Activities

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    Photo credit: REUTERS/BAZ RATNER

The United Nation Human Rights Council's Blacklist

On February 12, 2020, the UNHRC published a list of companies deemed to be complicit in “encouraging, building, and maintaining Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan.” This shocking precedent, aimed at delegitimizing Israel and crippling its economy by deterring international companies from doing business in Israel and deterring other financial institutions from investing, partnering, or otherwise associating with Israeli companies, necessitated a rapid and powerful counter-attack. 

The ILF created a vast coalition of law firms, attorneys, and organizations to take joint action. Our coalition has prepared an extensive legal analysis, signed by members of our coalition - various legal authorities worldwide - regarding this matter, as well as several resolutions. The coalition has three planned courses of action to delegitimize and undermine the blacklist:

  1. Provide our broad legal analysis to companies

  2. Resolutions by key financial bodies

  3. Condemnation from Political bodies and key figures

Watch Yifa Segal on ILTV discussing the implications of the UNHCR Black List
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    Chief prosecutor of the ICC. (courtesy ICC)

Opposing the International Criminal Court’s Hostile Moves Against Israel

On December 20, 2019, the Prosecutor's Office (OTP) of the ICC announced that it would be launching an official investigation into war crimes against Israel. The OTP then deferred the question of jurisdiction of the ICC over “Palestine” to the Court. As Israel is not a State Party to the ICC, the Israeli government is in a precarious situation: to officially defend the claim would concede jurisdiction to the ICC however by not defending the claim Israel is unable to state its position or have any control over the outcome. As such the ILF was compelled to stand on the frontline. 

The results of our interventions exceeded all expectations, with 14 groups submitting amicus curiae requests, in addition to eight state parties, all  filing in Israel's favor. The ILF's efforts succeeded by bringing together a coalition of attorneys and organizations, coordinating and dividing the work to be done. Additionally, our efforts included a broad invitation to ICC member states, providing them with an outline of the legal arguments and urging them to join. 

This is just the first step of a long battle in the ICC. Most of the countries that joined the effort were recruited by our network and eight of the submissions emerged from our group. It is therefore vital that we continue to lead this civil society movement at a time when the Israeli government’s hands are tied.

Read the ILF synopsis of
Pro-Israel ICC briefs

    MSA report - Behind the Mask front cover

Ministry of Strategic Affairs Report - Behind the Mask

The MSA have produced a detailed report exposing the BDS movement as a global campaign that aims to undermine the legitimacy of the State of Israel. The BDS movement has gained considerable legitimacy as an organisation striving for Palestinian human and civil rights and many who support the BDS movement do so in the belief that they are supporting a movement working towards a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. However, this important publication shows how in reality this is a movement with a hidden agenda.

The report reviews in detail the content and methods of leading BDS activists and organizations. It reveals links between the BDS and Antisemitism, demonstrating this by using a variety of material put out by the BDS which qualifies as Antisemitic based on the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of Antisemitism.

The report also cites statements by Western leaders and officials, noting the connection between the BDS movement and antisemitism, as well as highlighting the watershed resolution passed in the German parliament, branding the argumentation patterns and methods of the BDS movement as antisemitic.

The summation of the report is that the BDS movement is not genuinely interested in legitimate criticism of Israel or a peaceful resolution but rather the dissolution of the State of Israel.

Read MSA Report
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Blocked Terror Funding via Large Financial Platforms

Together with the Zionist Advocacy Centre, the ILF launched a major campaign against large online payment systems known to be providing services to the NGO Samidoun.

 

Though registered as an NGO Samidoun operates as a proxy for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a designated foreign terrorist organization (FTO in the Israel, US, EU, UK, Canada and Australia). Samidoun plays a significant role in the PFLP’s international work of raising support, funds and activists in North America and across Europe.

The ILF provided the financial platforms with evidence proving that the PFLP uses the pretense of Samidoun as a legitimate human rights group, in order to spread its message and raise donations and support.

In May 2019, PayPal, Donorbox and Plaid closed their financial services to Samidoun following the revelation of this connection to terrorism. Recently, the possibility of donating to Samidoun online through MasterCard, American Express, Visa and others were also found to be blocked.

