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Thursday, November 15, 2012

NGO Statements on Gaza Again Reflect Political Bias, Lack of Expertise



PRESS RELEASE
November 15, 2012 
Contact:
Ariella Kimmel
NGO Monitor
+972-53-522-3966
ariella.kimmel@ngo-monitor.org


NGO Statements on Gaza Again Reflect Political Bias, Lack of Expertise

 European governments enable exploitation of human rights,
int'l law with their funding

JERUSALEM - The biased responses of human rights organizations to the recent events in Gaza stand in sharp contrast to their prolonged silence in the face of continuous terror attacks against Israelis civilians, said NGO Monitor, a Jerusalem-based research organization.

"When it comes to deadly attacks against Israelis, the silence of these NGOs is deafening, while their readiness to condemn Israel without any reliable fact-finding is indicative of a deep anti-Israel agenda," said Professor Gerald Steinberg, President of NGO Monitor.
"Within six hours of Jabari's death, and in the face of massive rocket attacks from Gaza, Amnesty International blamed Israel alone for putting 'civilians in Gaza and southern Israel at grave risk by re-igniting the armed conflict there,' and also claimed to have 'gathered evidence that suggests' that previous Israeli strikes 'were indiscriminate and, therefore, in violation of international humanitarian law.' Yet, Amnesty produced no such evidence, nor does it possess the expertise or knowledge to make these claims."

Similarly, NGO Monitor notes that an Oxfam International statement implied that Israel was not abiding by "obligations under international law," asserting an immoral equivalence between deliberate terrorist attacks launched from civilian areas and directly targeting civilians, with necessary Israeli self-defense. Oxfam called on Israel to halt military operations in Gaza, while offering no alternatives to protect Israel's population.

Many other members of the NGO network have displayed the same moral failure. For the past week, terrorists from Hamas-controlled Gaza intensified rocket attacks on southern Israeli towns and cities. However, human rights NGOs, including groups such as Gisha, funded by the New Israel Fund and European governments, frequently condemn Israel's Gaza policies, remained silent about these indiscriminate attacks on Israeli civilians, constituting massive violations of human rights and humanitarian law. For these political groups, Israelis do not have human rights.

"The immediate accusations regarding alleged violations of international law by Israel from Amnesty International, Oxfam and others, without any evidence whatsoever, are part of the 'Durban strategy' of demonizing and isolating Israel," continued Prof. Gerald Steinberg. "As in Jenin, Lebanon, and previous fighting in Gaza, political advocacy NGOs distort legitimate Israeli self-defense measures in order to advance false claims of 'war crimes' and 'violations of human rights.'"

The European Union, as well as member governments share responsibility through their funding of these biased NGOs. For example, the Alternative Information Center (AIC), funded via the EU, and the governments of Sweden and Spain, accused Israel of exploiting the violence in the south to justify the targeting of Jabari.

Added Steinberg: "By funding these NGOs, the European governments have become enablers of the NGOs' radical and one-sided agenda.  If European governments are truly interested in playing a role in the peace process, funding the Durban strategy that demonizes Israel, and cynically exploits human rights is not the way."

Within the past year, Palestinian groups fired over 800 rockets targeting civilian populations, leaving millions of Israelis living in fear, suspending their lives.

"Each one of these rockets constitutes a war crime," said Anne Herzberg, legal advisor for NGO Monitor. "In the lead up to yesterday's IDF operation in Gaza, NGOs were silent, and only after Israel responded to these indiscriminate attacks against civilians, do they find their voice."

Added Herzberg: "The statements coming from these NGOs exhibit severe bias and double standards and reflect a severe lack of expertise in international law. While focusing overwhelmingly on condemning Israel, they ignore or pay little attention to Israeli human rights and casualties. Under the façade of morality and universality, they exploit international legal terminology. We call on the NGOs to recall how the Goldstone report severely damaged the credibility of these organizations, when many of their claims contained in the report were found to be inaccurate and in some cases, complete fabrications."

Click here for a list and analysis of NGO statements
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NGO Monitor (www.ngo-monitor.org), based in Jerusalem, was founded to promote critical debate and accountability regarding the political activities of non-governmental organizations claiming a human rights agenda that are active in the Arab-Israel conflict. NGO Monitor's independent research reports and analysis are quoted frequently in the press, academic publications, by NGO officials and donors, and in governmental and parliamentary discussions.
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