By Stephen Lendman
NGO Monitor web site (ngo-monitor.org) says it "was founded to promote accountability, and advance a vigorous discussion on the reports and activities of NGOs claiming to promote moral agendas, such as humanitarian aid and human rights."
In fact, it’s a Jerusalem-based pro-Israeli front group, disseminating propaganda and hate, debasing legitimate human rights organizations, independent journalism, and other advocates for truth, equity and justice.
Its director, Gerald Steinberg, is a Bar Ilan University political science professor, a fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, a steering committee member of the Forum on Antisemitism at the Office of the (Israeli) Prime Minister, and various other organizations promoting a pro-Israeli agenda.
His report titled, "Trojan Horse: The Impact of European Government Funding for Israeli NGOs" was jointly prepared with the Institute for Zionist Strategies, headed by Israel Harel, co-founder of the fundamentalist Gush Emunim (Bloc of the Faithful), a militant pro-settlement group, wanting Palestinians dispossessed to provide more land for Jews.
In it, they targeted international NGOs "continu(ing) to exploit moral, legal and humanitarian principles in order to promote political warfare against Israel. Many of the claims in (their) reports are not supported by credible evidence, and reflect double standards. Through this systemic bias regarding Israel, (they’ve) lost respectability, and the European governments that fund such attacks share responsibility for this abuse."
No matter that respected human rights organizations, jurists, activists, independent journalists, and other critics universally condemn decades of Israeli crimes of war and against humanity, documenting them extensively in articles and detailed reports, calling for accountability.
In September, NOG Monitor (NGOM) published a report titled, "Experts or Ideologues: Systematic Analysis of Human Rights Watch, (HRW)" saying its Israeli/Palestinian conflict coverage: "shows a consistent pattern of ideological bias, lack of professional qualifications, and unsupported claims based on faulty evidence and analysis. These are then replicated by governments and international organizations, including the United Nations, that adopt these allegations."
HRW called the accusation "misleading," reflecting a "deep misunderstanding of its role." Indeed so given its very mixed record. Too often it’s failed to fulfill its mandate to "protect the human rights of people around the world….stand(ing) with victims and activists… upholding political freedom (and) bring(ing) offenders to justice."
Instead, it more often serves imperial interests, mostly America’s and why not given its funding from establishment organizations like the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations. Also billionaires like George Soros and Edgar Bronfman, Jr. But even occasional Israeli criticism is too much for NGOM. It tolerates none, attacking truth when it surfaces.
NGOM’s War on The Electronic Intifada (EI)
Like The Palestine Chronicle, Palestine Telegraph, and similar web sites, EI is an "independent publication committed to comprehensive public education on the question of Palestine, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the economic, political, legal, and human dimensions of Israel’s (decades long) occupation of Palestinian territories."
Sooner or later, that dedication is assaulted, recently against EI by NGOM, an attack dog for Israel. On November 30, EI responded in an article titled, "Why NGO Monitor is attacking The Electronic Intifada," saying:
"NGO Monitor has launched a campaign targeting a Dutch foundation’s (ICCO) financial support to (EI), accusing the publication among others things of ‘anti-Semitism.’ " Along with Holocaust denial and other spurious aspersions, it’s how Israel vilifies critics.
At issue is an attempt to cut off EI’s funding to silence it. "NGO Monitor has pressured the Dutch government, which subsidizes ICCO, to end its support for (EI). (Unsurprisingly), Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal has apparently lent public credence to NGO Monitor’s campaign…."
ICCO supplies about one-third of EI’s funding. Readers provide the rest besides small amounts from private foundations. Governments provide none.
Criticizing Israel is world journalism’s third rail. In EI’s case, like others, it’s "part of a well-financed, Israeli-government endorsed effort to silence (unfavorable) reporting…." Targeted writers are denounced as anti-Semites, Jewish ones called self-hating. Publications are attacked as "delegitimizers."
Supporting Palestinian sovereignty, the right of return, equity and justice, and campaigns like the global BDS movement (boycott, divestment and sanctions) are heretical for pro-Israeli ideologues.
NGOM is in "the forefront of a campaign to crush internal dissent by Jewish groups in Israel that want to see (its) human rights record improved." Like America, it’s appalling with no regard for international law or dozens of UN resolutions condemning or censuring its treatment of Palestinians, deploring it, or demanding, calling on, or urging it ends and the rule of law be enforced. Israel ignores them all, remaining unaccountable.
For its part, NGOM masquerades "as a project concerned with" NGO accountability when, in fact:
"It is a partisan operation that suppresses its perceived ideological adversaries through the sophisticated use of McCarthyite techniques – blacklisting, guilt by association and selective filtering of facts," according to human rights activist/journalist Didi Remez.
On November 6, in the Jerusalem Post, NGOM’s Gerald Steinberg and Jason Edelstein headlined, "Turning the tables on BDS," discussing the formation of the Israel Action Network as "a vital resource to combat (anti-Israeli) assaults." Allied with the Jewish Council of Public Affairs (JCPA) and Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), NGOM is part of a deep-pocketed smear campaign to "name and shame the groups that lead and fund demonization."
Key is cutting off their funding to silence them, EI saying it aims "to shut down independent media (like themselves), as well as human rights advocacy groups in Israel," Occupied Palestine, and globally.
In their article, Steinberg and Edelstein "specifically named (EI) and its co-founder and executive director Ali Abunimah, as well as Sabeel, the Palestinian Christian, ecumenical justice and peace movement, and its founder Reverend Naim Ateek, as targets of the campaign."
Early successes were cited in Canada and European countries, governments there cutting funding "for some of the more poisonous NGOs involved in BDS." In other words, those most effectively spreading truth, the kind NGOM declared war on, "abusing terms like ‘apartheid,’ ‘ethnic cleansing,’ " or calling for a "one-state solution, meaning the elimination of Israel."
Besides EI, many other organizations have also been attacked, including Amnesty International (AI), HRW, Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres, MSF), Adalah, Al-Haq, Mada al-Carmel (Arab Center for Applied Social Research), B’Tselem, Breaking the Silence, HaMoked, the Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), and the Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights.
Responding to NGOM, EI said it’s "built a global reputation since its founding, and states on its website that ‘our views on the conflict are based firmly on universal principles of international law and human rights conventions, and our reporting is built on a solid foundation of documented evidence and careful fact-checking."
The same is true for publications like Palestine Chronicle, Palestine Telegraph, and many other independent voices of truth against hate, lawlessness, and pro-Israeli front groups like NGOM, maliciously spreading propaganda to debase free expression, thought, and dissent, exposing Israeli crimes of war and against humanity.
EI says it’s "closely tied to Israel’s far-right, its government and military as well as leading anti-Palestinian and anti-Muslim activists in the United States."
Its International Advisory Board is a rogue’s gallery of warmongers, neocons, and racist Islamophobes, including Alan Dershowitz, Elliott Abrams, James Woolsey, and Elie Weisel, a shameless self-promoter, Holocaust exploiter, and apologist for the most outrageous Israeli crimes.
With greater public awareness producing growing support for Palestine, "Israel’s leaders and apologists (like NGOM) are becoming more desperate and unscrupulous than ever," clueless that no matter how great their flack, nothing will deter momentum for peace, equity and justice until inevitably it’s achieved, the power of truth in the vanguard promoting it.
– Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org and visit his blog at: sjlendman.blogspot.com.