This is a huge victory in the battle against terror and human rights in the Middle East. For online giants to take this action,  sends an important message to the world that they are truly interested in ending terror financing and preventing radical ideologies from prospering. The campaign has also raised awareness of Samidoun and the covert ways in which terror groups are now working in the modern world.

Watch Yifa Segal exposing the truth about Samidoun

Ground-Breaking Legal Battle Links BDS, Terrorism and US Based Human Rights Group

For almost two years the ILF, along with our partners, researched the links between the BDS and designated terror groups, with the aim to stop the funding and delegitimize this vehemently Antisemitic and exploitative movement. In November 2019, using this research, the ILF prepared and recruited Keren Kayemet Le’Yisrael  (KKL-JNF), together with a group of terror victims, in suing US-based charity, Campaign for Palestinian rights (USCPR) for $90 million in damages, caused to property and environment, as well as emotional harm. These damages were all caused by missiles, balloons, kites and other incendiary devices launched from the Gaza Strip during the Marches of Return, that began March 2018. USCPR are one of the fiscal sponsors of the BDS National Committee (BNC). 

The BNC is a Ramallah based organization and is the founder and leader of the global BDS movement. The BNC's key players are five Palestinian terrorist organizations, including Hamas, the PFLP and the Islamic Jihad.

The research and lawsuit, compiled meticulously for over a year, clearly exposes that these terrorist organizations in receipt of funding from USCPR, are in fact those who control the BNC, as well as the Great Return Marches. The importance of this case is the exposure of the inherent but hidden links between designated terrorist groups - the global BDS Movement - and the Great March of Return (GRM). Moreover, it is aimed at shutting down the valuable financial lifeline of donations coming from the US to the BNC (and eventually used by the terrorist organization), delegitimize the BNC movement and all hundreds of anti-Israeli organizations associated with it worldwide.

Watch Yifa Segal on ILTV talking about the landmark this lawsuit
Watch USCPR Deputy Director reveal her true feelings about the US and Israel
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IHRA Working Definition on Antisemitism

Many countries around the world have adopted IHRA’s definition of Antisemitism. While IHRA’s definition is merely a declaration it can still be a crucial tool to be used by judicial agents at all levels to immediately enforce laws to counter Antisemitism.

 

The focus of this project is to educate the legal community worldwide, not only regarding the content of IHRA's definition, but its application in existing domestic law as well. Educating the legal community about the IHRA definition is critical as many are not familiar with the definition’s existence, let alone its content or how to implement it. We are training legal professionals to properly identify Antisemitism according to the parameters set forth by IHRA. The project includes legal symposia worldwide, cooperation with various bar associations, and a “webinar” offering courses to obtain CLF credits.

Various professionals globally have volunteered their time to engage with the project and carry out the training locally using our materials and support. The ILF has also held a number of our own training sessions including with  law students and various webinars with professionals in different jurisdictions like the EU, US, Canada and Latin American.

Watch an excerpt from the ILF
symposia on IHRA

Photo credit: REUTERS

Palestinian incendiary balloon that landed in a field in Israel (photo credit: Eshkol Regional Council)

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Ban on Religious Slaughter Challenged in European Court

In July 2017 the Flemish government issued a decree in which the un-stunned/un-sedated slaughter of animals is prohibited making both Jewish and Muslim religious slaughter illegal. This is now being challenged in the European Court. In order to support this challenge, the ILF has applied to become an Amicus, a party that assists the court by offering information, expertise, or insight that has a bearing on the issues in the case.

 

The ILF has put together a broad coalition of legal and human rights groups, including Muslims, Christians, Buddhists and Jews, from all over the world so that we can put the best possible case together. 

 

This is a crucial piece of work as, should this law take effect, it could affect the way of life of today’s European Jewry.

Media Coverage

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Signed Agreement with Ministry of Strategic Affairs

The agreement will support the project global legal network of the ILF. It will enable us to be an effective hub for the various pro-Israel organizations, and help us expand our network, deepen coordination and cooperation among our partners, make information accessible to all the organizations, support our friends around the world and support important activities.

