Two years after the ILF successfully defended the legality of the Boycott Law in the Supreme Court, another stage in the battle to defend human rights in Israel has been completed – an amendment to the Boycott Law designed to make it more effective, was submitted to the Knesset.
The Boycott Law was intended to enable victims of the effort to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel (BDS) to sue for damages against those who are acting to harm them academically, economically or culturally, solely due to their national origin.
However, despite extensive boycott activity, not a single lawsuit has been filed to this day, unfortunately, due to the ineffectiveness of the current law.
Here is why: The circumstances of torts claiming damages as a result of BDS campaigns make it virtually impossible to prove damages in the classic sense. Normally, damages are determined by requiring the victim to quantify the exact damage caused and to link every lost dollar directly to the offense; however, certain torts such as suits claiming libel, verbal sexual harassment, the violation of intellectual property have always been understood to be exceptions. In some cases, cases involving BDS fall into this exceptional category.
In the 2015 Supreme Court ruling, the Court accepted our claim regarding the legality of the Boycott Law, (the Law does not infringe upon the rights guaranteed to all citizens , however, one article was deemed disproportionate – the article that was intended to enable the awarding of punitive damages -independent of the proof of damage.
Now, after a careful legal analysis prepared by attorney Yifa Segal, Director of the International Legal Forum (ILF) the Law has been adapted to achieve a balance between the rulings of the Supreme Court on the one hand, and the great need to implement the Law, virtually the only legal tool to battle the BDS movement.
The amendment was presented to the Knesset by MK Yoav Kisch, and Minister for Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan.
Once the amendment is approved by the Knesset, those who are acting with the intent to promote a cultural, academic, or economic boycott to harm Israelis solely because of their national origin will be immediately exposed to legal action.
This amendment will finally allow victims of BDS to act against those who sought to harm them and will act as a deterrent against future BDS efforts. This amendment will leave no doubt that the rights of citizens will be protected.
The ILF, together with Palestinian Media Watch, on behalf of a Tel Aviv based football team, filed a personal complaint against Jibril Rajoub, Chairman of the Palestinian Football Association, PFA, for violation of FIFA’s ethical code, with the intent to force them for the first time to address our legitimate concerns.
The complaint follows 10 years of hateful and inciting statements against Israeli football teams and players, and a year-long political battle against Israel through FIFA. Rajoub repeatedly attempts to convince the international football league, FIFA, to ban Israeli teams from participating in tournaments, particularly teams based in Judea and Samaria.
Many of the violations attributed to Rajoub were committed in his official capacity as the President of the PFA and have had a direct effect on players, teams and other individuals bound by the FIFA Code of Ethics. Violations include racism, discrimination, incitement to violence, harassment and the physical and mental endangerment of members of different ethnic, religious and national groups. Moreover, Rajoub, with his callous leadership, has encouraged, instructed and even coerced others to commit similar violations
According to Attorney Yifa Sega, Director of the ILF: “It is time for FIFA to handle the critical issues that endanger human lives, discriminate and generate an atmosphere of hatred and racism. These offenses not only violate international law and shock every person with a conscious and desire for peace, but also clearly violate FIFA’s own ethical code. The complaint speaks for itself and FIFA must enact the full force of sanctions available to stop this dangerous behavior and send a clear message. It is clear that for Rajoub terror is a legitimate tool in his political battle and that his position in the PFA enables him to advance his political agenda by all means necessary”.
Following a joint effort by the Canadian organization Hasbara Fellowship and the ILF, the McGill University in Montreal called upon Igor Sadikov, a member of the Legislative Council and Board of Directors of the Students’ Society, to resign.
Last week, Igor Sadikov, a member of the Legislative Council and Board of Directors of the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) called fellow students to “punch a Zionist today” on social media.
The ILF offered its assistance and legal expertise in order to draft a letter to the University Heads demanding Mr. Sadikov’s resignation.
The letter emphasized the fact that such a statement clearly constitutes incitement to violence, borderlines on a criminal offence, and is undoubtedly in breach of the University’s regulations.
The ILF also referred to SSMU’s Constitution which requires the University to “perform its duties without discrimination on the basis of among others, race, national or ethnic origin or religion.
Furthermore the ILF cited the University’s judicial board’s decision from May 31, 2016, which argued that “harassment and/or discrimination on these bases are serious offences that undermine its constitutional commitment to respect”.
The ILF claimed that the University is obligated to ensure the well-being of its students, not only in the physical sense, but in their ability to freely express their political views, their religion, and country of origin.
Following the letter the SSMU Executive Committee published a press release calling for Mr. Sadikov’s resignation.
Such behavior should not and cannot be tolerate under any circumstances, and the ILF will continue to do all in its power to ensure such incidents are addressed accordingly.
Following evidence provided by the ILF in a the Knesset Education Committee, the Education Ministry is required for the first time to provide information regarding its monitoring and enforcement procedures of educational materials used in East Jerusalem Schools.
