Israeli Minister of Defense Benny Gantz’s declaration of prominent Palestinian civil society organizations, among them colleagues in the Palestinian human rights community, as terrorist organizations marks a grave and shameful attempt to delegitimize human rights work.

Documentation, advocacy, and legal work are the hallmarks of activism for the protection of human rights worldwide. If Israel wants to call itself a democracy, it would do well to end the occupation and refrain from brazen acts like this one of authoritarianism and cowardice. The work of civil society and human rights defenders must be protected.

We stand in solidarity with our Palestinian colleagues and call on members of the Israeli government and the international community to oppose Gantz’s decision.