Statement in support of Palestinian human rights and human rights organizations

30 October 2021

We academics at SOAS University of London unequivocally condemn and reject the designation by the Israeli Ministry of Defence of six prominent Palestinian civil society groups as terrorist organisations. Among those are internationally renowned human rights advocacy organisations like Al-Haq, with which SOAS academics have long collaborated in the struggle for justice for Palestinians.

The proscription and criminalisation of human rights advocacy and other lawful forms of oppositional civil society activity in the OPT are in the same degree profoundly odious and profoundly dangerous, in a context of the systematic denial of basic rights protection and the routine commission by public and private Israeli actors of regular abuses and violations.

The Israeli MoD’s action compounds the injustice of longstanding and intensifying Israeli discriminatory and repressive policies and practices directed against Palestinians, now widely acknowledged as a form of apartheid (including recently by Human Rights Watch and the Israeli human rights NGO B’Tselem), by unjustly targeting those who challenge and contest those policies and practices and expose and seek redress for recurrent human rights violations by both Israeli and Palestinian authorities.

As engaged scholars, we believe that the repression of advocates, activists, and rights-defenders is among the worst and most despicable manifestations of tyranny. We view it as an alarming escalation in the repression of Palestinian civil society and a severe restriction of the permissible scope for documenting human rights abuses, resisting the unjust policies of the Israeli occupation, and using the legal system to assert and defend the rights of Palestinians living in the occupied territories.

Moreover, we are deeply troubled about the broader repercussions of such a designation for those of us who research and publish on other repressive, marginalised, occupied, and/or colonialist contexts and who work closely and collaborate with lawful advocacy groups similarly at risk of proscription or criminalisation.

We demand that this onslaught against Palestinian human rights defenders and civil society organisations be countered effectively and condemned strongly We express our solidarity, support, and respect for these organizations and their brave and vital efforts.  They are the antithesis of terrorism, not its embodiment.


  • Dina Matar, Global Media and Communications & Chair of the Centre of Palestine Studies
  • Scott Newton, School of Law
  • Lynn Welchman, School of Law
  • Gilbert Achcar, Development Studies
  • Nimer Sultany, School of Law
  • Barbara Pizziconi, East Asian Languages and Cultures
  • Salwa Ismail, Department of Politics and International Relations
  • Marle Hammond, Languages and Cultures
  • Catriona Drew, School of Law
  • Tania Tribe, Development Studies
  • Lori Allen, Department of Anthropology
  • Vanja Hamzić, School of Law
  • Lindiwe Dovey, School of Arts
  • Jastinder Kaur, Department of Anthropology
  • Samia Bano, School of Law
  • Somnath Batabyal, Global Media and Communication
  • Emma Crewe, Department of Anthropology
  • Meera Sabaratnam, Politics and International Relations
  • Michael Charney, Politics and International Relations
  • Allison Scott-Bauman, School of History, Religions and Philosophy
  • Althea-Maria Rivas, Development Studies
  • Alessandra Mezzadri, Development Studies
  • Elisa van Waeyenberge, Department of Economics
  • Yair Wallach, Languages and Cultures
  • Pallavi Roy, Politics and International Relations
  • Vno Kanapathipalli, Politics and International Relations
  • Wayne Dooling, School of History, Religions and Philosophy
  • Carole Mostert, Languages and Cultures
  • David Lunn, Languages and Cultures
  • Sayed Ali Alavi, Languages and Cultures
  • Estrella Sandra Fernandez, School of Arts
  • Jens Lerche, Development Studies
  • Hassan ould Moctar, Development Studies
  • Subir Sinha, Development Studies
  • Maria la Faice, Foundation College
  • Sophie Chamas, Centre for Gender Studies
  • Manjeet Ramgotra, Department of Politics and International Relations
  • Rachel Harris, Department of Music
  • Pablo Novak, Development Studies
  • Lyma Gamberton, Anthropology
  • Timon Screech, International Research Centre for Japanese Studies
  • Owen Miller, Languages and Cultures
  • Hagar Kotef, Politics and International Relations
  • Mehdi Beyad, Politics and International Relations
  • Sutharan Nadanajah, Politics and International Relations
  • Hadi Enayat, Languages and Cultures
  • Hannah Bargawi, Economics
  • Mashood Baderin, School of Law
  • Nancy Hawker, Languages and Cultures
  • David Wearing, Politics and International Relations
  • Christopher Cramer, Development Studies
  • Rachel Harrison, Languages and Cultures
  • Lutz Oette, School of Law
  • Lisa Tilley, Development Studies
  • Hengameh Ziai, School of History, Religions and Philosophy
  • Annabel de Frece, Development Studies
  • Kerem Nisancioglu, Politics and International Relations
  • Carlos Oya, Development Studies
  • Yonit Manor-Percival, School of Law
  • Bethany Elce, Centre for Gender Studies
  • Sian Hawthorne, School of History, Religions and Philosophy
  • Reem abou-El-Fadl, Politics and International Relations
  • Louise Tythacott, School of Arts
  • Lucia Kula, School of Law
  • Sarah Stewart, School of History, Religions and Philosophy
  • Mayur Suresh, School of Law
  • Debbie King, Foundation College
  • Senija Causevic, Finance and Management
  • Feyzi Ismail, Development Studies
  • Satona Suzuki, East Asian Languages and Cultures
  • Alice Finden, Centre for Gender Studies
  • Ayman Shihadeh, School of History, Religions and Philosophies
  • Gareth Bentley, Foundation College
  • Sara Stevano, Department of Economics
  • Neil Robbie, Foundation College
  • Sarah El-Kazaz, Politics and International Relations
  • Lori Allen, Anthropology

For further information, contact: