The Terrorism Smear: Israel’s Move to Shut Down Palestinian Human Rights Work


Webinar recorded on 11/5

The Terrorism Smear: Israel’s Move to Shut Down Palestinian Human Rights Work

Friday, November 5th, 2021

featuring Jamil Dakwar (ACLU), Rabea Eghbariah (Adalah) and Dima Khalidi (Palestine Legal)

with Lara Friedman (FMEP)

In late October, the Israeli government declared six Palestinian human rights groups to be “terror organizations” – a designation that 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 Palestinian organizations that document Israel’s ongoing violations of Palestinian human rights and seek to hold Israel accountable. 

Leading human & civil rights experts – Jamil Dakwar (ACLU), Rabea Eghbariah (Adalah), and Dima Khalidi (Palestine Legal) – to discuss 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. 

Resources shared in this webinar: 

Follow our panelists on Twitter: 

For additional background on this issue, please see the compilation of resources FMEP has produced over the past two weeks:

Yesterday’s breaking news reporting from +972 Magazine, Local Call, and The Intercept → “Secret Israeli dossier provides no proof for declaring Palestinian NGOs ‘terrorists’” by Yuval Abraham, Oren Ziv, and Meron Rapaport

11/4 Haaretz article: “In Congress, Israel Justifies Palestinian NGO Terror Tag With Evidence on Unrelated Group” —>

“The Downstream Effects of Israel’s “Terrorist” Designation on Human Rights Defenders in the US” from Diala Shamas

Zena Agha in today’s NYT: “Israel Moves to Silence the Stalwarts of Palestinian Civil Society” –>

“Finnish Christian charity cuts ties with Palestinian NGO accused by Israel of aiding militants” —>

For more information on NGO Monitor, see this report from Charity & Security Network: The Alarming Rise of Lawfare to Suppress Civil Society: The Case of Palestine and Israel —>

For an ACLU briefing on the Holy Land Foundation case, please see:

ACLU report on U.S. use of post 9/11 laws and policies in the wake of “war on terror” to shutdown and freeze assets of Muslim charities and violate religious freedom:

And for a specific analysis of post-9/11 logic on Israel/Palestine, see: “The post-9/11 logic at work in Israel’s attack on Palestinian civil society” —>

For more on the SLAPP suit against USCPR, see:

Bios of the webinar participants:

Jamil Dakwar (@jdakwar) is the director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Human Rights Program. Mr. Dakwar conducts advocacy before the U.S. government on human rights issues, with a particular focus on the domestic implementation of U.S. human rights obligations. His expertise frequently appears in domestic and international media. Prior to joining the ACLU in 2004, he worked at Human Rights Watch, where he conducted research, advocated, and published reports on issues of torture and detention in Egypt, Morocco, Israel, and the occupied Palestinian territory. Before moving to the United States, he was a senior attorney with Adalah, where he filed and argued human rights cases before Israeli courts and advocated before international forums. Mr. Dakwar is adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY), Bard College, and Hunter College. He is Chair of Adalah Justice Project’s Advisory Board. He tweets @jdakwar.

Rabea Eghbariah is a 2016 graduate of Tel Aviv University’s law school and also holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Haifa University (2012). During his studies, he worked at Adalah as a pre-legal intern and established the Arab Students Legal Forum at Tel Aviv University. During that same period, Rabea also served as deputy editor of Law, Society, and Culture journal and was a research and teaching assistant in constitutional and international law courses.  Upon completing his studies, Rabea clerked in the national public defender’s office and, upon receiving Israeli Bar Association certification, he continued working for the public defender in the Supreme Court cases department. Rabea joined Adalah in 2018 and works in the Civil and Political Rights Unit. Rabea is currently an SJD student at Harvard Law School.

Dima Khalidi is the founder and director of Palestine Legal and Cooperating Counsel with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR). She oversees Palestine Legal’s array of legal and advocacy work to protect people speaking out for Palestinian rights from attacks on their civil and constitutional rights. Prior to founding Palestine Legal in 2012, Dima worked with CCR as a cooperating attorney on the Mamilla Cemetery Campaign, submitting a Petition to United Nations officials to stop the desecration of an ancient Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem, and advocating on behalf of Palestinian descendants of individuals interred in the cemetery. Dima has a JD from DePaul University College of Law, an MA in International and Comparative Legal Studies from the University of London – SOAS, and a BA in History and Near Eastern Studies from the University of Michigan. @pal_legal

Lara Friedman is the President of the Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP). With more than 25 years working in the Middle East foreign policy arena, Lara is a leading authority on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, with particular expertise on the Israeli-Arab conflict, Israeli settlements, Jerusalem, and the role of the U.S. Congress. She is published widely in the U.S. and international press and is regularly consulted by members of Congress and their staffs, by Washington-based diplomats, by policy-makers in capitals around the world, and by journalists in the U.S. and abroad. In addition to her work at FMEP, Lara is a Contributing Writer at Jewish Currents and a non-resident fellow at the U.S./Middle East Project (USMEP). Prior to joining FMEP, Lara was the Director of Policy and Government Relations at Americans for Peace Now, and before that she was a U.S. Foreign Service Officer, serving in Jerusalem, Washington, Tunis and Beirut. She holds a B.A. from the University of Arizona and a Master’s degree from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service; in addition to English, Lara speaks French, Arabic, Spanish, (weak) Italian, and muddles through in Hebrew. She tweets @LaraFriedmanDC.