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March 29, 2022 11:03 am
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Harvard Law School Teams Up With Palestinian NGO Whose Board Members Include Convicted Terrorists

avatar by Rachel O'Donoghue

Opinion

Yet, this was the organization that the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School teamed up with, to produce a report that arrived at an egregious conclusion: that Israel is an “apartheid” state.

The 22-page document accuses the Jewish state of systematic “subjugation” of Palestinians, “legal discrimination,” and the “suppression of Palestinian civil and political rights.”

It further charges: “Israel’s prevalent and well-documented practices of arbitrarily detaining Palestinians under the guise of broadly defined security offenses, denying Palestinian detainees’ basic fair trial and due process rights, using ill-treatment and torture with impunity, and placing Palestinians in prolonged administrative detention without charges or trial, together can amount to the inhuman act of denying Palestinians the right to liberty of person.”

The report suggests that Israel is perpetrating “inhuman acts” against Palestinians.

As HonestReporting has detailed at length on multiple occasions, the apartheid charge is baseless.

Not only does it ignore the fact that Israel is a secular democracy where its Arab citizens serve as everything from Supreme Court Justices to members of the Knesset (parliament), but it also glosses over the role that Palestinians have in their own autonomy.

Since the signing of the Oslo Accords in the 1990s, upwards of 90% of Palestinians have lived under the auspices of either the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank or Hamas in the Gaza Strip. It should be noted that Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, and that territory has since then become a terrorist-ruled enclave (see here and here).

The Palestinian Authority was created with the backing of the international community and by Palestinian leaders who agreed that Israel should have security control in some disputed areas.

Perhaps unsurprisingly given Addameer’s role in facilitating the Harvard report, the document also castigates Israel’s decision to designate six Palestinian NGOs — Addameer among them — over their ties to the PFLP.

At the time, the move received widespread international media coverage (see here, here, and here), while the European Union was among the political bodies to criticize Israel.

This public censure was seemingly premature though, particularly because in the months after the designations, further evidence emerged that Israel’s move was warranted.

In January, HonestReporting revealed that the European Commission had suspended EU funding to one of the NGOs, Al-Haq, in addition to instructing the charity Oxfam to halt funding to another of the controversial groups, the Union of Agricultural Works Committees (UWAC), until further notice.

According to the watchdog group NGO Monitor, the EU has been a generous benefactor to many Palestinian NGOs, including approving grants worth at least €38 million ($41.7 million) between 2011 and 2019, to groups that were allegedly linked to the PFLP.

Addameer specifically has received funding from numerous EU member states, despite the European Commission being warned of links between the group and the PFLP going back years.

Indeed, Addameer reportedly had numerous employees who held dual roles within the PFLP, including:

  • Khalida Jarrar, Deputy Director of Addameer’s Board of Directors until 2017. Jarrar is a senior member of the PFLP’s leadership and served prison time for inciting acts of terrorism.
  • Abdullatif Ghaith, founder and Chairperson of Addameer’s Board of Directors. Ghaith served as a member of the PFLP’s political bureau and has encouraged PFLP terrorism.
  • Ayman Nasser, Addameer’s Legal Unit Coordinator. Nasser was jailed for six years in the 1990s after being convicted of PFLP membership. He was arrested again in 2018 due to ongoing activity as a PFLP member.
  • Yaqoub Odeh, Addameer Board of Directors and General Assembly member. A PFLP terrorist who was involved in the 1969 Jerusalem supermarket bombing with fellow PFLP terrorist Rasmea Odeh that left two students dead. Odeh served 17 years in prison after being released in a 1985 prisoner exchange deal.
  • Salah Hammouri, Addameer Field Researcher. Hammouri was arrested in 2005 for belonging to a PFLP terrorist cell that had planned to assassinate Israel’s former Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. Hammouri recruited operatives and directed them on how to carry out atrocities against Israelis.
  • Mahmoud Jaddah, Addameer Board of Directors member. Jaddah was a PFLP terrorist who was jailed for perpetrating shooting attacks in Jerusalem, Hebron and Tel Aviv. He was also released under a prisoner exchange deal.
  • Bashir al-Khairi, Addameer Board of Directors member. As a senior PFLP operative, Al-Khairi was jailed for 17 years before being released in a prisoner exchange deal.

Considering these salient facts, one must wonder why the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School has chosen to associate with a group like Addameer, let alone collaborate on an investigation.

While Harvard University has a long history of welcoming large numbers of Jewish students, HonestReporting has documented numerous incidents of antisemitism and anti-Israeli bigotry on campus that college administrators have seemingly turned a blind eye to.

In addition, this culture of hostility towards the Jewish state appears to be promoted by a large number of Harvard’s faculty.

Last year, more than 70 academics at the university signed a letter in support of “Palestinian liberation,” while condemning Israel as perpetrating “state violence” that has “devastated Palestinian life through a combination of warfare, territorial theft, and violent displacement.”

Among the signatories were two staff members at Harvard Law School, Lucie White and Salma Waheedi, the latter of whom incidentally teaches a class titled, “Law, Human Rights, and Social Justice in Israel and Palestine.”

Waheedi’s views on the subject presumably could compromise her ability to teach the course in the unbiased and fair manner that students deserve.

Following the publication of Harvard and Addameer’s report, Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan sharply criticized its content.

“Those who wrote the report on behalf of Harvard don’t care about the oppression of women, minorities, and members of the LGBTQ community in the areas run by the Palestinian Authority. They decided to delegitimize the Jewish state because of their antisemitic views,” Erdan said.

He also called on Harvard to “unequivocally denounce” the report and its demonstrable “lies.”

The author is a contributor to HonestReporting, a Jerusalem-based media watchdog with a focus on antisemitism and anti-Israel bias — where a version of this article first appeared.

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

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