ELSC Newsletter: OctoberPublished on Mon Nov 08 2021 - modified on Tue Nov 09 2021
This month we share with you news on our work to push back against the criminalisation of Palestinian civil society by Israel as well as our new report on shrinking space and Palestinian rights advocacy in the Netherlands. We also share good news from the UK where the authorities rejected unfounded allegations by a lawfare group, updates from the BT3P team who challenged the German Parliament in Court, and new job and traineeship opportunities with the ELSC.
Latest Israeli Attempt to Suppress Palestinian Civil Society
After the Israeli government’s latest attempt to criminalise six prominent Palestinian CSOs by designating them as “terrorist”, we signed a joint letter to express solidarity and collectively urge the international community to take all necessary measures to protect them. We also published a statement calling on the EU and its member states to reject the designation, to publicly oppose the repression of Palestinian civil society, and to continue their financial support to their Palestinian partners. A number of international actors have also firmly rejected the Israeli decision, you can keep track of these reactions here.
First ELSC Monitoring Report on Chilling Palestinian Rights Advocacy in the Netherlands
The attacks against Palestinian civil society are part of a global strategy of the Israeli authorities and their allies to silence Palestinian voices and this echoes with what we have been observing in Europe. On the 12th of October, we released our first monitoring report on the attempt to chill Palestinian rights advocacy in the Netherlands, which sheds light on the actors responsible for incidents of repression, including Israel-advocacy groups along with enabling actors such as Dutch right-wing media outlets and political parties. The report documents 76 cases of repression and the tactics used to repress Palestinian rights advocates.
BT3P vs. the Anti-BDS Motion of the German Bundestag: German Court Dismisses the Complaint
Since 2020, the ELSC has been supporting Palestinian-Jewish-German initiative Bundestag 3 for Palestine (BT3P) with lawyer Ahmed Abed to challenge the German Bundestag’s anti-Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) resolution that condemns the movement as antisemitic. Read our case summary.
On October 7, the Berlin Administrative Court held the first hearing on the complaint. The Court ruled that the fundamental rights of the complainants have not been violated and the Bundestag is allowed to use the controversial IHRA definition as a parameter to assess antisemitism and therefore dismissed the case at this stage. Nevertheless, the Court recognised both its jurisdiction on the case and BT3P’s legal standing to challenge the resolution. Amir Ali, one of the plaintiffs, said in response to this decision: “We will appeal. With this complaint we are opposing the systematic suppression of human rights work for Palestinians in Germany”. Lawyer Abed added: “We see good chances for the next instance.”
UK Government Dismisses Attempt by UK Lawyers for Israel to Harm Palestinian Civil Society
In one of its latest attempt to delegitimise Palestinian civil society, UKLFI submitted a complaint to the UK National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (UK NCP) against PricewaterhouseCoopers Palestine Limited (PwC Palestine) for an alleged violation of the OECD Guidelines. In response, the UK NCP concluded that the complaint was unfounded as PwC Palestine “had appropriate policies and procedures in place to obtain reasonable assurance that its clients were upholding appropriate legal, compliance and ethical standards and also conducted reasonable investigations following the allegations by UKLFI.”
Such a decision plays a crucial role in the struggle of global civil society against the phenomenon of shrinking civic space, as it exposes the groundlessness and unreliability of the accusations that lawfare actors such as UKLFI use to interrupt the activities of human rights organisations. Read more here.
Resources & News from Around Europe and Palestine
From Palestine, The Arab Center for Social Media – 7amleh just launched its Palestinian Digital Rights Violations Monitor 7or. If you are a Palestinian activist or a supporter of the Palestinian cause and you have had your social media account suspended or content taken down, faced online hate speech or other digital rights violations, report here and 7amleh will contact social media companies and follow up on your case.
This month, the French Platform of NGOs for Palestine also launched a report on the delegitimisation strategies employed against defenders of Palestinian human rights including attacks and defamation, with a focus on France. The ELSC contributed with some advice.
Other ELSC News
The ELSC is offering new job and traineeship opportunities. We are seeking a Development Officer to lead fundraising and administrative work, including management of human resources and strategic planning. The deadline to apply is 21 November. See the call for applications.
We are also very happy to launch our Movement Lawyering Traineeship that aims to educate the next generation of human rights lawyers and advocates by rooting their legal training, experience and practice in the Palestine solidarity movement. We accept application on a rolling basis for three positions:
We are currently welcoming applications for the positions of Junior Legal Officer: Monitor and Defend starting from 15th of July 2022 and Junior Advocacy Officer starting from May 2022. Read more and apply here.
We are now on Instagram! Follow us on our account elsclegal for updates on our work in promoting the right to advocate, and defending Palestinian rights advocates in Europe!
If you have faced repression for Palestinian rights advocacy whether at university, work, or during a protest in a public space or online, make sure to fill out our incident report form. This information enables us to track how Palestinian advocacy is attacked and silenced, helping us to better defend activists in times of need and push back against shrinking civic space.
You can join our movement to ensure that defenders of Palestinian rights receive free legal advice and support by making a one time or monthly donation to the ELSC. Any donation would empower our fight for Palestinian rights in Europe. If it is not possible to make a donation at this time, you could follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter, share our posts and spread the word about repression of civic spaces for advocates of Palestinian rights.