been banned by credit card companies.

Al-Haq had accused CIDI of defamation over its amplification of Israel’s unsubstantiated claims against it.

By agreeing to the veracity of Al-Haq’s accusation, CIDI is effectively acknowledging that the Israeli government’s “terror” organization designation is baseless and defamatory.

CIDI has long campaigned to end Dutch assistance to Palestinian groups and has parroted Israeli government campaigns smearing them as proxies for terrorist organizations.

Israel and outfits like CIDI have taken aim at Al-Haq largely because of the organization’s advocacy for international justice, particularly at the International Criminal Court.

Some 200 organizations based in Palestine and around the globe have urged Karim Khan, the ICC’s chief prosecutor, to condemn Israel’s designations against Al-Haq and two other Palestinian groups providing evidence and representing victims at the court.

Israel’s “arbitrary criminalization” of Palestinian civil society groups was raised during the assembly of state parties to the ICC last week.

In a joint statement, Al-Haq and other organizations including Human Rights Watch, Al Mezan and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, called for action over threats and attacks against human rights defenders cooperating with the court.

Al-Haq, Al Mezan and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights convened during the assembly of state parties to highlight Khan’s stonewalling of the Palestine investigation opened by his predecessor early last year.

Apparent double standards in the generous allocation of court resources for the investigation in Ukraine while starving the Palestine probe has further undermined the credibility of the ICC, critics say.

If the ICC fails to act on Palestine, it will be dismissed as a cudgel serving the interests of powerful Western states, leaving Palestinians to take the law into their own hands, human rights advocates said during the event at The Hague.


Maureen Clare Murphy

Maureen Clare Murphy's picture

Maureen Clare Murphy is senior editor of The Electronic Intifada.