Alternative Information Center
The Alternative Information Center (AIC) is a joint Palestinian-Israeli non-governmental organization (NGO) which "engages in dissemination of information, political advocacy, grassroots activism and critical analysis of the Palestinian and Israeli societies as well as the Palestinian-Israeli conflict". It was established in February 1984 by Israeli activists from the Revolutionary Communist League (previously Matzpen-Jerusalem) and Palestinian leftwing activists from the West Bank.
The AIC aims to promote responsible cooperation between Palestinians and Israelis based on the values of social and political justice, equality, solidarity, community involvement and respect for the national rights of the Palestinian people. The AIC sees itself as a bridge through which Palestinians and Israelis can not only meet and communicate, but also work together and promote their common goals.
The AIC's main activities include numerous publications, whose intention is to offer an analysis from a critical point of view of events and occurrences in both Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, as well as supporting and providing resources to movements and campaigns associated with its goals.
Diakonia, using money from the Swedish government (1.5 million Swedish kronor in 2007-9); ICCO (more than 500,000NIS in 2008); Christian Aid, with money from the Irish government (329,000 NIS in 2006); NGO PTM – Mundubat (Spain), (1 million NIS in 2006); and Sodepau (support from the Catalan government 200,000 NIS in 2006).
Although officially founded in 1984, the AIC had already begun a year before in the form of discussions and as a partnership between Palestinian and Israeli activists. When established, it was one of Israel's very first Non Governmental Organizations and one of the first organizations to define itself as an explicitly joint Palestinian and Israeli organization, a very radical idea at the time (and, perhaps, still today). From its very beginning, the AIC was active in the Israeli and Palestinian peace movements and was very much involved in campaigns such as the (successful) one to stop the torture of the prisoner Palestinian Adnan Anans. In 1985, roughly a year after its founding, the AIC was even involved in secret negotiations between the Israeli government, the organization of Ahmad Jibril (PFLP-GC) and the Red Cross concerning the exchange of captives between Jibril's organization and Israel.
On February 17, 1987 the Israeli police and General Security Service (GSS) raided the AIC, alleging cooperation with a terrorist organization ("The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine" headed by Dr. George Habash). The Israeli government forced the temporary closing of the AIC, and its director, Michel Warschawski, was arrested and charged with supporting a terror organization and providing services to, and the holding of material for, illegal organizations. However, the licence to publish its journal News From Within, was not rescinded, and during the First Intifada, in the enforced absence of its director, the AIC continued regular monthly publication. At this time, the AIC also began the publication of a fortnightly newssheet, The Other Front, focussing on Israeli peace and anti-occupation activity. The Other Front was published on a weekly basis for at least the four years between February 1990 and February 1994, inclusive.
The subsequent landmark trial of Warschawski ended with his acquittal on 30 out of the 31 clauses stated in the indictment. However, he was found guilty of the last clause: "Turning a blind eye" on the printing of an "Instruction Manual" – a pamphlet which contained testimonies on GSS interrogations, the torture used during them and advice on how to overcome them. Warschawski was sentenced to eight months in prison with twelve months of a suspended sentence, while the AIC itself was heavily fined.
In January 1999, three principal activists from the AIC, Elias Jeraysi, Inbal Perlson and Yohanan Lorwin, were killed in a flash flood in the Judean desert.
The AIC is active within the Israeli and Palestinian peace camps. It has supported and become involved in campaigns and movements, and the global movement against neoliberal globalization.
It was announced in November 2012, that the AIC will be closing its west Jerusalem offices due to lack of funding.
Views on Israel and Israeli leaders
- "It is politically unacceptable, and morally disgusting. Shimon Peres is definitely an enemy of the Palestinian people, of human rights and of peace..." - (Nassar Ibrahim, The Case against Palestinian Normalization with Israel, AIC, September 4, 2007)
- “One has to unequivocally reject the very idea (and existence) of a Jewish state, whatever will be its borders. For a Jewish state (in the demographic sense of the concept) necessarily implies the drive for exclusion and expulsion. Any ethnic (or confessional) state considers the non-dominant ethnicity as a threat, and aspires to its disappearance through more or less violent means. - (Michel Warschawski, The Haifa Conference for the Right of Return, June 2008)
- "Ehud Barak, Tzipi Livni, Gabi Ashkenazi and Ehud Olmert--don’t you dare show your faces at any memorial ceremony for the heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto, Lublin, Vilna or Kishinev… You are not representing any continuity with the Warsaw Ghetto, because today the Warsaw Ghetto is right in front of you, targeted by your own tanks and artillery, and its name is Gaza..." - (Michel Warschawski, Absolutely Not in Their Name, Not in Ours, AIC, January 18, 2009)
- AIC tweeted about the Israelis killed by one of the rockets during Operation Pillar of Cloud, and used the hashtag "support Gaza".
Arabic, English and Hebrew:
- Rou’ya Ukhra ("Another Vision")
- Mitsad Sheni ("The Other Front")
Arabic, English and Hebrew:
- Walls and Bridges (2005)
- Palestine and the Other Israel – Alternative Directory of Progressive Groups and Institutions in Israel and the Occupies Territories (1993)
- Globalisation and the Palestinian Struggle (2002)
- Ethnic Cleansing in the Negev (2003)
- Occupation in Hebron (2004)
- From Communal Strife to Global Struggle: Justice for the Palestinian People (2004)
- Cleansing and Apartheid in Jerusalem – An Alternative Guide to Jerusalem (2004)
- Globalisation and International Advocacy by Palestinian and Progressive Israeli Organisations: Initial Survey and Networking (2004)
- The Alternative Information Center: 20 Years of Joint Struggle (2005)
- A Wall on the Green Line? Israel's Wall Project Under Scrutiny (2006)
- 1985 – The Renewal of the Torture Policy (1986)
- The Deportation – What Really Happened in 1948? A Palestinian Answer to the Zionist Historians and New Historians (1991)
- The Right of Family Reunification – The Abolishment of the Right of Residency of Partners of non-Jewish Israeli Citizens (1992)
- The Crawling Transfer – An Inquiry On the Residency Problems of the Palestinian Residents of East Jerusalem (1994)
- Creative Resistance – The Experience of the Protest Movement in Israel(1994)
- The Arab world, the Palestinians and the Israeli Occupation – A Retrospective Discussion (1994)
- Two Years after Oslo – The Peace Camp in Israel (1994)
- The Settlements 1967-1995 and How To Fight Them (1995)
- We Came To This Land – Discrimination of Palestinian Citizens in the Real Estate Policy in the State of Israel (1997)
- The Golan Heights – The Syrian Highland (1998)
- The Oriental Revolution (1999)
- The Political Activity in the Golan Heights in Relation to the Negotiations Between Syria and Israel (1999)
- The Palestinian Residency in the Mixed Cities – Demography, Education, Employment and Crime (1999)
- The Deportation of the Palestinian Residents of the South Hebron Mountain Area (2001)
Publications supported by the AIC
- Letters to a Lemon Tree (1997)
- Encounters of Memory (2000)
- Forbidden Reminiscences – A Collection of Essays (2001)
- Mission Statement
- 2008 Financial Report filed with the Israeli Non-profit Registrar
- I worked as principal Hebrew-to-English translator for both News from Within and The Other Front during that period.Maxine Kaufman-Lacusta (formerly Maxine Kaufman Nunn)
- France Leading the Path Toward the Recognition of Human Rights
- The Palestinian Return and Right of Return?No Deal!
- AIC tweet