In a Knesset Education Committee hearing this week, the ILF demanded that the Education Ministry provide information previously requested regarding its enforcement and monitoring procedures of East Jerusalem schools. The Committee accepted the ILF’s demands and the required information will be submitted within 45 days. This information is vital in order to establish a course of action, either by way of legislation or by way of litigation.
Attorney Yifa Segal, Director of the ILF: “The State of Israel is fighting incitement with one hand and funding it with the other. Educating for terrorism, hate and anti-Semitism, is funded mostly by the State of Israel and enabled by it. We took action to hold this hearing in order to raise the issue and expose the existing failures in the East Jerusalem educational system, where content of Jihad, demonization of the State of Israel and the Jewish people are dangerously evident. Unfortunately there are numerous failures in monitoring and enforcing the content, and the State of Israel is obligated to ensure that students in East Jerusalem are exposed to acceptable educational materials, as are other students in Israel today”.
During the hearing, initiated by the ILF, and together with MK’s Oded Forer, Amir Ohana and Motti Yogev, the ILF exposed shocking and harsh evidence of the continuing incitement to terror and violence taking place in East Jerusalem schools. Approximately 100,000 students in East Jerusalem schools are exposed daily to educational material which glorifies Jihad, supports terror, encourages hate, anti-Semitism and the de-legitimization of the State of Israel and the Jewish people, portrays Palestine as being from Jordan to the sea, and encourages school children to reclaim it at all costs.
It is inconceivable that the State of Israel and particularly the Education Ministry is allowing this current state of affairs to continue, and therefore the ILF is acting in order to provide operative tools to ensure that these dangerous acts of incitement cease to take place, and that these schools are monitored and overseen in a satisfactory manner.
To read the ILF Position Paper (in Hebrew) click here.
The ILF and the Israel education organization StandWithUs (SWU), joined hands with Israel’s Ambassador to UNESCO, in a meeting with UNESCO’s Director-General, Irina Bokova on October 25, 2016. They personally submitted a petition initiated by the two organizations which protests UNESCO’s draft resolution passed on 12.10.2016, and the resolution of 15.4.16, and calls upon UNESCO to recognize the irrefutable deep historic, cultural and religious connection between the Jewish people and the land of Israel. The petition was signed by over 78,000 from all over the world, and represents the opinions of millions of Jews, Christians and others worldwide.
Israel’s Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Israel to UNESCO, along with Yifa Segal, Director of the ILF and Shahar Azani, StandWithUs’ Northeast Executive Director, officially submitted the petition, which fights the mendacious UNESCO draft resolution that erases the 3,000-year-old Jewish connection to Jerusalem. The meeting took place a day before another resolution is scheduled to be voted on Wednesday, October 26, 2016.
The petition states that UNESCO was created with the clear mandate to build bridges between nations, protecting heritage and supporting cultural diversity. The Temple Mount is the holiest place in the world for the Jewish people where, according to Jewish, Greek, Roman, Christian and Islamic sources, two Jewish Temples stood. By deliberately ignoring the over 3,000-year-old Jewish connection to the Temple Mount, UNESCO violates the basic human rights of Jews everywhere, as well as those of other religions whose beliefs and heritage include the spiritual and historical connection of the Jewish people to Jerusalem. In addition, such unfounded and erroneous resolutions not only distort history, but undermine UNESCO’s own mandate to bring nations together, and support incitement and anti-Semitism which might lead to violence.
Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova, received the delegation and the petition, making it clear that she is dissatisfied with the motion, and reiterating what she said just a few days ago: “To deny, conceal or erase any of the Jewish, Christian or Muslim traditions undermines the integrity of the site, and runs counter to the reasons that justified its inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage list. When these divisions carry over into UNESCO, an organization dedicated to dialogue and peace, they prevent us from carrying out our mission”.
Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Israel to UNESCO Mr. Carmel Shama Hacohen said that: “This petition is yet another manifestation of the deep bond between Jerusalem and the Jewish people. The list of states and leaders expressing remorse for their past votes and object to the Arab proposals is getting longer and longer. Whomever thinks Italy’s Prime Minister was the last surprise in this regard for the Arabs, will find themselves surprised again and again. The petition presents a strong moral voice, much more than the immoral Arab proposal trying to erase 3000-year-old history with ignorance and insolence. Israel respects Muslim and other faiths and their presence in our holiest of places, and it is tragic that the other side doesn’t have a leadership which will do the same, but rather one which is engaged only in doing the exact opposite. This is no longer an Israeli-Palestinian struggle, but an Arab struggle against the entire Jewish world. It is clear that Israel and the Jewish people will survive this, yet it remains unclear whether UNESCO will. Israel would like to express its profound appreciation for the organizers of this proper and sound petition, who made their way here to send a clear message to the world: we shall all defend the Jewish connection with Jerusalem, no matter where we are around the world”.
