Tags

, ,

Man stands at podium with other people around him
Al-Haq director Shawan Jabarin, left, receives the Human Rights Prize of the French Republic, along with B’Tselem director Haggai El-Ad, centre, December 2018. (via Twitter)

Israeli government propaganda is inciting violent threats against human rights defenders.

On the Facebook page for the 4IL website visitors left comments calling for the killing of Shawan Jabarin, director of the Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq.

These included: “When do we put a bullet in the head?”, “Why do such people still breathe?” and “Why has he not been liquidated?”

4IL is a propaganda outlet of Israel’s strategic affairs ministry.

The ministry, headed by Gilad Erdan, leads Israel’s campaign of smear and sabotage against human rights groups and the global Palestine solidarity movement.

Al-Haq calls these comments “incitement and hate speech.”

The human rights group says the spasm of death threats came after 4IL published an article accusing Jabarin, a human rights defender who has won international recognition and awards, of “terrorism.”

The Israeli government published the article smearing Al-Haq after the organisation held an event celebrating its 40th anniversary attended by academics, diplomats and officials, including from the UN and European Union.

“The attack is the latest in a large-scale campaign against Palestinian and other civil society organisations working to promote and protect the rule of law and human rights standards for the Palestinian people,” according to Al-Haq.

The international human rights network FIDH issued an alert last week condemning the smear campaign and death threats against Jabarin and calling on Israel “to immediately end any acts of harassment against him, Al-Haq and all the human rights defenders.”

Al-Haq has been a particular target of Israel because of the role it plays in compiling evidence of Israeli human rights crimes for the International Criminal Court.

Authorities in the Netherlands, where the court is based, have been investigating death threats targeting a lawyer working with Al-Haq.

The campaign of harassment against the lawyer is possibly the work of Israel’s strategic affairs ministry, according to a veteran Israeli reporter on intelligence.

A key goal of the smear campaign is to force governments to end their funding for human rights groups by associating them with “terrorism.”

Last month the EU said it was “aware of allegations” against Al-Haq but that screening of the organisation’s representatives against UN and EU sanctions lists had not revealed any concerns.

Hebrew writing painted on a wall
A death threat spray-painted at the offices of Amnesty International and other nongovernmental organisations in Tel Aviv. (via Facebook)

On Wednesday, Amnesty International demanded that Israeli authorities “urgently investigate death threats targeting three civil society organisations, including Amnesty International’s Israeli section in Tel Aviv.”

The group said that anonymous death threats were sprayed outside the offices of Amnesty International Israel and ASSAF, an organisation working with refugees and asylum-seekers.

Amnesty Israel posted on Facebook a photo of the Hebrew graffiti outside its office.

It states, the “wicked person will die for their sin” – a quote from the Bible.

A box containing death threats and a dead mouse was also left at the entrance to the Elifelet Children’s Activity Centre for refugees.

Amnesty noted that in recent years, “the climate for human rights defenders in both Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories has rapidly deteriorated.”

“Israeli authorities have taken steps to unduly restrict the rights to freedom of expression and association inside Israel, with officials intimidating human rights defenders critical of the government and introducing legislation to silence dissent,” Amnesty added.

Like Al-Haq, Amnesty has been a target of official harassment and retaliation for documenting Israeli abuses.

see more