BDS IN THE PEWS
August 19, 2014
- Website: http://www.ir-amim.org.il/
- According to its website, “Ir Amim (‘City of Nations’ or ‘City of Peoples’) was “founded in 2000, and became active as a non-profit organization in 2004.”
- Focuses on “Jerusalem within the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” and “seeks to render Jerusalem a more equitable and sustainable city for the Israelis and Palestinians who share it.”
- Funding: 2013 budget of NIS 2,633,576 (accessed August 21, 2014).
- Donors include the European Union, Sweden, Norway, Church Development Service- EED (Germany), New Israel Fund, Social Justice Fund, Open Society Institute, Jewish Funders Network, and others.
- In 2008-2013, the New Israel Fund (NIF) authorized grants worth $1,353,929 to Ir Amim (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013).
- Based on financial information submitted to the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits, in accordance with the Israeli NGO transparency law, Ir Amim received 647,171 NIS in the first quarter of 2014 and 1,089,371 NIS in 2013 from foreign governments. (See chart below for detailed funding information).
- The European Commission provided Ir Amim with a three-year €965,040 grant (through October 2013) for a project entitled “Enhancing Palestinian Civil Society”; also received EU funding in 2009-10 (€397,839) and 2004-5 (€475,160) for projects relating to the “Final Status” of Jerusalem.
- Political Advocacy: Activities include “Monitoring” and “exposing” Israeli government actions in Jerusalem, “policy and legal advocacy,” and running highly politicized tours of Jerusalem and the security barrier.
- Although it has been described as “work[ing] toward coexistence in Jerusalem,” an Ir Amim official was quoted as saying that the group was “seeking to advance a political agenda, and was not an organization geared to promote coexistence.”
- Ir Amim frequently accuses Israel of attempting to “Judaize” Jerusalem and promotes the Palestinian narrative on the city, including claims that “government powers are being handed over to the settler organizations” and archeological digs have become an important “tool in the fight for control” over Jerusalem.
- Maintains that the security barrier “extracts neighborhoods from the city with the goal of reducing the portion of Palestinians” and that the “barrier’s demographic rationale therefore outweighs its security rationale.” It further maintains, “Erecting the barrier within this framework is one more tool for Israel’s ‘divide and rule’ policy, as a result of which Palestinian Jerusalem has been shattered to pieces.” These allegations omit the context of Palestinian terror attacks and Israeli national security concerns.
- In an interview (published September 15, 2013) with the highly politicized +972 Magazine, Yudith Oppenheimer, executive director of Ir Amim, claimed that “the construction of national parks that impose a very strict, nationalist Jewish narrative” is “imposing an Israeli presence and narrative on the Old City and its surroundings and trying to eliminate the Palestinian presence” in Jerusalem.
- In May 2010, David Horovitz, then editor of the Jerusalem Post, wrote that the Jerusalem Moments film series, produced by Ir Amim, “contained just about every imaginable one-sided, context-deficient, unbalanced misrepresentation of Israel rolled into one nasty package...a relentless Palestinian Israel-bashing, interspersed with near-relentless Israeli Israel-bashing.”
- An Ir Amim blog entry in the Huffington Post (April 27, 2010), appeals to the United States government to, “Threaten [Israel] with severing diplomatic ties. Threaten us with cutting back on, or even cutting off, the annual support package. Bludgeon us over the head and force us to wise up.”
Foreign donations based on reports to Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits (amounts in NIS)
Ir Amim Essentials:
- Gould’s hullabaloo, Editorial, Jerusalem Post, January 6, 2012
- The Amuta episode: The whole truth behind the left-wing group Ir Amim (Hebrew), Arnon Segel, Ma'ariv Zman Yerushalayim, May 16, 2011
- Financing our own demonization, David Horovitz, Jerusalem Post, July 23, 2009