ILF Direcor Yifa Segal stressed that “this petition reflects the views of millions of people around the world, who are unwilling to accept destructive resolutions that attempt to rewrite history. Such resolutions are dangerous and undermine the very reasoning behind the existence of international organizations such as UNESCO”.
Photo Credit: Erez Lichtfeld
More than 30 French towns banned the “burkini” (a swimsuit that covers most of the body, worn by many Muslim women), in public beaches. The towns justified this ban by explaining that it is necessary in response to the growing terror concerns.
France’s Supreme Court suspended this ban, ruling that it is illegal. However, mayors of a few French towns have refused to withdraw the ban, claiming it is necessary to maintain public order, an argument which was accepted by at least one local court.
The ILF fully supports an unapologetic fight against Radical Islam, as was discussed in the ILF conference on Radical Islam with Raheel Raza. The international community must see Radical Islam for what it is: an extremist militant ideology, rooted in intolerance, hatred and bigotry. Radical Islam has become a global concern, and this ideology must be fought against and eradicated.
However, women who choose (out of their own free will) to dress in what they believe is a modest fashion are not necessarily affiliated with Radical Islam. The fight against Radical Islam does not in any way justify forcing women to expose themselves and criminalize modest swimwear.
The right to practice and observe one’s religion is a Human Right recognized by the UN in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Clearly this right does not allow people to violate others’ rights in the name of their belief, but as long as the religious practice is not harmful, it is the government’s responsibility to protect freedom of religion.
Often, the government must balance various rights and interests, and in cases of public safety authorities must make difficult decisions where the protection of the public must take preference. However authorities have the obligation to examine all of the alternatives while balancing these rights, making every effort to avoid infringing on rights. The ILF believes that the burkini ban exceeded that proper balance, and infringes on the right to freedom of religion without proper cause.
Responding to radical ideologies with intolerance and xenophobia plays into the hands of extremists and will not solve the problem. The ILF sent letters to the mayors of the towns which continue to uphold the ban, calling for religious freedom to be respected, and for the ban to be withdrawn immediately.
On May 20, 2016, the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Health submitted a report on the health condition of the Palestinian population to the WHO. Based on that report, the WHO passed a resolution which singled out Israel as a violator of “mental, physical and environmental health”, condemned Israel for its alleged responsibility for many of the Palestinian health problems, and prioritized investigating Israel on those grounds.
However, after analyzing the report, it becomes clear that it is highly politicized, and contains many false and unproved “facts”. Unfortunately, it seems that the report was more of an attempt to de-legitimize Israel, rather than an accurate portrayal of the Palestinian health condition, and the real causes for that condition.
In order to discredit the report and the WHO’s blind adaptation of it, and highlight its political nature masked as a medical report, the ILF, in cooperation with doctors and medical professionals from all over the world, put together a document which points out the non-scientific nature, and many of the false “facts” which are used as the basis of the report.
The document stressed that allowing such a political and misleading report to be presented to the WHO is unethical, and detrimental to the development and improvement of the health conditions in areas controlled by the PA. It also causes widespread damage, by setting dangerous precedent of exploiting a medical organization, the WHO in this case, as a political battering tool.
The WHO declares that its goals are “to build a better, healthier future for people all over the world”. In order to fulfill these goals, the WHO must remain above politics, and not allow important discussions about people’s health to be hijacked by political agendas.
In December 2014 the ILF received information regarding a suspicion that the Israeli NGO “The Committee of Agricultural Works” (CAW) was actively supporting terror activity. ILF investigation revealed that in fact CAW had no real activity, and its sole purpose was to act as a front for an organization situated in Gaza, The Union of Agricultural Work Committees, which is a subsidiary to the terror organization The Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
CAW’s sole purpose was to deceive foreign donors, particularly foreign governments and aid organizations, masquerading as a humanitarian organization. In effect CAW enabled the presentation of an Israeli NGO registration certificate, supposedly proving its legitimate activities, all the while transferring any charitable funds it received to a subsidiary of the PFLP. The organization was able, using these methods, to raise approximately 9.5 million dollars a year.
Since December 2014 has operated consistently, meeting with several key factors within the Authority and drafting numerous requests. The ILF provided the Israeli Corporations Authority with evidence proving CAW’s illegal activity and support for terror, and requested that the organization be shut down.
The issue was resolved on July 7, 2016, when the ILF received an official response from the Israeli Corporations Authority stating that after examination of the case, and the failure of the CAW to provide satisfactory answers, they will begin the process of closing down the organization.
Following this significant success, the ILF intends to monitor the proceedings in the Israeli courts and make sure the NGO is shut down as quickly as possible, and to contact foreign donors with this new information, in order to prevent additional funds from reaching the terror group in Gaza.
The ILF will continue to work to ensure that no funds, and particularly not funds intended to support human rights, end up in the hands of terrorists.
