US calls Calls on Biden to Denounce Israel’s Crackdown on Palestinian Rights Groups

 “A threat against the Palestinian human rights movement is a threat against movements for social justice everywhere,” nearly 300 U.S.-based civil society groups told Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

A broad coalition of nearly 300 U.S.-based social justice groups on Friday urged the Biden administration to “immediately and unequivocally” condemn the Israeli government’s recent decision to classify a half-dozen Palestinian human rights groups as “terrorist organizations.”

Smearing the promotion and defense of human rights as ‘terrorist’ activity is a dangerous, well-worn tactic of authoritarian regimes.”

“These actions by the Israeli government are a clear attack on human rights,” says the coalition in its letter to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. “As such, we urge you to issue a swift rejection of this unprecedented attack on Palestinian human rights organizations and the attempt by the Israeli government to shut down, delegitimize, isolate, and chill a growing human rights movement.”

Last week, as Common Dreams reported, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s punitive designation targeted six groups—Addameer, AlHaq, the Bisan Center for Research and Development, Defense for Children International – Palestine, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees.

Under the apartheid regime’s Counter-Terrorism Law of 2016, “these human rights organizations now face possible mass arrest and being shut down by the Israeli government, and anyone identifying with the groups can also be subject to imprisonment,” the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), one of the groups that spearheaded Friday’s letter, warned in a statement.

Israel’s move was quickly rebuked by progressive lawmakers, including U.S. Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), and advocates from CCR, Human Rights Watch (HRW), Amnesty International, and 21 Israel-based groups.