by Dan Diker
Defense Minister Benny Gantz’ exposes there are operational and financial links between Palestinian terror organizations and civil society- “human rights” groups -funded largely by European countries
IDF thwarting a a massive Hamas terrorist network in the West Bank, November 22, 2021.
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
The recent international reaction to Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s decision to designate and outlaw six Palestinian civil society organizations as terror groups points to two important lessons learned: The Palestinian leadership’s ongoing success in prosecuting an international political war against Israel, and Israel’s failure to expose and counter the Palestinian leadership’s hybrid warfare strategy.
Gantz’s statement, based on years of hard evidence provided by research organizations and the Israeli government, exposed operational and financial links between Palestinian terror organizations and civil society- “human rights” groups -funded largely by European countries. The declaration should have been an open and shut case both in Israel and the West. The evidence is overwhelming, and most of it is publicly available. However, the international outrage Gantz's designation triggered towards Israel reflected his failure to present the evidence, context, and Israel’s legal right of response to the Israeli and international public. He thereby undermined his and Israel’s strong case, which fallaciously positioned him and by extension, the government, and the people of Israel, as enemies of liberal democracy and its cherished principles of freedom and human rights.
For years, research institutions, including the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) and NGO Monitor, have exposed the direct links between terror organizations and so-called Palestinian civil society groups. The Jerusalem Center’s BDS Unmasked, published in 2016, and its 2019 publication The PACBI Deception: Unmasked, revealed the association of Palestinian terror groups, including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) as full members in the BDS National Committee (BDS Movement) in Palestinian Authority-governed Ramallah.Following years of research revelations, in 2018, Israel's Ministry of Strategic Affairs issued "Terrorists in Suits", a major detailed report exposing the incontrovertible ties between the PFLP terror group and the above mentioned “human rights” organizations.
The broad condemnation of Gantz’s statement by groups such as Human Rights Watch (HRW), Amnesty International, and J Street raises serious questions about their intellectual, moral, and professional integrity.
Here are two examples of the convergence of Palestinian terror and human rights groups: Khalida Jarrar, former vice president of the human rights group Addameer, was sentenced to two years in prison in March 2021 for her activities in the PFLP. Another illustration is provided by the case of Shawan Jabarin- a convicted and formerly incarcerated PFLP member who has served as Executive Director of Al-Haq, one of the Palestinian civil society organizations designated by the Ministry of Defense.
The decision against making a public case against the “human rights” groups - terrorist intersection is the latest example of a deeper problem that has plagued Israeli governments since the Oslo accords in the 1990s.
Israeli governments over the past 30 years have failed to expose the Palestinian leadership’s strategy of politically-driven “Hybrid Warfare,” which combines terrorism on one hand and political deception, disinformation, demonization, and delegitimization of Israel on the other. By doing so, the Palestinian leadership adopted the Cold War strategies of the Soviet and Chinese regimes.
Over the past decade the free world has come to recognize the danger inherent in the hybrid warfare threat. In 2014 the NATO Summit summary document recognized political deception and disinformation as components of Hybrid Warfare employed by Russia in its occupation of Crimea and by Hezbollah in Lebanon and ISIS, in Iraq and Syria. The PLO has also been using this strategy effectively for decades; Arafat and his Soviet backers led the 1975 UN campaign that resulted in the adoption of the infamous UN Zionism is Racism resolution with Arafat and the Palestinian leadership intensified the crusade prosecuting a political warfare campaign branding Israel as an apartheid regime at the UN sanctioned World Conference Against Racism in 2001 in Durban, South Africa. PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has sustained this political warfare against Israel using demonizing and delegitimizing rhetoric libeling Israel as an “apartheid” entity in his Durban IV speech in September 2021.
In fact, the apartheid libel has today become the internationally accepted lingua franca regarding the only Jewish State: at the UN, by some members of the U.S. House of Representatives, in some European Parliaments, in the international media, and across Western academia. These statements of intentional, calculated disinformation are acts of war no less than those fought in 1948, 1967, 1973, 1982 and the Palestinian and Iranian-backed Hybrid Warfare against Israel that continue today.
This Palestinian strategically driven ideological war requires an immediate response for the sake of Israel’s national security. It is essential that Israel dedicate the necessary resources to establishing a national security council effort to counter Palestinian hybrid warfare. There is precedent in the West. Great Britain and the United States established political warfare offices as part of their wartime efforts in defeating the Nazis and the Soviet Union, respectively. It is now time that Israel garners the resources and mobilize the collective political will to overcome the decades-long PLO, PA and Hamas’ led Hybrid War to dismantle Israel as a Jewish-Democratic state.
Dan Diker is a research fellow and the director of the program to counter political warfare and BDS at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA). He previously served as the secretary general of the World Jewish Congress (WJC).
This op-ed is published in partnership with a coalition of organizations that fight antisemitism across the world. Read the previous article by Dr. Shmuel Katz