On Israel’s Declaration of Palestinian Human Rights Groups as “Terrorist Organizations”


On October 22, 2021, the Israeli government declared six Palestinian human rights groups to be “terror organizations” – a designation that effectively outlaws the groups, criminalizes their work under Israeli law and enables Israel to seize assets, arrest staff, prohibit funding, and punish public expressions of support and solidarity. With this terror designation, the Israeli government has escalated its longtime efforts to crush the Palestinian organizations that document Israel’s ongoing violations of Palestinian human rights and seek to hold Israel accountable. 

Below is a list of FMEP resources (including podcasts, webinars, and more) analyzing the implications of that declaration.

  • Podcast (1/14/22): “Israel Again Tries & Fails To Connect Palestinian NGOs to Terrorism” featuring Oren Ziv, photojournalist, a founding member of the Activestills photography collective, and a staff writer for Local Cal, in conversation with FMEP’s Lara Friedman.
  • (11/16/21) Funders for Palestine (including FMEP): Open Letter to Defend Democracy and the Rights of Palestinian Civil Society  Press release, including:

    “The cynical weaponization of anti-terrorism laws poses an existential threat both for Palestinian human rights defenders and those defending human rights globally,” said Lara Friedman, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, a philanthropic organization that promotes a just resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “The breadth of signers of this letter underscores funders’ shared recognition of the urgency of challenging this dangerous tactic, and of the moral obligation to defend partners on the ground who, in essence, have been singled out for attack because they have done their work defending human and civil rights too well.”

  • Podcast (11/9/21): “Israel’s Anti-Terror Law & Pegasus are Terrorizing Palestinian Human Rights Defenders,” featuring Ubai Aboudi, director of Bisan Center for Research and Development, in conversation with FMEP’s Lara Friedman.
  • Webinar (11/5/21): “The Terrorism Smear: Israel’s Move to Shut Down Palestinian Human Rights Work,” featuring leading human & civil rights experts Jamil Dakwar (ACLU), Rabea Eghbariah (Adalah), and Dima Khalidi (Palestine Legal), together with Lara Friedman, discussing the work of the targeted Palestinian NGOs, the context and impact of this terror designation, reactions from governments and NGOs in the U.S. and the EU, and expectations of impact.
  • Churches for Middle East Peace webinar (11/5): Unpacking the Designation of Six Palestinian NGOs as Terrorist Organizations, featuring CMEP Executive Director, Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon in conversation with Lara Friedman, President of Foundation for Middle East Peace, and Mike Merryman-Lotze, Director of the Israel/Palestine Program at the American Friends Service Committee.
  • Podcast (11/4/21): “Secret Israeli dossier provides no proof for declaring Palestinian NGOs ‘terrorists’” featuring journalist Oren Ziv with FMEP’s Sarah Anne Minkin
  • Podcast (11/3/21): “Terror Designations — Israeli Capital Punishment for Palestinian NGOs” featuring human rights attorney Michael Sfard with Lara Friedman
  • Podcast (11/2/21): “Show us the evidence” featuring human rights attorney and Member of Knesset Gaby Lasky with FMEP non-resident fellow Peter Beinart
  • Webinar (10/29/21): Israel’s Designation of Six Palestinian NGOs as “Terrorist”: Costs and Consequences. Special webinar featuring representatives from the six targeted Palestinian NGOs: Ubai al-Aboudi (Bisan Center for Research and Development), Fuad Abu Saif  (Union of Agricultural Work Committees), Sahar Francis (Addameer), Shawan Jabarin (Al-Haq), Tahreer Jaber (Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees), Khaled Quzmar (Defense for Children-International). Co-moderated by MEI’s Khaled Elgindy & FMEP’s Lara Friedman, This event was co-sponsored by FMEP with the Middle East Institute (MEI), Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), Century International, the International Crisis Group (ICG), Human Rights Watch (HRW), the Carter Center, and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR).
  • Podcast (10/29/21) featuring Shawan Jabarin, General Director of Al Haq, with FMEP non-resident fellow Peter Beinart, Spotlight on Al Haq
  • Podcast (10/27/21) featuring award-winning Palestinian journalist Daoud Kuttab with FMEP’s Lara Friedman: “Using ‘Terrorism’ Charges to Target NGOs: Lessons from the Case of Mohamed Halabi”
  • Podcast (10/26/21) featuring Omar Shakir (Human Rights Watch) and FMEP’s Lara Friedman: “Not Without Precedent: Unraveling the History of Israel’s Escalating War on Palestinian Solidarity Work
  • Podcast (10/22/21) featuring Sarit Michaeli (B’Tselem), Inès Abdel Razek (PIPD), and FMEP’s Lara Friedman: “Israel Declares War on Palestinian Human Rights Defenders”
  • Lara Friedman’s comment (10/22/21) on Israeli designation of Palestinian NGOs as terrorists: “Israel moves to weaponize an approach I’ve long dubbed “6 degrees of terrorist contamination” — Israel declares leading Palestinian NGOs to be PFLP-affiliates. This “6-degrees-of-terrorist-contamination” approach is NOT about targeting terrorism. It is about shutting down Palestinian NGOs that challenge Israeli policies — NGOs that nobody seriously alleges actually are involved in/support/incite/finance terror. This approach has long been marshaled by Israel & some of its defenders against well-known, highly respected NGOs for involvement in activities that cannot by any definition be characterized as terrorism, or as directly by terrorist group, or as benefiting a terrorist group. And to be clear: Israel & some of its defenders have long sought to use this 6-degrees approach as a silver bullet to delegitimize & destroy all NGOs that dare collect/report data on or seek to challenge Israeli violations of Palestinian rights (see: NGO Monitor).”
  • Lara Friedman’s Twitter thread tracking statements, responses, and other resources related to Israeli designation of 6 Palestinian NGOs as “terrorists,” including from Israeli, Palestinian, and international NGOs, UN and government voices, and other prominent voices (started 10/22/21, updated constantly).
  • Lara Friedman’s Twitter thread (10/24/21) tracking how Israel ignores actual terrorism in the pasts of Jewish Israelis in right-wing journalism, activism, and politics.
  • Lara Friedman’s Twitter thread (10/23/21) documenting how illiberal governments around the world use “terrorism” charge to attack human rights defenders and civil society sector.