The International Legal Forum was recently approached by “StandWithUs” with a request for cooperation. StandWithUs has launched a new on-line platform called EndBDS: http://endbds.com/
The logic of this initiative is twofold:
- To offer victims of BDS access to legal experts on the matter. Until today most businesses/ students/ individuals/ organizations, stood alone in confronting boycotts, and many did not know where to turn to for help.
- To create vast cooperation of experts, each in his area of expertise.
The ILF was approached to take part and fill the legal void of activity outside the US, and is pleased to contribute its legal knowledge.
The ILF sent a letter to the Israeli Ministry of Education in which it raised the issue of incitement to violence and glorification of Jihad in official East Jerusalem schools’ text books.
As apposed to most of the Arabic-speaking schools in Israel, which follow the Israeli Ministry of Education’s curriculum and use text books approved by the Ministry, most of the schools in East Jerusalem follow the Palestinian Authority’s curriculum and use their text books. This is a historical policy which dates back to 1967, when the schools used the Jordanian curriculum. About 70% of these schools are under the Israeli Ministry of Education’s responsibility and receive Israeli government funding.
The issue of incitement to violence and terrorism in Palestinian text books is a known one. Therefore, the Israeli Ministry of Education created a committee which is responsible to oversee the content of the textbooks and remove hateful or inciting content, and reprint the text books before distributing it to the students.
However, a research conducted by the ILF, in collaboration with The Center for Near East Policy Research, discovered that this mechanism is not effective, and that the committee has been unable to regulate the content of the text books used. Many of the text books being used contain incitement to violence, glorification of jihad and martyrdom, and denial of Israel’s right to exist in any borders.
For example, a poem called The Martyr appears in a 7th grade text book:
“(…)Hearing [weapons’] clash is pleasant to my ear /And the flow of blood gladdens my soul /As well as a body thrown upon the ground /Skirmished over by the desert predators/… /By your life! This is the death of men /And whoever asks for a noble death – this is it!”
Similarly, in a religion text book for 11th graders, killing of Jews is presented as a precondition for the “End of Days”:
“Fighting the Jews and the victory over them: The Messenger [Muhammad] already announced [the good news of] the end of the Jews’ oppression upon this Holy Land and the removal of their corruption and of their occupation thereof. [It is told] by Abu Hurayrah [one of Muhammad’s Companions] that the Prophet said: The End of Days will not take place until the Muslims fight the Jews, and the Muslims will kill them to a point that a Jew will hide behind a rock or a tree, and then the rock or the tree will say: ‘O Muslim, O God’s servant, there is a Jew behind me, so come and kill him’, except the salt bush, for it is one of the Jews’ trees”
In the letter sent to Naftali Bennet, the Minister of Education, the ILF stated that these text books are in complete contrast to Israel’s responsibly to educate the future generation on principles of tolerance and peace. Young minds, who are the future leaders of their society, are poisoned and intentionally stirred away from religious and cultural tolerance. The radical views promoted in the text books are used to induce students to carry out terror attacks and to distant the mindset of the young generation from peaceful resolutions and co-existence.
The ILF’s position is that the current system is clearly faulty and incapable of resolving this systematic violation of human right and abuse of public funds. The only way to solve this issue is by applying the Israeli Ministry of Education’s curriculum to all East Jerusalem schools, primarily those who receive the Ministry’s funding. The Israeli Ministry of Education has a curriculum for Muslim and Arabic-speaking schools, and it is applied successfully in many Arab schools across Israel.
Following ILF pressure this issue was raised in the Knesset Planum, and transffered to the Education Committee for further treatment, as the ILF requested. The ILF will continue to pursue this issue, and if necessary proceed with legal measures, to ensure that this offensive content is removed from the schools’ curriculum
The UNESCO resolution from April 15, 2016 follows a line of insulting resolutions which completely disregard the Temple Mount as being an ancestral holy site for the Jewish people for over 3,000 years. The ILF and StandWithUs initiated a petition demanding that UNESCO recognize the historic Jewish connection to the Temple Mount, and stop violating the rights of millions of people across the globe. The Petition gained momentum and received over 20,000 signatures.
The petition, which is being circulated on social networks, is accompanied by a short video which shows pre-school children learning how to identify the connection between a place and its people; based on history, archaeology and traditions passed down for generations. The video is titled “teaching UNESCO a short lesson in history”.
The Temple Mount is the holiest site in the world according to Jewish religion, and Jews throughout history have prayed facing the Temple Mount.
The petition explains that UNESCO was created with the clear mandate to build networks among nations and intercultural understanding, by protecting heritage and supporting cultural diversity. In accordance with these values, the petition calls upon UNESCO to recognize the deep historic and religious connection between the Temple Mount and Judaism. UNESCO’s denying the Jewish connection to Jerusalem and its holy sites violates UNESCO’s own mandate, by erasing the heritage of millions of people and violating their religious and cultural rights. It also hurts any prospect of peace and vicariously supports a radical ideology that denies the Jewish connection to the land of Israel and its holy sites.
