Hebron, Palestine — On Friday, August 27th, around 30 Palestinians and their allies held a protest in al Mufagarah in the South Hebron Hills to end settler violence and land theft as part of their Campaign to Defund Racism. The Israeli military (IOF) arrested Haj Suleiman al-Hathaleen of Um al Khair and detained several media members. 

The Campaign to Defund Racism is a Palestinian-led movement to stop the systematic exploitation of US-based charities and their financing of apartheid and Palestinian displacement. The racist nature of these settler organizations can be seen and experienced across the South Hebron Hills and the Old City of Hebron. In the Old City of Hebron, Palestinians live in distinct ethnic enclaves continually surveilled by the Israeli state and military, while Jewish settlers roam freely under the protection of the IOF. The remaining Palestinian communities and families suffer from daily settler and IOF harassment. As Palestinians navigate a matrix of physical violence, they must fight lawsuits filed by settler organizations intended to cleanse them from the land and take over their properties. 

The protest was coordinated with the Boycott Duty Free Americas Campaign to raise awareness and stop the flow of money that the owners – the Falic Family – donate each year to the Israeli settler movement. Their institutions donate millions each year to settler organizations, including Elad, Ateret Cohanim, and Hebron right-wing organization – “Fund for the Saving of the People of Israel” (Hakeren l’Hatsalat Am Israel) directly or through the Segal Foundation located in Hebron. The Falic family chaired the Friends of the IDF and are supporters of former Israeli Prime Benjamin Netanyahu. 

“What we see in the South Hebron Hills, especially across Masafer Yatta, is that we will continue to fight and stay on our lands. We will protest in meaningful ways, ways which call on our supporters to dismantle the Israeli settler structure,” said Sami Huraini of the activist group Youth of Sumud, based in Atwuani South Hebron Hills. “This is why we are calling on Palestinian solidarity groups to engage in this campaign. The colonization of our lands starts and ends with the settlers.”

The Campaign to Defund Racism aims to halt the flow of US charitable money to violent and racist settler organizations. The campaign targets five organizations responsible for Palestinians’ ongoing displacement and Nakba in Jerusalem, Hebron, Jordan valley, and the Naqab. The list includes American Friends of Ateret Cohanim, American Friends of Ir David, Israel Independence Fund, Central Fund of Israel, and Hebron Fund. The Campaign to Defund Racism was launched at the beginning of August by a coalition of Palestinian NGOs, village councils, and grassroots activists. 

Among the activists from the coalition from the village of Atuwani, Hamoudi, said of the campaign, “We’ve been building this united movement to call for defunding these organizations because we will not be silenced.”

“What we are witnessing with this Campaign to Defund Racism is just the natural continuation of events from this summer and Palestinian unity that rose to defend al-Aqsa, Sheikh Jarrah, and Silwan. They understand the key role that Israeli settler organizations play in financing their oppression, and they want it to end. But more importantly, Palestinian society understands when they project their power through a voice of unity,” said Cody O’Rourke of the Good Shepherd Collective, one of the small grassroots organizations in the coalition. “They realize that this campaign is already totally different from previous campaigns that have been filed with the IRS. Palestinians understand that New York Attorney General Letitia James has the power to revoke the charitable status of these organizations like the Central Fund of Israel. They realize that a public affairs campaign that mobilizes her constituents can encourage her to make the moral decision.”

To learn more about the Campaign to Defund Racism, visit the website at defundracism.org.

The South Florida Coalition for Palestine is coordinating the Boycott Duty Free Americas campaign. The coalition consists of Al-Awda South Florida, Students for Justice in Palestine South Florida, Jewish Voice for Peace South Florida, Dream Defenders, CAIR Florida, and South Florida Muslim Federation.

To find out how you can further supporter their efforts, they can be reached at sflcoalition4palestine@gmail.com


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