JPost Article

Report Exposing the Terror Ties in the BDS Movement

We are proud to have played a significant part in the research into the Boycott National Committee (BNC) and the establishment of the BDS Movement in Ramallah by a Palestinian coalition led by five designated terror groups.

 

The information provided, served the Ministry of Strategic affairs while issuing a report named “Terrorists in Suits”, as well as other authorities and civil rights organizations, in their recent efforts to strike local BDS organizations affiliated to the BNC. 

 

This information will also be used as basis for a number of strategic lawsuits to be filed in the upcoming months, as well as a submission of legal procedures aimed to end the activities of the BNC and its affiliates.

Watch Yifa Segal talk

"Tearing Off the Masks"

Photo credit: Arthur Gekiere/AFP via Getty Images

Photo credit: SIVAN FARAG

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Issam Aqel Released After Arrest by PA for Selling Land to Jews

The ILF is happy to report that  Issam Aqel, the East Jerusalem resident who has been held captive by the Palestinian Authority for allegedly selling land to Jews, has finally been released.

The ILF had run a far-reaching global campaign, with the goal of raising awareness to the PA's racist, hateful policy, calling for its nullification and saving Issam's life!  

Our campaign included putting pressure on the US and the Israeli governments to take action to help Issam. The ILF attempted to call out "human rights organizations" and European officials, both on the EU level and the Member States, for their silence in the face of such a blatant violation of fundamental human rights.

While Issam has now been released "thanks" to his American citizenship and Israeli residency, there are unfortunately at least 44 others who have been imprisoned and tortured in this last month alone on similar accounts. 

The ILF is determined to persist working against the PA's racist law, leading to the freeing of other prisoners and the prevention of similar future cases from reoccurring.

Chris Fit

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Antisemitic Cartoon Removed from Textbooks in Belgium

Two months after the ILF notified the Belgian Ministry of Education regarding an antisemitic caricature featured in an official Belgian schoolbook, the Belgian Ministry announced in response that it will be removed in the next edition.

 

The caricature is found in a Belgian geography book designed for 15-year-olds and was previously approved by the Belgian education system. It features an overweight Jew asleep in a bathtub near an impoverished Palestinian with an empty bucket, in a chapter dealing with the topic of water distribution between Israelis and Palestinians.

The ILF sent a harsh letter to Belgium's Education Minister demanding that the Antisemitic cartoon be removed from the textbooks, claiming that this act is not only immoral but also illegal as it clearly violates the resolution adopted by the European Parliament on 1 June 2017, which calls on member states, and their institutions, to adopt and apply the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of Antisemitism.

The disgraceful story made headlines and received wide-range media exposure in Israel and across world Jewry, shocking readers that the Belgian education system would allow schoolbooks that poison the minds of young students with hatred and incitement.

In a response letter sent by Belgium's Education Minister, Hilde Crevits, to the ILF, Crevits informed that the publisher of the book had confirmed that the caricature would be removed from the next version of the book.

According to Crevits, one of the goals of the education system is to educate the young generation to be "respectful and critical citizens".  She also mentions that the Flemish government determines the levels of achievement while it belongs to the autonomy of schools to choose proper textbooks.

The ILF welcomed the announcement by the Belgian Minister of Education and Yifa: "The appearance of the Antisemitic caricature was undoubtedly shocking and regrettable. We congratulate the Minister for her understanding of the seriousness of the matter and on her efforts to remove this Antisemitic content. Hate speech, incitement and anti-Semitism are contrary to European law.  We hope that there will be no further serious incidents of this kind, and we will continue to act whenever they happen."

Ynet Article

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Granting Equal Legal Rights to All Victims of Terror

Together with MK Amir Ohana, the ILF has submitted an amendment to the Victims of Violent Crimes Act, thus aiming to equalize the rights of terror victims with the rights of all other victims of violent crimes in Israel. With the passing of this legislation, this shameful and discriminatory legal reality will finally come to an end.

On the eve of Pesach 2014, Hadas Mizrachi, her husband Baruch and their five children were on their way to a Passover Seder when their car was ambushed and attacked by terrorists. Baruch was killed and Hadas and one of the children were injured. 

