NGO Monitor

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NGO Monitor (Non-governmental organization monitor) is a pro-Israel lobby group founded by Gerald M. Steinberg.[1] Steinberg previously noted in several of his articles published on the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs's website that the "NGO Monitor Project" is "a joint venture of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs, founded jointly with the Wechsler Family Foundation, and B'nai B'rith International,"[2][3] though B'nai B'rith is not mentioned in the "About" section of NGO Monitor now, while the Wechsler Family Foundation is still listed as a "founding donor."[4]

NGO Monitor is a project with the stated aim of monitoring non-governmental organisations operating in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. NGO Monitor describes its goal as "to end to [sic] the practice used by certain self-declared 'humanitarian NGOs' of exploiting the label 'universal human rights values' to promote politically and ideologically motivated anti-Israel agendas." [5] According to Israeli journalist Didi Remez, the organization works closely with the Institute for Zionist Strategies, led by Israel Harel, a founder of the far right Gush Emunim settler movement, and Ron Dermer, chief of policy planning in Benjamin Netanyahu's Office.[6]

Contents

Origins

As Yacoub Kahlen and Robert E. Foxsohn and others write:

NGO Monitor, founded by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, has for some time now been deliberately spreading false and misleading information about organisations in an attempt to discredit them. Their targets include some of the most established and respected human rights organisations. While their efforts to stifle a critical dialogue have proved unsuccessful, their efforts are relentless and it is important that they be exposed as part of an extremist, right wing institution. They should not be taken seriously by anyone interested in peace and human rights.
NGO Monitor, a web-based project of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, was founded jointly with B'nai B'rith, a long-time, vocal supporter of Israel in the US and the Wechsler Family Foundation.[2]
To an outsider, NGO Monitor appears to be a serious and neutral initiative. NGO Monitor states that it is "promoting critical debate and accountability of human rights NGOs in the Arab-Israeli conflict" [sic]. [7] However, on closer examination, it is very obvious that the "debate" NGO Monitor is referring to is one that offers a blanket rejection of any criticism of Israel and its violations of human rights. It begs the question of whether NGO Monitor has any idea of what a "debate" actually is.
In fact, NGO Monitor shows that the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, in line with most other vocal supporters of Israel, is keen on vilifying any and all critics of Israel and conveniently ignoring the human rights violations and war crimes of Israel and its security agencies. [8]

NGO Monitor is a programme of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, and is a joint project founded byB'nai B'rith International and the Wechsler Family Foundation.[9][2]

Activities

NGO Monitor has campaigned against several international human rights organisations, including Christian Aid for its alleged "extensive involvement in anti-Israel propaganda campaigns" [10] and Human Rights Watch whose reports it claims to be "systematically and exceedingly biased", [11] Amnesty International, [12] Oxfam [13] and Medecins Sans Frontieres. [14]

It has also criticised the Ford Foundation for funding NGOs, such as the Palestinian human rights organisation Al Mezan Center, allegedly involved in "blatantly political anti-Israel activities". [15] Subsequent to this criticism, the Ford Foundation modified its policies regarding funding of NGOs. [16]

NGO Monitor criticised the New Israel Fund for funding organisations that the NGO Monitor claims are engaged in a "campaign to delegitimize Israel." These claims where denied by the director of the New Israel Fund who described NGO Monitor's criticism as "un-democratic and un-Jewish" and "inherently and fundamentally flawed." [17]

Campaigns Against Human Rights NGOs

Amnesty International

In 2009 NGO monitored issued a "report" focused on illustrating Amnesty International's (AI) "bias" and "disproportionate" attention on Israel-Palestine. While conceding that AI devoted considerable attention to Iran's 2009 election crisis, NGO Monitor report argues that the "NGO superpower continued to disproportionally focus on Israel and ignore abuses in other Mideast countries."[18]

The 2010 appointment of Salil Shetty as Amnesty International's Secretary General prompted Steinberg to write a letter on behalf of his group NGO Monitor urging Shetty to reform Amnesty for what he considers "systemic bias, lack of credibility, and violation of universal principles in many of its activities."[19]

