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NGO Monitor Targets Truth for Israel


By Stephen Lendman - Posted on 03 December 2010

NGO Monitor Targets Truth for Israel - by Stephen Lendman

Its 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 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 and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

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I learned of this so-called NGO over the past couple of weeks and don't recall the title of the article, but the organization clearly is Zionist in the evil sense. The following article may be the one I'm referring to and it definitely is suitable, anyway.

"Publish It Not"
by Jonathan Cook, AMEU.org, Nov. 26, 2010

www.uruknet.info/?p=m72211

In the mid-1990s, I arrived in Jerusalem for the first time–then as a tourist–with the potent Western myth at the front of my consciousness: that of Israel as "a light unto the nations," the plucky underdog facing a menacing Arab world. A series of later professional shocks as a freelance journalist reporting on Israel would shatter those assumptions.

(snip)

Both Breaking the Silence and Goldstone were soon vilified by the Israeli media and government. Rightwing groups such as NGO Monitor and Im Tirtzu claimed — inaccurately — that much of the Goldstone report drew on information supplied by Israeli human rights NGOs, concluding that these groups had therefore been unmasked as "subversive." They also argued that it was illegitimate for Israeli human rights NGOs to receive their funding from overseas, and typically from the European Union. The clear implication was that, through their dependence on European funding, the political agendas of the Israeli NGOs had been infected with an anti-Semitic prejudice that many Israelis presume is rife in Europe. The foreign ministry, for example, called on the Dutch embassy to end its funding of Breaking the Silence.

A parallel campaign was also launched against the Zionist Jewish organization, the New Israel Fund, another major financial contributor to good causes in Israel, including to human rights groups. NIF’s chairwoman in Israel, Naomi Chazan, was quickly turned into a national hate-figure as extremist groups employed anti-Semitic imagery on billboards across the country, showing her with a horn sprouting from her forehead.

A demand rapidly grew for human rights NGOs to be strictly regulated, with tight restrictions on their foreign funding. ...

(snip)

I was sure to have read an article that provided more detailed information about NGO Monitor, the names of the editors, or founders, and possibly more information, but am not recalling the Web site or author. But if you search Uruknet.info and globalresearch.ca, f.e., then there'll be articles about or certainly mentioning "NGO Monitor".

"Boston University's Islamophobic Pro-Israeli Conference"
by Stephen Lendman, Oct. 13th, 2010

www.uruknet.info/?p=70736

(snip)

Not to be outdone, on October 10 and 11, BU hosted its own. Sponsored by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), a Boston-based pro-Israeli media lobby, it bogusly claims to be "non-partisan....regard(ing)....American or Israeli political issues, (taking no position) regard(ing)....ultimate solutions to the Arab-Israeli conflict."

In fact, by shamelessly supporting Israel, it monitors media reports globally for one purpose - to combat all "anti-Israeli bias." ...

(snip)

With global outrage growing, CAMERA says "Israel faces a convergence of global forces that may undermine its legitimacy in the eyes of the world community." So it sponsored a two day conference, featuring notorious pro-Israeli Islamophobes and other extremists, spreading hate-filled propaganda for the price of admission - $50 per day or a flat $25 for students, those helping out attending free, including lunches. What a deal to be indoctrinated free of charge.

CAMERA and twenty other organizations co-sponsored the event, including campus Hillels, Hadassah, local synagogues, the Israeli New England consulate, and Zionist Organization of America, the oldest and one of largest US pro-Israeli groups with over 30,000 members throughout the country - a coalition of pro-Israeli zealotry, intolerant of opposing views.

CAMERA's Speaker Lineup from Hell

Beginning early on Sunday, October 10, Maxine Wolf and Rabbi Joseph Polak delivered opening remarks. Wolf is a member of CAMERA's executive board, Polak a BU-based Hillel director.

Lead speaker was Alan Dershowitz, a notorious bigot, an earlier article calling him:

(snip)

Yigal Carmon was next, president and founder of the Middle East Research Institute (MEMRI), its board and advisors including a rogue's gallery of pro-Israeli zealots like Elliot Abrams, Ehud Barak, James Woolsey, John Bolton, John Ashcroft, Michael Mukasey, and Elie Wiesel, a man Norman Finklestein calls "vain, arrogant, gullible, naive about international affairs, (and defender of) the worst excesses of previous Israeli governments."

Daniel Pipes followed Yigal, a man Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) included in its October 2008 report titled, "Smearcasting: How Islamophobes spread fear, bigotry and misinformation."

Founder of the Middle East Forum, an extremist think tank promoting US Middle East interests, including "fighting radical Islam; working for Palestinian acceptance of Israel....combat(ing) lawful Islamism," and other hard right positions, he preaches hateful zealotry. ...

