Open Letter to Authorities

Israel/OPT: 288 Organisations Demand Biden Administration Condemn Israel’s Crackdown on Human Rights Groups


Dear Secretary Blinken:

The undersigned U.S.-based social justice, civil rights, and human rights leaders and organisations write to demand that you immediately and unequivocally condemn the Israeli government’s recent decision to outlaw and criminalize six Palestinian human rights and community-based organisations.

The Palestinian organisations currently targeted under the Israeli government’s draconian 2016 Counter-Terrorism Law form part of the bedrock of Palestinian civil society that has been protecting and advancing Palestinian human rights for decades across the full spectrum of issues of global concern, including children’s rights, prisoners’ rights, women’s rights, socio-economic rights, the rights of farmworkers, justice and accountability for international crimes. They are: Defense for Children International - Palestine, Al Haq, Addameer, Bisan Center for Research and Development, Union of Agricultural Work Committees, and Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees. They are trusted partners in our collective work to secure human rights for all.

The Biden administration has repeatedly expressed a commitment to center and promote human rights worldwide and protect the role of civil society. These actions by the Israeli government are a clear attack on human rights. As such, we urge you to issue a swift rejection of this unprecedented attack on Palestinian human rights organisations and the attempt by the Israeli government to shut down, delegitimize, isolate, and chill a growing human rights movement. We agree with 17 UN Special Rapporteurs that “the freedoms of association and expression must be fully respected in order to enable civil society to perform its indispensable work, and cannot be undermined by the manifestly egregious misuse of counterterrorism and security legislation.”

Smearing the promotion and defense of human rights as "terrorist" activity is a dangerous, well-worn tactic of authoritarian regimes and a shameful political maneuver to undermine the vital work of these organisations. In a joint statement, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International called the move “appalling and unjust” and “an alarming escalation that threatens to shut down the work of Palestine’s most prominent civil society organisations” and linked Israel’s emboldened authoritarian actions to decades of inadequate responses by the international community to Israel’s ongoing grave human rights abuses. This should change.

As groups committed to social justice, civil rights, and universal human rights, we have seen first hand the ways that the charge of “terrorist” and the so-called “war on terror” threatens not only international human rights defenders, but also social movements and marginalized communities here in the U.S.: Indigenous, Black, brown, Muslim, and Arab activists and communities have similarly faced silencing, intimidation, criminalization and surveillance under such baseless charges. A threat against the Palestinian human rights movement is a threat against movements for social justice everywhere, and in order to protect human rights and human rights defenders, all states must be held accountable for taking such manifestly unjust actions. While our government has long offered unconditional support to the Israeli government, our movements and organisations will always stand first and foremost with the rights and safety of people.

Therefore, we the undersigned organisations and individuals, call on you as Secretary of State, to:

Affirm that the Biden administration’s commitment to human rights has universal applicability;
Issue a public statement that rejects the Israeli government’s false accusations levied against Palestinian civil society organisations;
Publicly condemn and rebuke Israel for this authoritarian action, and call on Israeli authorities to immediately reverse their decision and end all efforts aimed at delegitimizing and criminalizing Palestinian human rights defenders;
Support Palestinians seeking the protection and promotion of fundamental human rights, justice and accountability, including at the International Criminal Court.



About Face: Veterans Against the War
Action Center on Race & the Economy
ActionAid USA
Adalah Justice Project
Alliance for Water Justice in Palestine
American Friends Service Committee
American Muslim Bar Association
American Muslim Empowerment Network (AMEN)
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
Americans for Justice in Palestine Action
Arab Resource & Organizing Center (AROC)
BackYard Mishkan
Beit Sahour USA
Catalyst Project
Center for Constitutional Rights
Center for Jewish Nonviolence
Charity & Security Network
Civil Liberties Defense Center
Coalition for an Ethical Psychology
Committee in Solidarity with the People of Syria – CISPOS
Corporate Accountability Lab
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN)
Detention Watch Network
Disciples Palestine Israel Network
DonkeySaddle Projects
DSA BDS & Palestine Working Group
Episcopal Peace Fellowship
Episcopal Peace Fellowship – Palestine Israel Network
Eyewitness Palestine
Family Farm Defenders
Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR-USA)
Feminists for Justice in Palestine
Fight for the Future
Free Democratic Palestine Movement
Freedom Forward
Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA)
Friends of the MST (US)
Front Line Defenders
Global Justice Center
Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ
Grassroots Global Justice Alliance
Grassroots International
Hindus for Human Rights
Historians for Peace and Democracy
Human Rights Watch
ICNA Council for Social Justice
Indigenous World Association
International Association of Democratic Lawyers
International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR)
International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
International Indian Treaty Council (IITC)
Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (USA)
Jahalin Solidarity
Jewish Liberation Theology Institute
Jewish Voice for Peace Action
Jewish Voice for Peace Health Advisory Council (JVP HAC)
Jews for Palestinian Right of Return
Just Foreign Policy
Justice Democrats
JVP Havurah Network
Kairos USA
Labor for Palestine
Media Education Foundation
Middle East Children’s Alliance
Mosquito Fleet
Movement for Black Lives
Movement Law Lab
MPower Change
National Association of Democratic Lawyers (South Africa)
National Family Farm Coalition
National Iranian American Council
National Lawyers Guild
National Network for Immigrant & Refugee Rights
National Students for Justice in Palestine
Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala
NOVACT International Institute for Nonviolent Action
On Earth Peace
Our Revolution
Our Sacred Circles (OSC)
Oxfam America
Palestine Legal
Palestinian Alliance for Peace
Palestinian American Organisations Network
Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace
Palestinian Feminist Collective
Palestinian Youth Movement
Partnership for Civil Justice Fund
Pax Christi USA
Peace Action
Presbyterian Church (USA)
Progressive Democrats of America
Project South
Quaker Palestine Israel Network-Portland
Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice
ReThinking Foreign Policy, Inc.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network
Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ)
South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT)
Sunrise Movement
The Presbyterian Peace Fellowship
U.S. Labor Against Racism and War
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East
United Church of Christ Palestine Israel Network
United Methodists for Kairos Response (UMKR)
US Palestinian Council
USA Palestine Mental Health Network
US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI)
US Campaign for Palestinian Rights
Veterans For Peace
Win Without War
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom US
World Can’t Wait
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)

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