The Palestinian Authority has recently attempted to arrest Palestinian Member of Parliament Najat Abu Bakr, after she expressed her support for the teachers’ strike in the West Bank, and accused Hussein al-Araj, a minister closely associated with President Mahmoud Abbas, of corruption. Najat Abu Bakr has resisted arrest, staging a sit-in in the building of the Palestinian Legislative Council, since February 25. The arrest warrant against Abu Bakr violates Palestinian Constitutional Basic Law which grants members of parliament immunity.
Freedom of opinion and expression are one of the main focuses of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and are at the foundation of any democratic society. The ILF joined human right groups from around the world who protested this severe violation of human rights, by sending a letter to the Human Rights Council demanding that they condemn violations of freedom of speech, and call upon the Palestinian Authority to immediately release any individual arrested for exercising his/her universal right to free speech.
A joint effort by the ILF and ACOM secures an important precedent for Spain, Europe and the overall struggle against boycott and discrimination.
In December of 2015, ACOM, a Spanish organization, approached the ILF requesting assistance in building a case against Santiago, a Spanish city which adopted BDS as the city’s official policy. The legal arguments against this decision included claims based on Spanish law, EU law, precedents from other EU countries, EU-Israel trade agreements and statements made by EU officials denouncing BDS.
These arguments formulated together with ACOM’s leading attorney, Ignacio Wenley Palacios and ILF’s attorneys, were then used in similar lawsuits against other cities, including the city of Aviles.
On February 22, the Aviles city municipality informed the Spanish court that it is nullifying their resolution and thereby accepting the arguments presented in our case. The municipality explained that after consulting with its legal department it came to the conclusion that BDS policy is illegal, as it threatens people’s right not to be discriminated against, threatens academic freedom, and runs counter to Spain’s law on public contracts and E.U. directives on equal opportunities. Moreover they argued that BDS also holds the risk of incitement to violence against those effected by the boycott. Those, they add, include every individual, Jew or non- Jew, who does not declare his solidarity with the political agendas of the campaign.
Attorney Yifa Segal, Director of the ILF Added “this type of cooperation constitute one of the main objectives of the ILF, whose job, among others, is to assist attorneys from across the world in their local arenas by creating a vast legal strategy with a global perspective. Bringing together domestic legal expertise with international ones is the most efficient way to defeat global challenges.
The international cooperation between the ILF and ACOM resulted in an important success, which will be a strong precedent in similar cases throughout Europe, as well as deterrence to future cities from adopting BDS.
Click here to read the article published in Yediot Aharonot about this decision.
On January 23, 2016 the U.S customs and Border Protection Department issued a statement instructing that products imported from the Israeli controlled areas in the West Bank not be labeled “made in Israel”. The State Department claimed that it was simply reissuing a 20 year old guideline which will from now on be enforced, contrary to policy and practice enacted until then. However, is that an accurate portrayal of the reality? According to an extensive legal research by the International Legal forum (ILF), the answer is no.
This guideline was originally published by the U.S Customs and Border Protection, at the recommendation of the State Department on April 6, 1995. According to the guideline, in the wake of the signing of the Oslo Accords and the creation of the Palestinian Authority, it was agreed that the PA would be responsible for regulating its affairs in these issues. Therefore, in order to accurately reflect the authority under which the products were produced, they should be marked as made in the “West Bank” and not “Israel” as was the practice until such time.
Moreover, just a few days prior, on March 27, 1995, a more detailed and explicit guideline was issued. Article 2 of this guideline states that it “applies only to goods produced in the areas for which arrangements are being established for Palestinian interim self-government”, namely – only products imported from areas under the PA control, meaning products imported from areas under Israeli control are not included.
Article 4 makes the American intentions even clearer, specifying that “Jurisdiction of the [Palestinian] Council will cover West Bank and Gaza strip territory except for issues that will be negotiated in the permanent status negotiations: Jerusalem, settlements, and Israelis”. I.E., in order to avoid any doubt, the article explicitly excluded Israeli controlled areas, using similar language to that used in the Oslo Accords.
The ILF presented this information to representatives of the Israeli Minister of Justice, Ayelet Shaked, and together with Zionists of America (ZOA), also to members of congress, including Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.
Pursuant to the sharing of this new information legislation properly regulating this issue was submitted in Congress. Members of congress also began exploring the possibility of holding a hearing for the State Department and Secretary of State John Kerry, regarding this information and its possible meaning for misleading Congress and both the American and Israeli public.
After German officials suggested that attacks against women can be prevented if women adhere to certain “codes of conduct” and not “provoke” attackers by walking near them, the ILF sent a letter to Chancellor Merkel. The letter demanded that the German Government unequivocally condemn these statements, and reiterate uncompromising support for the rights of all people, including women, to their civil right.