The terrorists were later caught and tried; however, Hadas had to fight to be informed of any information regarding the case; it was a struggle to even find out the time of the hearings so she could attend. Hadas had to fight to be privy to every update, to gain knowledge of the status of the proceedings, and to make sure her voice was heard before sentencing. These, among others, are the rights bestowed by law to victims of violent crimes in Israel - but they did not apply to her.  

How is that possible? The law, which was passed in Israel in 2001, applies these rights only to the civilian courts in Israel. Terrorists, however, are usually tried in the Military Courts and for this technical reason, the law, and the rights it grants do not apply to their victims. 

Yifa Segal, ILF Director, who initiated the amendment, stated: "The care for terror victims lies at the very core of Israeli society, as Israel holds its families dear and feels a collective responsibility for their well-being. It is inconceivable that such discrimination should occur against any group of people, but even more so when it comes to terror victims." 

The law today virtually leaves the victims alone in their darkest and most difficult hour. Their rights are ignored, they have no access to information, and they remain powerless to hear and be heard. We have fought and will continue to fight for this wrong to be righted. Basic human morality and Jewish morality, require us to change, correct, and create what should have been obvious.

Iron Mike

The funeral of Baruch Mizrahi (Photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Khaled Barakat and Charlotte Kates with Manu Pineda, MEP Photo: Izquierda Unida Europa (www.samidoun.net)

Terror affiliate Invited to Speak at EU Parliament Event

Manuel Pineda, known to us as a member of the PFLP, an EU designated terrorist organization was recently elected to become a Member of the European Parliament (MEP). Pineda was recently elected to serve as a Spanish representative for the Izquierda Unida faction of the GUE Group in the European Parliament. 

 

MEP Pineda, who also goes by the name of Abu Carlos, hosted an event and invited Khaled Barekat, the founder and leader of Samidoun, to speak at his event. Samidoun is an NGO known to have close ties with designated Palestinian terror groups, primarily the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). The participation of terror affiliates under the roof of the EU Parliament testifies to a severe problem in Europe. 

 

The ILF, together with our European partners, submitted a demand letter to Mr. David Sassoly, Parliament President, explicitly requesting Parliament take necessary and proper steps against MEP Pineda’s illegal initiative. The letter cited the 2017 parliamentary resolution forbidding the participation of terror affiliates in any official parliamentary event, which the ILF assisted in advancing at the time. 

 

We have also contacted partners in Spain and are looking into potential legal action there

Chris Fit

Boumaaz Facebook Page

French Official’s Nazi Birthday Celebration

Together with our French partners, we filed a criminal complaint with the Montpellier Attorney General, requesting proceedings against the French official, Mr. Djamel Boumaaz. Mr. Boumaz boasted publicly on Facebook about birthday celebrations with his friend, a member of the SS and included a picture of a birthday cake bearing a swastika (see picture above). 

 

Mr. Boumaz’s Facebook page reads: “I spent a lovely day with my family walking around, then eating at my SS friend’s, later comes the birthday cake given by my SS friend!”

This incident is one of a number of similar public Antisemitic acts occurring in France and reflects the 'normalization' of Antisemitism in the country. For a French official to feel it is appropriate and acceptable to publicize his close connections with Nazism, despite it being in clear contradiction of French law, speaks volumes as to the atmosphere in France today.

Jasmine Aziz

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Free Gaza Movement/AFP/File Image taken from the Free Gaza Movement website,shows the Mavi Marmara

Gaza Flotilla in International Criminal Court for the 3rd time

An internal rift within the International Criminal Court (ICC) system has arisen over the controversial Mavi Marmara Flotilla case, and the very rationale of the Rome-Statute treaty that established the ICC is being tested.

The ICC was set up in 2002 to probe the world's worst crimes including war crimes and crimes against humanities. While the prosecutor maintains that the incident does not meet the ‘gravity’ criteria of the court where most cases involve many thousands killed or injured in situations of mass impunity. However, the Pre-Trial Chamber (PTC) continues to appeal this decision and has pressured the ICC Appeals Chamber to order the prosecutor to her review her conclusions for the third time seeming to reflect an ongoing power struggle between the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) and Chambers.

