NGO Monitor questions IDRC settlement with Mada al-Carmel: Organizing and participating in political activities that do not promote peace
Mada Al-Carmel Academic Committee
Chair: Dr. Nadim Rouhana, Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, Tufts University
Dr. Samera Esmeir, Rhetoric Department, University of California at Berkeley
Prof. Mohammed Haj-Yahia, School of Social Work, Hebrew University
Dr. Amal Jamal, Department of Political Science, Tel Aviv University
Dr. Michael Karayanni Faculty of Law, Hebrew University
Dr. Ahmed Sa'adi, Department of Politics and Government, Ben Gurion University
Dr. Nedera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, Institute of Criminology and School of Social Work, Hebrew University
Dr. Mahmoud Yazbak, Department of Middle Eastern History, University of Haifa
Questions on Settlement of Mada al-Carmel's Legal Action against Canada’s IDRC
Statement Regarding Cessation of Funding due to anti-Israel Activity Lacks Important Details
Ottawa, Canada, September 20, 2010 – The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and Mada al-Carmel – Arab Center for Applied Social Research (Mada al-Carmel) would like to announce that they have reached a mutually agreed settlement of all legal disputes between them. Both organizations are satisfied with the resolution.
In 2008 and 2009, IDRC agreed to fund two research projects by Mada al-Carmel that looked into forms of Arab political participation in Israel and the economic rights of Palestinian women in Israel. On March 3, 2010, IDRC informed Mada al-Carmel that the contracts would be terminated as a result of a review of programming strategy.
IDRC recognizes that Mada al-Carmel is a professional and well-respected academic organization that produces high-quality research in the social science field. IDRC has emphasized that the contracts were terminated for internal reasons and the decision had nothing to do with the quality of Mada al-Carmel’s work on the research projects or for any other reason related to Mada’s academic, organizational, or financial performance on these or other grants. IDRC would welcome the opportunity to work with Mada al-Carmel again on future projects that fall within its mandate.
Mada al-Carmel recognizes and respects the important contributions that IDRC has made to the research and examination of practical solutions for the social and economic problems facing developing regions, including areas in the Middle East. IDRC has a long history of promoting development in the Middle East and Mada al-Carmel looks forward to working with IDRC in future.
IDRC and Mada al-Carmel will make no further statements regarding the nature of this settlement.
To achieve self-reliance, poor communities need answers to questions like: How can we grow more and healthier food? Protect our health? Create jobs? IDRC supports research in developing countries to answer these questions. IDRC also encourages sharing this knowledge with policymakers, other researchers, and communities around the world. The result is innovative, lasting local solutions that aim to bring choice and change to those who need it most.
JERUSALEM – The Canadian government’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) on September 20 announced that it had “reached a mutually agreed settlement of all legal disputes” with Mada al-Carmel – a highly controversial political advocacy group. After granting nearly $1 million from 2006 – 2009 to Mada al-Carmel (nearly 40 percent of the NGO’s funding), the IDRC ended support in April 2010. In response, the organization initiated legal action against the IRDC, which has now been settled out of court.
“Mada al-Carmel may claim to do ‘social research,’ but the evidence clearly shows that its main emphasis is on organizing and participating in political activities that do not promote a peace agreement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; nor do they create an environment conducive to mutual understanding,” says Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor, a research organization providing detailed analysis of groups such as Mada al-Carmel.
According to Steinberg, “It is difficult to understand how the IRDC provided political advocacy groups such as Mada with taxpayer funds in the first place. If there is a valid reason for government support for such NGOs, this should be made apparent through full disclosure and transparency of decision making. Unfortunately, the IRDC press statement on the legal settlement fails to shed any light on this process, and declares that ‘IDRC and Mada al-Carmel will make no further statements regarding the nature of this settlement.’ We urge the IRDC and other government agencies to provide full disclosure on this important public policy issue.”
Mada al-Carmel’s activities include:
- The “Haifa Declaration” (2007), co-authored by Mada al-Carmel, which calls for a “change in the definition of the State of Israel from a Jewish state” and accuses Israel of “exploiting” the Holocaust “at the expense of the Palestinian people.”
- A 2009 conference under the banner of “Our Humanity and Sexuality in the Shadow of the Wall,” and accompanying poster distributed by Mada al-Carmel that contributes to incitement by falsely depicting Israeli soldiers sexually harassing Palestinians.
- A 2009 conference sponsored by Mada al-Carmel, at which an official of this NGO declared that “a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict that relies on partition cannot be a just one. The partition resolution was based on the appropriation of part of Palestine, exceptionally granting it to the Zionist movement.”
- A 2010 Mada al-Carmel-organized conference with statements by Hussein Abu Hussein, Chair of the Board of the Ittijah NGO network (of which Mada al Carmel is a member) that “Israel is a racist state, and a racist state cannot guarantee or create a culture of justice. It creates a racist and aggressive culture.”