Jerusalem-based watchdog, NGO Monitor released a report this week analyzing NGO coverage of the recent Gaza conflict. The report titled ‘The NGO Front in the Gaza War’ documents over 500 statements by over 50 NGOs in the month covering the fighting and its immediate aftermath.
"These statements are characterized by overwhelming condemnation of Israel, devoting minimal attention to Israeli human rights and casualties. This trend is set to continue, both through the continued NGO pressure to prosecute Israeli leaders for ‘war crimes’ in foreign courts and the upcoming 'Durban II' conference," the watchdog said.
NGO Monitor’s report described the "consistent manipulation of international law by NGOs in their statements on Gaza," adding "false accusations of Israel’s ‘illegal’ ‘collective punishment’ and ‘disproportionate response’ have been refuted by legal experts, yet were consistently employed by numerous groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
"Oxfam even called for political action, declaring ‘The international community must not stand aside and allow Israeli leaders to commit massive and disproportionate violence against Gazan civilians in violation of international law’," the NGO Monitor report stated.
'Consistent attempt to demonize Israel'
According to the watchdog, "these same groups were markedly hesitant to condemn the widespread
"Human rights NGOs maintain a long-standing overwhelmingly hostile attitude towards Israel. This includes vilification of Israel over the Second Lebanon War, the Jenin ‘massacre’ and Gaza itself. In 2008 alone, NGOs issued over 300 statements in condemnation of Israel’s policy regarding Hamas-controlled Gaza. This contrasts with a handful of statements condemning the thousands of rockets fired on Israel from Gaza since the Disengagement in 2005," according to the report.
The watchdog estimated that "this trend is set to continue through the persistent attempts by NGOs to bring ‘war crimes’ charges against Israeli military and political leaders in international law courts.
"NGOs including Adalah, Amnesty International and Ittijah have already called for charges to be brought over Gaza. The NGO Gaza campaign against Israel will also likely be maintained in preparations for the UN Durban Review Conference, scheduled for April 2009," NGO Monitor said.
According to the watchdog, "at a recent preparatory meeting, Badil, a Palestinian NGO, reportedly utilized the ‘atrocities taking place in Gaza’ in an attempt to include the Palestinians in the ‘list of victims of racial discrimination’ to be discussed at the conference."
NGO Monitor’s Executive Director, Prof Gerald Steinberg commented, “The NGO campaign in the Gaza conflict further erodes what remains of the moral foundation and the universality of the human rights movement. The consistent attempt to demonize Israel in the media and in the courts while turning a blind eye to the illegal activities of Hamas demonstrates that many human rights groups have lost their moral compass.”