Other Campaigns

The Electronic Intifada

In November 2010 NGO Monitor launched a campaign against a Dutch foundation, ICCO, which is one of the funders of the pro-Palestinian online publication The Electronic Intifada. The campaign was lent public support by the rightwing Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal.[20]

Praise and Criticism of Activities

Praise

Describing it as a "friend of Israel", the Jewish Watch Dog site states that NGO Monitor was created "to promote accountability, and advance a vigorous discussion on the reports and activities of humanitarian NGOs in the framework of the Arab-Israeli conflict." [21] David Bedein of David Horowitz' magazine FrontPageMag.com describes it as a "watchdog organization". [22]

NGO Monitor's reports appear regularly on the "Around the World" section of the "Hotbeds of Prejudice" subpage of the Israeli Hasbara Committee website. [23]

Criticism

Critics dismiss NGO Monitor as politically motivated and biased. At Political Research Associates, Jean Hardisty and Elizabeth Furdon describe it as a "conservative NGO watchdog group, NGO Monitor, which focuses on perceived threats to Israeli interests", adding that "The ideological slant of NGO Monitor's work is unabashedly pro-Israeli. It does not claim to be a politically neutral examination of NGO activities and practices." [24] Ittijah, the Union of Arab Community Based Organisations in Israel, labels NGO Monitor as "an organ of the American pro-Israel lobby." [25]

According to Israeli human rights activist, Didi Remez:

NGO Monitor is not an objective watchdog: 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.[26]

People

Staff

Apart from interns, its staff (circa 2009) includes: [27]

Gerald Steinberg – Founder/President/ Dov Yarden – Chief Executive Officer Sarah Mandel – Associate Editor
Naftali Balanson – Managing Editor Anne Herzberg – Director of Research and Legal Advisor Dan Kosky – Communications Director
Yael Beck – Senior Researcher Merav Fima – Researcher Hillel Katchen – Researcher
Oliver Moore – Research Fellow Paul Gross – Communications and Public Relations Yitzhak Santis - Chief Programmes Officer
Source[31]

International advisory board

Elie Wiesel | Professor Alan Dershowitz | R. James Woolsey | Fiamma Nirenstein | Amb. Yehuda Avner | Tom Gross | Michael Gove MP | Douglas Murray | Judea Pearl | Ruth Wisse | Elliott Abrams[32]

Other NGOs Reviewed

Adalah Advocacy Project Al-Haq
Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights Alternatives American Near East Rescue Aid
Amnesty International Arab Association of Human Rights Ard el Atfal and Ard el Insan
Association for the Defence of the Rights of the Internally Displaced (ADRID) B'Tselem CARE
Caritas Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine Christian Aid (UK)
Christian Peacemaker Teams Defence for Children International / Palestine Section Direct Relief International
Doctors Without Borders Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network Ford Foundation
Galilee Society Grassroots International Habitat International Coalition
HaMoked - Center for the Defense of the Individual HDIP Hebron Restoration Committee
Human Rights Association Human Rights Watch IBDAA
International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development - Rights and Democracy (ICHRDD) I'lam International Commission of Jurists
International Federation of Human Rights International Solidarity Movement Israel Committee against House Demolitions
Ittijah Jerusalem Media and Communication Center Law
Machsom Watch Medecins du Monde Medical Aid for Palestinians (UK)
MENGOS Mennonite Central Committee Miftah
New Israel Fund Organization of Solidarity of the Peoples of Africa, Asia and Latin America (OSPAAAL) Oxfam Belgium
Palestine Children's Relief Fund Palestine Children's Welfare Fund Palestinian Center for Human Rights
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel Palestinian NGO Network PENGON
PYALARA Rabbis for Human Rights Save the Children Fund
Terre des Hommes War On Want (UK) World Organization Against Torture (OMCT)
World Vision International Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
UN Commission on Human Rights (Geneva) UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) USAID
YMCA / YWCA Zeina
From NGO monitor's website, but list is outdated

Affiliations

Contact, References and Resources

Contact

Website: www.ngo-monitor.org

Resources

  • 'Biography: Ambassador Dore Gold', JCPA website, accessed 2 April, 2009.
  • Mohammed Salah Al-Attar, 'The Israeli NGO's Monitor: Aims, purposes and mixture of claims, deformation of facts and illusions', web.archive.org/Al-Jazeerah, 9 January, 2004.

Notes

  1. Gerald M. Steinberg, "Letter to the editor of Jerusalem Post in response to Kenneth Roth´s editorial "Indiscriminate bombardment", NGO Monitor Website, 21 August 2006, accessed 1 September 2010.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Gerald M. Steinberg, "Monitoring the Political Role of NGOs", Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 1 June 2003, accessed on 13 December 2010
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 JCPA, "About", Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, accessed on 13 December 2010
  4. NGO Monitor, "Founding Donor", NGO Monitor, accessed on 13 December 2010
  5. 'Our Mission Statement', NGO Monitor website, accessed 2 April, 2009.
  6. Didi Remez, Bring on the transparency, Ha'aretz, 26 November 2009
  7. NGO Monitor website, accessed 2 April, 2009.
  8. Yacoub Kahlen and Robert E. Foxsohn, 'NGO Monitor should not be taken seriously', The Electronic Intifada, 18 October 2005
  9. 'Follow up on ISM and the death of Rachel Corrie', IMRA website/Excerpt from NGO Monitor, 10 April , 2003, 14 April, 2003.
  10. 'Summary Report on Christian Aid: June 2004', NGO Monitor website, 15 June, 2004.
  11. 'Summary Report on Human Rights Watch', web.archive.org/NGO Monitor website, 14 April, 2004.
  12. Gerald Steinberg, 'Human Rights Groups Are Working Against Peace', NGO Monitor website/Canadian Jewish News, 13 January, 2005.
  13. Gerald Steinberg, 'Human Rights Groups Are Working Against Peace', NGO Monitor website/Canadian Jewish News, 13 January, 2005.
  14. Political Humanitarianism' and Medical NGOs', NGO Monitor website, 5 December, 2003.
  15. 'Ford Foundation Update - Ford Money Still Being Used for Anti-Israel Activities', NGO Monitor website, 15 May, 2004.
  16. Andrew L. Jaffee, '"Stunning Reversal:" Ford Foundation Agrees to Stop Funding Anti-Israeli and Anti-Semitic Groups', WMD website, 21 November, 2003.
  17. 'Exchange of letters on NIF transparency and accountability', NGO Monitor website, 20 August, 2003.
  18. NGO Monitor, ["Moral Collapse: Amnesty International in 2009" http://www.ngo-monitor.org/article/human_rights_upheaval_amnesty_international_in_], NGO Monitor Website, 26 May 2010
  19. Gerald M. Steinberg, "NGO Monitor letter to Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty Int'l", NGO Monitor Website, 26 August 2010
  20. Report, Why NGO Monitor is attacking The Electronic Intifada, The Electronic Intifada, 30 November 2010
  21. 'Friends of Israel', web.archive.org/JWD website, accessed 2 April, 2009.
  22. David Bedein, 'Slurring Israel', FrontPage, 22 March, 2004.
  23. 'Around the World', Israel Hasbara Committee website
  24. Jean Hardisty and Elizabeth Furdon, 'Policing Civil Society: NGO Watch', From The Public Eye, Spring 2004.
  25. 'About Ittijah', web.archive.org/Ittijah website, accessed 2 April, 2009.
  26. Did Remez, "Bring on the transparency", Haaretz, 26 November 2009
  27. 'Who are We?', web.archive.org/NGO Monitor website, accessed 2 April, 2009.
  28. 'Professor Gerald Steinberg', Bar Ilan University website
  29. 'BoD Man Bows Out', web.archive.org/Totally Jewish
  30. 'Contributing Experts: Aharon Etengoff', web.archive.org/ACPR website, accessed 2 April, 2009.
  31. 'NGO Monitor Staff circa 2008', NGO Monitor website, accessed: 27 October, 2008.
  32. NGO Monitor International Advisory Board Profiles, accessed 8 August 2010
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