In response the ILF conducted an on-line briefing, alongside other experts on international law to discuss the legal implications for the ICC, the Prosecutor and for Israel's case at the ICC on the situation in Palestine.

 

One of the outcomes of the webinar is an academic criticism of the decision and a call on the prosecutor to close the case written by the ILF's Jeremie Bracka. The academic crticism was published on the Opinio Juris website. Opinio Juris is one of the most important international legal forums’, read by all ICC experts, including the Court, and is sure to generate some backlash against the Court in defense of Israel's position.  

Read Bracka's article here

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Jewish winemakers at a winery in the West Bank settlemen photo credit: Gershon Elinson/FLASH90)

Battling Unlawful Irish Bill - Frances Black Bill

The Irish Parliament is progressing with the legislation of the Frances Black Bill - a bill that will criminalize the import, sale, and purchase of goods and services from territories beyond the Green Line. If passed into law, these trivial acts and fundamental freedoms, might be sanctioned with up to 5 years imprisonment.

 

Regardless of the discriminatory nature of the bill, and its inherent infringement of fundamental EU values and treaties, including free trade, it also holds the power to deprive millions of their Freedom of Religion.

We worked on assembling a group of lawyers from Europe and the US to formulate legal claims, including arguments from International, European and US laws (with emphasis on BDS laws). 

 

Together with Professor Eugene Kanterovitz, the ILF also launched a campaign, fully dedicated to proving the radical infringement in freedom of religion the bill hides, and to recruit influential Christian groups as opposition to the bill. 

Watch a short video we produced about the prospective bill

New York Times - Photo Credit: Ronen Zvulun/Reuters

Airbnb Revokes Decision to Boycott Settlement Properties

In November 2018, Airbnb announced a change in policy and delisted all properties listed in Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria. 

In response, the International Legal Forum, together with the Zionist Advocacy Center, collected the signatures of over 1,000 Airbnb subscribers who wished to complain about this change in Airbnb's terms of use.

Concurrently, we submitted a request to come before arbitration concerning the company's discriminatory policy change, which we claimed violates the New York law prohibiting discrimination based on religion, sex and national origin.

 

In addition to our own legal response the ILF supported different legal activists and organizations in coordinating their own responses and actions against Airbnb. 

As a result of these actions, negotiations were held between the parties. These negotiations ended when Airbnb announced its withdrawal from this discriminatory policy. On April 9, Airbnb officially retracted its decision and signed an agreement that explicitly reverses its initial discriminatory policy.

Ynet Article

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Photo credit: Jerusalem Municipality

Tackling East Jerusalem Schools with Terrorist Affiliations 

New research uncovered that terrorist groups, such as Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, are affiliated with a network of state funded schools in East Jerusalem, and that they are influencing the school curriculum and activities. 

 

Most recently, we learned that Hamas is directly connected to the Al-Iman school network, greatly influencing its curriculum, and its leaders are seated on the Al-Iman Board of Governors.

The Al-Iman network is funded by, and cooperates with, anti-Israel Turkish groups and the Al-Aksa Foundation. Its educational activities include the "Graduate Program" by the Muslim Brotherhood. Al-Iman sends graduates to a leadership program in Istanbul hosted by Dr. Tareq Mohammed Al-Suwaidan, a Kuwaiti sheikh and Muslim Brotherhood leader.

Additionally, an Al-Iman school principal is on the record publicly supporting terror and incitement on her personal Facebook account, promoting extremist positions.

This educational system indoctrinates impressionable young minds with terrorist ideologies, minimizing the chance they’ll work towards peaceful co-existence with their neighbors.

Disappointingly, this is all happening under the gaze of the Israeli Ministry of Education and law enforcement agencies; in violation of various Israeli laws including terror financing, membership and support of a terror organization, incitement and others.