Statements endorsing policies which violate basic democratic values and freedoms, justification of crime and victim blaming cannot be tolerated from government officials.
Click here to read the letter
On Tuesday January 12 the International Legal Forum was honored to host Raheel Raza, a Muslim Pakistani journalist, author, public speaker, and interfaith discussion leader, currently from Toronto, Canada. The evening focused on Radical Islam, democratic values, and human rights as well as a discussion about Western “politically correctness” and how its shekels prevent many of us from dealing with problems head on.
As part of the ILF’s goals to build a global coalition comprised from lawyers, organizations and activists who share its values and wish to fight for similar causes, the ILF is proud to cooperate with Mrs. Raza and assist her in having her unique and important voice heard.Raheel Raza is a fierce activist for human rights, and unequivocally condemns terrorism and all violence in the name of religion, and in the name of Islam in particular. As an inseparable part of this world view Raza also stands out for Israel, its right to exist, its democracy, its fight against radicals and the battle against the unjust discourse it this regard. According to Raza, “Israel is the only community that really understands the dangers of Radical Islam”.
Israel has been on the front lines of the battle against radical Islam for many years, a problem which swept through the Middle East, expanding and taking over countries like Pakistan and Iran in the last half a century, and is now threatening Europe, the U.S, Canada and other Western countries.
The ILF and Raheel Raza are working towards a common objective, defending human rights and leading a battle against radical Islam, while attempting to create a more open and honest discourse about these issues.
Earlier that day, the ILF brought Raza to participate in a conference in the Knesset, titled “advancing a culture of peace in the Middle East”. The conference included many other religious leaders from various parts of the world, including Imams, Sheikhs, Druz leaders, Rabbis and other politicians, activists etc. Raza later compared the gathering to a meeting of all the best doctors who are all looking for a cure to “the disease”, but no one is saying what “the disease” is. All are looking to solve the conflicts, but no one was calling the problem by its name. Raza noted that “unless we put Radical Islam in the center of the table we are never going to solve the problem”.
During her talk Raza touched on her youth in Pakistan where she grew up. At that time the Muslim community was much more open, however when the Saudi Wahhabi influence started to expand in the country and religious leaders made radical and provocative statements, people looked the other way. This, in her opinion, is what allowed radical Islam to spread. That is why she is targeting what she considers to be 75% of Muslims in western countries who aren’t radical, but are scared to speak out – to ensure that radical Islam does not continue to spread.
“They (radical Muslim leaders) know exactly how far they can go under the Hate Law. They use the very freedoms that they then target.” The danger of these provocative messages is that they then also influence the future generation. As Raza said “No one is born a terrorist. It is something that has to be taught.”
Raza believes that the radical leaders are not promoting Islam, but their own personal radical philosophies. Therefore “It is extremely important that non-Muslims are able to differentiate between the core root of Islam, most of which promotes humanitarian and peaceful messages, and the radical messages being promoted by radicals.” Raza added that we must “isolate the virus, and then target it.”
The ILF will continue to work together with Raheel Raza and is planning to bring her message to the EU Parliament as well as to other parliaments, Medias and policy makers around the world. Together with her and other individuals and organizations we will change the discourse of human rights.
After the city of Santiago de Compostela, Spain decided to adopt BDS policy as the city’s official policy, a Spanish Lawyer contacted the ILF. BDS continues to encourage a complete boycott of Israel in all areas, justifying this by falsely accusing Israel of being an apartheid state, occupying Palestinian territories illegally and committing ethnic cleansings and war crimes.
Spanish lawyers have challenged this decision in Spanish courts. The ILF is assisting with the legal strategy in this case by providing legal arguments based on international and European law. The ILF is also working with lawyers across Europe to provide specific precedents from other European countries that can support this petition
The petition against the city’s decision is an important strategic tool in the fight against BDS. BDS’s accusation that Israel is “training and arming death squads” and dictatorships worldwide, promoting civil wars in Africa, contributing to racial, social, economic and environmental injustices around the world, and overall demonization of Israel, amount to anti-Semitism according to the US Department of State’s official definition of anti-Semitism. BDS policies violate human rights, encourage discrimination, and prevent free trade and academic freedom.
We believes that all legal measures must be taken in order to end their provocative activities, and that an overwhelming victory in this case will help prevent similar initiatives in the future, both in Spain and the rest of Europe. The ILF will continue to stand beside and support all actions aimed at fighting BDS across the globe.
It has been a long practice of the PA to support terrorist through official channels, and in particular through its Ministry of Prisoner Affairs, which was the entity responsible for providing the Palestinian convicted terrorists with a monthly stipend. The amount of each stipend was determined by the “success of the attack” (number of casualties and the severity of the Israeli indictment and judgment against the convicted terrorist).
The legal-ethical problems with this practice were raised by Israel and Israel’s supporters, which led western donors to challenge the PA’s policy and threaten to discontinue their support. This pressure was effective, and In August 2014 the PA shut down the Ministry.
