BDS IN THE PEWS
Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights
August 05, 2015
- Website: www.mezan.org
- Based in Gaza.
- Stated mission: “to promote respect and protection for all human rights; particularly ESCR [Economic, Social, Cultural Rights], in the Gaza Strip as part of OPT throughout research, legal intervention, advocacy and awareness”
- According to its website, Al Mezan “envision[s] a Palestinian free, sovereign society where all women, men and children enjoy the benefits of social justice, human rights, the merit of the rule of law and good governance fully and equally.”
- Funding: According to its 2014 annual report, “Core Programme Donors” include: Human Rights and International Law Secretariat (joint funding from Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark and the Netherlands), Norway, Medico International (Germany), Save the Children International, and the Open Society Foundations. “Project Donors” include: EU, Human Rights and International Law Secretariat, Diakonia (Sweden), Heinrich Boll Foundation (Germany), Norwegian Refugee Council, Sigrid Rausing Trust (UK), Oxfam- GB, Save the Children, Open Society Foundation, UNDP, and the UN Central Emergency Response Fund.
- Does not publish annual income or funding amounts, reflecting a lack of transparency and accountability. According to information released by the donors, Al Mezan received a core funding grant of $415,000 (2014-2016) from the Human Rights and International Law Secretariat.
- Al Mezan holds UN ECOSOC consultative status and is a member of the Palestinian Human Rights Organisations Council (PHROC), Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN), the World Organization Against Torture, as well as a number of other organizations; utilizes these platforms to promote and disseminate demonizing statements against Israel.
- Political Advocacy: Highly active in anti-Israel lawfare campaigns, exploiting courts and international legal bodies to seek arrest warrants against Israeli government officials, file lawsuits against companies and governments doing business with Israel, and lobby for cases against Israelis at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
- In 2009, Al Mezan partnered with Al Haq in an attempt to secure an arrest warrant against Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak in the UK for “war crimes” allegedly committed during the 2009 Gaza War.
- Consistently refers to the Israeli army as the Israel Occupation Forces (IOF), delegitimizing Israeli self-defense, and erases the context of Palestinian terror, Hamas’ use of human shields, and illegal rocket attacks against Israeli civilians.
- Signatory to the 2005 “Palestinian Civil Society Call for BDS,” which calls for an end to Israel’s “occupation and colonization of all Arab lands” and promotes the right of “Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties.” These goals undermine the fundamental right of the Jewish people to self-determination and would effectually mean the elimination of Israel as a Jewish state.
- Utilizes highly biased and politicized rhetoric accusing Israel of “massacres,” “slaughtering civilians,” “scandalous war crimes,” and “despicable disregard to civilian life.”
- During the 2014 Gaza war, Al Mezan, together with the other members of PHROC, submitted a letter to the EU accusing Israel of “blatant violations of international law,” “indiscriminately and disproportionally killing Palestinian civilians,” and “evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity.” The letter urges the EU “to resort to all operational measures at its disposal with a view of bringing Israel’s violations of international humanitarian law to an end.”
- Al Mezan’s highly unreliable statistics on civilian casualties and building demolitions were cited in the discredited Goldstone report as well as the UNHRC Commission of Inquiry into the 2014 Gaza war. Al Mezan’s director has also “testified” before UN committees, “especially [about] the willful killing of civilians committed by the IOF [sic].” Al Mezan, together with a number of other highly biased and politicized NGOs also issued a statement repeating the Goldstone report’s highly inflammatory conclusions and called on states to “re-evaluate their relationship with Israel” because “normal relations [could] not be conducted with it.”
- Together with Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) and Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights (LPHR), published a June 2015 report, “No More Impunity: Gaza’s Health Sector Under Attack,” alleging the “destruction of and damage to medical infrastructure and loss of life and injury to civilians and medical personnel” during the 2014 Gaza conflict. The report erases the terror affiliations of three “paramedics” and “medical volunteers” who were apparently killed in an Israeli strike, thereby falsely accusing Israel of targeting ambulances, while ignoring Palestinian war crimes. The report is further characterized by one-sided accounts, a total lack of verifiable sources, and lack of context.
- Conducts “legal training” courses emphasizing “the important role of lawyers in achieving justice and the need for lawyers to be knowledgeable in international humanitarian law and human rights law in order to be able to confront the flagrant violations committed in the context of the Israeli occupation.”
European Funding for Palestinian NGO Submission to the International Criminal Court on Alleged Israeli War Crimes During 2014 Gaza Operation, NGO Monitor Factsheet, November 25, 2015
Terrorists, Hunger Strikers and NGOs, Gerald Steinberg, August 23, 2015
Take Our Word For It: Medical Aid for Palestinians, Al Mezan and Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights Peddle Baseless Anti-Israel Narrative, NGO Monitor Analysis, July 14, 2015
NGO "Lawfare": Exploitation of Courts in the Arab-Israeli Conflict, Anne Herzberg, NGO Monitor Monograph, December 2010