(snip)

Dershowitz, Yigal, and Pipes set the tone for like-minded participants to follow, including:

-- Andrea Levin, a CAMERA director;

-- Philippe Karsenty, Media-Ratings founder, doing the same type monitoring in France that CAMERA does globally;

-- Anne Bayefsky, a right-wing pro-Israeli zealot, senior fellow at the neocon Hudson Institute, associated with UN Watch devoted to attacking anti-Israeli criticism, and member of the Israel-based Ariel Center for Policy Research, a Likud Party-affiliated group supporting hardline writers in the Middle East, North America and Europe;

-- Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor, a notorious pro-Israeli group;

(snip)

Well, not only Stephen Lendman has written about NGO Monitor.

"Israel’s new ‘attack on freedom of speech’"
by Jonathan Cook, Feb. 22, 2010

www.uruknet.info/?p=63540

Or, www.jkcook.net/Articles3/0455.htm

NAZARETH // The Israeli government and its right-wing supporters have been waging a "McCarthyite" campaign against human-rights groups by blaming them for the barrage of international criticism that has followed Israel’s attack on Gaza a year ago, critics say.

In a sign of the growing backlash against the human-rights community, the cabinet backed a bill last week that, if passed, will jail senior officials from the country’s peace-related organisations should they fail to meet tough new registration conditions.

The measure is a response to claims by right-wing lobbyists that Israel’s human-rights advocates supplied much of the damaging evidence of war crimes cited by Judge Richard Goldstone in his UN-commissioned report into Israel’s Operation Cast Lead.

(snip)

In a related move, right-wing groups have launched a campaign of vilification against Naomi Chazan, the Israeli head of an American Jewish donor body called the New Israel Fund (NIF) that channels money to Israeli social justice groups. The NIF is accused of funding the Israeli organisations Mr Goldstone consulted for his report.

Billboard posters around Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and a newspaper advertising campaign, show a caricature of Ms Chazan with a horn growing from her forehead under the title "Naomi-Goldstone-Chazan".

"We are seeing the evaporation of the last freedoms of speech and organisation in Israel," said Amal Jamal, head of politics at Tel Aviv University and the director of Ilam, a media-rights organisation that would be targeted by the new legislation. The Israeli political system, he added, was being transformed into a "totalitarian democracy".

Leading the charge against human-rights groups – most of which are officially described as "non-governmental organisations" – has been a self-styled "watchdog group" known as NGO Monitor. Its activities have won support from the government following the international censure faced by Israel for its attack on Gaza.

(snip)

Searching globalresearch.ca and uruknet.info will turn up links to other articles that at least mention NGO Monitor, and Joanthan Cook has been living in Nazareth since the mid-1990s.

Wikipedia:

https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/NGO_Monitor#Reception_to_...

(snip)

Reception to NGO Monitor

The Economist and Jewish Telegraphic Agency identify NGO Monitor as a pro-Israel non-governmental organization.[41][42]

... The Forward writes NGO Monitor says it has increased Human Right Watch's reporting on Hamas, Hezbollah and the Palestinian authority while Human Rights Watch has rejected the statements and said it was dealing with counterterrorism in a post-9/11 world.[45]

(snip)

In an article for the Political Research Associates, which describes itself as "a progressive think tank devoted to supporting movements that are building a more just and inclusive democratic society",[48] Jean Hardisty and Elizabeth Furdon describe NGO Monitor as a "conservative NGO watchdog group,...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."[49]

In an opinion column he writes for the The Jerusalem Post, Larry Derfner asserted that "NGO Monitor doesn't have a word of criticism for Israel, nor a word of acknowledgment, even grudging, for any detail in any human rights report that shows Israel to be less than utterly blameless. In fact, on the subject of Israel's human rights record, NGO Monitor doesn't have a word of disagreement with the Prime Minister's Office," he wrote.[50]

(snip)

David Newman, a professor at Bar-Ilan University, wrote an op-ed in the Jerusalem Post criticizing NGOM for attacking the transparency of human rights organizations while ignoring the murky funding and support for extremist settler organizations:.[56]

NGO Monitor has been characterized as a "right-wing Israeli NGO" by Inter Press Service. Didi Remez, a spokesperson for the Peace Now group, said 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." [57]

John H. Richardson, writing in Esquire Magazine's online magazine described NGO Monitor as a "rabidly partisan organization that attacks just about anyone who dares to criticize Israel on any grounds." It notes that Steinberg is dedicate to fighting "the narrative war," and has made a "special project" of attacking Human Rights Watch.[58]

(snip)

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