However, it quickly became apparent that this move was done purely for the sake of appearance. The PA opened a new office under the PLO which has the same capacity, authority and funding, and was renamed the Commission for Prisoners Affairs
Recently a Parliamentary Question was put forward by a European MEP, questioning the EU’s continual funding of the PA, when these funds are then transferred to terrorist and used to finance future attacks against civilians.
The Parliamentary Question will require the EU to provide an official response to this issue. The answer is expected early in the New Year.
In an interview regarding this issue for the Israeli news site NRG, attorney Yifa Segel, Director of the International Forum, said: “”Financing terror is a severe crime according to European law…. The EU is also signed on multiple international conventions which deal with these issues, and is acting in violation of these conventions when it lends a hand, vicariously or directly, to financial support for institutionalized incitement and stipends paid to convicted terrorist and their families. The absurd is that this is not even a sophisticated act of fraud. The information (proving that the PA continues to transfer funds to convicted terrorists) is out in the open, and is easily attainable. “
It seems that an NGO, registered in the Israeli Justice ministry as a viable and legitimate organization, is hardly as innocent and righteous as it appears. Although the organization’s stated objectives in the certificate of registration are to promote research and development on agricultural issues, and to work for the welfare of farmers, evidence indicates that the CAW (committee of agricultural work) is a fabricated organization, designed to support and raise funds for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a recognized terror organization.
The NGO uses a license provided by the Israeli justice ministry to fraud foreign donors, while presenting a false image, stating that it and the UAWC (an organization registered in Gaza and associated with the PFLP) are one. In doing so, not only is the organization violating Israel’s NGO Legislation (the NGO Funding Transparency Law), but they are exposed to claims alleging violations of several other laws, among them, the Penal Code, the Order for Prevention of Terrorism, the Money Laundering Law and the Prohibition on Terrorist Financing. Their actions are in contrast to Israel’s interests and create a risk to the safety of its citizens
The International Legal Forum has contacted the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits in the ministry of Justice in order to bring about the dissolution of the NGO immediately, and to work with the law enforcement authorities and relevant supervision agencies in order to bring those responsible to justice.
Fighting terrorism and defending human rights has taken us this time all the way to Brazil!
Brazil, which is the largest State and the strongest economy in South America currently has NO anti-terrorist legislation. Many terror groups find this vacuum in Brazilian law a rare opportunity for sanctuary on Brazilian soil, and a fertile ground to conduct their business in peace – trade in weapons and drugs, launder funds, train and recruit for their causes etc. For example, the international media has reported that ISIS has begun recruiting in Brazil, setting its sights towards an attack on the 2016 Olympic Games.
Despite the fact that this is an extremely important issue, it seems that no other organization is addressing it.
As a first step, the ILF Director, attorney Yifa Segal, made initial contact with Brazilian activists, arranging a visit to Brazil and meeting with Brazilian lawyers who might be interested in joining the Forum and enlist for this great cause.The visit was productive; and we have already taken the first step. Our attorneys in Israel have written an extensive Bill, based on the UK’s anti-terrorism Bill in combination with the American and Israeli Bills, the UN’s anti-terror treaty, as well as European and Arab Anti-terrorism treaties. To the bill itself we added explanatory notes, emphasizing the importance and urgency of this legislation. The Bill defines terrorism, recruitment for a terror organization, fundraising for one, membership in such organization, etc. as criminal offences.
This will become the first anti-terrorism bill in Brazil, and will allow the judicial and law enforcement authorities the tools to fight this negative trend which is rapidly expanding on their soil.
Currently our translators in Brazil are working on translating the bill into English, and then we will pass it to our attorneys there to prepare it for legislation in Parliament.
This initiative represents the very essence of the ILF – to initiate and take preemptive steps, not just react.
The International Legal Forum was approached by bodies in the European Parliament who shared information about an initiative to state that the legal prosecution of Adele Biton’s murderers is nothing but an Israeli conspiracy. They requested information and evidence that will allow they to establish whether they should endorse this initiative or refuse to do so. The ILF prepared an extensive legal document which provided evidence to refute the case presented in the initiative, exposing it as unfounded and false propaganda. The materials prepared by the ILF caused the said initiative to fail early in the process.
Radical Anti-Israeli groups approached European Parliament members asking them to show their support in condemning the “Israeli conspiracy”, as they refer to it, in trying to pin the blame of the accident which led to Adele Biton’s death on innocent Palestinian teens. The story began on March 17th, 2013, when Adele Biton who was just two years old at the time, was traveling in a car with her siblings and mother Adva close to the city of Ariel. Their car was ambushed by terrorists, who hurled rocks at the car, causing it to veer off the road and crash headfirst into a truck. Adele was left critically injured and fighting for her life after being struck directly in the head. Nearly two years later on February 17, 2015, Adele passed away. Evidence found at the scene, as wells as eye witness testimonies clearly indicated that the incident was caused by rocks thrown by Palestinian terrorists. The information was published immediately, with reports of the horrific accident, and the Israeli law enforcement was able to arrest the suspects of this hideous crime several days later.