We sent official complaints to the Attorney General, asking that a criminal investigation be immediately launched against those involved, as well as a petition to shut down the network that runs the schools, which is registered as an Israeli not-for-profit. Simultaneously, we sent a petition to the Ministry of Education, informing them of Hamas's involvement in the schools and urging their immediate involvement and enforcement of the Israeli law, as well as a request to urgently convene the Knesset's Educational Committee to address this troubling information, with all of the relevant authorities.

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Jan Breydel stadium in Bruges, Belgium. (Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

ILF Calls for Action as Belgium Football Fans Sing Antisemitic Chant

Footage published by La Derniere Heure shows dozens of Brugge fans celebrating their local team's victory over Brussels' Anderlecht that day by singing in Flemish: "My father was in the commandos, my mother was in the SS, together they burned Jews 'coz Jews burn the best."

The ILF has called on the Royal Belgian Football Association and the Belgium Ministry of Culture, Youth, Sports and Media to take immediate action, demanding that the team be immediately fined and the fans condemned.

Calls to burn Jews, especially those that pass without any counter-action or sanctions in 21st-century Europe, are particularly severe and disturbing.

The European Union, the State of Belgium and the Belgium Football Association have clear rules against hate, Antisemitism and violence such as this. 

We demand that the Belgians fully enforce the law and convey a legal, ethical and moral message to the fans and to the general public. Avoiding this, unfortunately, also sends a message," said ILF Director attorney Yifa Segal on Kol Chai.

 

The chant, whose use was first reported by the media in 2015, has proliferated in the Netherlands and Belgium in recent years.

Watch the footage from the game

Head of the Palestinian Football Association Jibril Rajoub (Photo credit: Issam Rimawi/Flash90)

ILF Files Complaint Against FIFA's President

Following the political struggle  waged by the President of the Palestinian Football Association (PLE), Jibril Rajoub, in an attempt to boycott Israeli teams, the ILF has filed a complaint to FIFA's ethics committee calling for the removal of Rajoub from his position, on the basis of racism, incitement to violence and the endangerment of Israeli team members. 

The complaint refers to Rajoub's statement that "any activity of normalization in sports with the Zionist enemy constitutes a crime against humanity", along with additional statements demonstrating the promotion of racism, hatred, violence and terror, as well as the prevention of any acts of co-operation or normalization between Israel and the Palestinians, including the prohibition of friendly matches between children.

 

Rajoub, who views terrorists as a source of national pride, has held a welcome event, as well as a tournament, in the name terrorists.  

According to the plaintiffs, Rajoub's statements and actions constitute a serious violation of FIFA's rules of ethics.

 

The complaint is being filed on the background of FIFA's annual congress in Bahrain, which was joined by the heads of the Israel Football Association. Prior to the congress, Rajoub had succeeded in introducing a clause that could be used to vote against the football matches of the six teams that play beyond the Green Line - an area considered by FIFA to be occupied Palestinian territory. The clause also raises the concern that it will be used a pretext for renewing the request to remove Israel from FIFA.

"Rajoub's obsessive struggle showcases his political motives, and the time has come to impose severe sanctions against Rajoub's blatant violations," said the ILF's Director Yifa Segal.

Watch news coverage of the ILF suit against Jibril (Hebrew)
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Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Dickelbers

Israeli Volunteer Policemen Sue Durham City Council over Discriminatory Policy 

A lawsuit prepared by the ILF, together with American attorneys David Abrams and Daniel Meier, was filed in North Carolina against the city of Durham, and its police chief.

 

The claim challenges the recent policing policy statement of the City Council on international police exchanges, which discriminates against Israeli police on the basis of national origin.

Durham's Mayor, Steve Schewl, released the statement, which was later endorsed by the council. Schewl referenced a memo from Durham Police Chief Cerelyn, "C.J." Davis, asking for a resolution against police training in Israel.  The action was part of the efforts of the BDS movement to delegitimize Israel and its citizens.

The lawsuit claims the statement violates a section of the North Carolina Constitution which states that no one shall be discriminated against because of national origin, race or religion, and states that "the city of Durham has two standards when it comes to international police exchanges: one for the Israelis and one for the rest of the world".

The plaintiffs are two Israeli volunteer police officers.

Iron Mike


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