The claims made by the anti-Israeli groups, that the legal prosecution of Adele Biton’s killers was nothing but an Israeli conspiracy, were not backed by any form of evidence. They argued that the Israeli story of the accident being caused by rock throwers was only concocted days after the accident, and that violent raids took place in the village of Hares, leading to the arrest of 19 innocent teens. The allegations continue to blame Israel for not having due process in the military courts, and other unfounded and false allegations.
The initiative managed to raise many concerns within the European Parliament and the public, and it is fitting in with the growing phenomena of False Anti-Israeli initiatives and negative public opinion in Europe as a result.
This initiative has regrettably made these murderous rock throwers into a symbol of “oppressed youth under occupation” in Europe, and this initiative, much like others like it, was able to make serious waves in Europe, causing concerns and vast condemnations.
Actions and Success:
The International Legal Forum prepared an extensive legal document which provides evidence to refute the case presented in this initiative, and exposes it as unfounded and false propaganda, rather than a human rights issue it masqueraded as. The document supplied proof that the accident was in fact caused by terrorists, evidence showing that even the initial reports from the evening of the accident in the international media discussed rock throwing as the cause, this reports included both footage from the scene and testimonies from eye witnesses. In addition the ILF supplied evidence of due process in the military courts. Footage was also provided, showing the extensive threat of Palestinian youth throwing rocks, the general Anti-Israeli atmosphere and much more.
Attorney Yifa Segal stated that the story of Adele Biton is a very painful one, and the use of this incident, which ended in the death of an innocent young girl, is an extremely cynical exploitation of the general Anti-Israeli atmosphere, which has gone too far.
Although the vast influence of the Anti-Israeli activity in the European Parliament is clearly growing, the ILF is paving the way for cooperation with representatives from the European Parliament, in the hope for an open dialog and exchange of information which will assist the efforts to refute such false claims and many other hateful and falsified initiatives aimed at de-legitimizing Israel in the International arena.
On 17.12.2014 members of the European Parliament voted on the adoption of the proposed resolution to support a unilaterally recognized Palestinian state. Although the vote was only declarative in nature, it is part of a lengthy battle by the Palestinians in the international arena to gain support for their intention to establish a Palestinian State in a one-sided move and in violation of agreements signed between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Attorney Yifa Segal from the International Legal Forum initiated a letter to all members of Parliament explaining why a unilateral recognition is counterproductive and unacceptable. A Palestinian state must only be formed through negotiations and a sustainable peace agreement with Israel. The conditions for negotiations must remain as they are currently; maintaining Israel’s security and that of its citizens, a Palestinian commitment to abandon terror, recognition of Israel’s right to exist, and the renunciation of future demands. Bypassing the negotiation process will enable the Palestinian to continue with acts of terror and incitement. International support rewards those who choose to take this route, and could lead to further escalation furthering any possibility of reaching a permanent solution through methods of peace. The letter stated that “the EU must condition the recognition of “Palestine” on the abandonment of violence. A Palestinian state that will not embrace peace and democracy will be a major destabilizing factor in the region.”
Lawmakers approved the motion to establish a Palestinian State by 498 votes to 88 with 111 abstentions. It was a watered down version of an original motion which had urged EU member states to recognize a Palestinian state unconditionally, which is somewhat of an accomplishment. The resolution adopted stated that “(The European Parliament) supports in principle recognition of Palestinian statehood and the two-state solution, and believes these should go hand in hand with the development of peace talks, which should be advanced.”
In 2013, The Council of Europe adopted a resolution opposing ritual circumcision. Israel strongly denounced the decision, stating that it casted a “moral stain” and “fosters hate and racist trends in Europe.”
In light of the recent resolution, an international effort was initiated by the Legal Forum to have this decision overturned, by issuing a letter criticizing this resolution to all members of the Parliamentary Assembly as well as to the senior officials of the Council of Europe.
The letter states that circumcision has always been, from time immemorial, and still remains a central commandment in the Jewish religion and traditional Jewish practice that symbolizes the Jewish nation’s connection to G-d. The regrettable linkage in the resolution, and the perception that it creates in the eyes of all who read it between female genital mutilation (a dangerous procedure which causes severe and irreversible damage), which is rightly condemned, and the Jewish religious practice of circumcision, is detrimental. As such, there was reason to fear that the resolution will inevitably serve to stigmatize the Jewish religion and its most meaningful practices.
The resolution’s German author, Marlene Rupprecht, rejected the criticism and in a statement that appears on the Council of Europe’s website, she says the text “does not intend to stigmatize any religious community or its practices.”
To view the letter click here.