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May 23, 2015 / 5 Sivan, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘NGO Monitor’

NGO Monitor: Negative Testimony from ‘Breaking the Silence’ Meets Quota for Grant Makers

Monday, May 4th, 2015

IDF veterans who provided negative testimony for the leftist NGO “Breaking the Silence” may not realize they are also participating in an effort by the group to fulfill a funding quota for bad stuff against Israel.

According to a report by the NGO Monitor, a number of grant-making agencies who provide funding to leftist organizations in Israel have made their patronage contingent upon the groups’ abilities to obtain a minimum number of negative “testimonies.”

“This contradicts Breaking the Silence” declarations and thus turns it into an organization that represents its foreign donors’ interest, severely damaging the NGO’s reliability and its ability to analyze complicated combat situations,” said the report.

One example is the foreign leftist Oxfam group, which signed an agreement with Breaking the Silence, according to the NGO Monitor watchdog organization.

According to that agreement, the Monitor reported, BTS was to conduct interviews with “as many” soldiers as possible who would testify regarding [Israeli] “immoral actions] that violate human rights.

The entire report can be read by clicking here.

‘Devastated’ by Slain Jew, yet Denmark Huge Funder of Anti-Israel Activity

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

The prime minister of Denmark laid flowers on Sunday, Feb. 15, at the site where the day before a Jewish man was shot in the head and killed while volunteering as a security guard outside of a synagogue in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Was the murder of Dan Uzan, the son of an Israeli father, an act in which the Danish government was indirectly complicit?

When Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt laid the wreath outside of the synagogue, she offered her condolences to the slain man’s family and to the whole Jewish community. She said she and her entire country were devastated by Uzan’s murder, and by all that happened in Copenhagen on Feb. 14.

“A man has lost his life in a service of that synagogue and we are devastated,” Thorning-Schmidt said, speaking to Jewish Danes.

“Our thoughts go to the whole of the Jewish community today. They belong in Denmark, they are a lasting part of our community. And we will do everything we can to protect the Jewish community,” the Prime Minister concluded, before turning towards the makeshift shrine to Uzan, and then briefly embracing two members of the Jewish community.

On Sunday evening, Thorning-Schmidt spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. She provided him with the details of the weekend’s terrorist attacks. During the conversation, Netanyahu told his Danish counterpart that Israel and Denmark must together fight the current terrorism, one that knows no borders.

Netanyahu also told Thoring-Schmidt that “countries which do not fight terrorism today will deal with much worse terrorism tomorrow.”

But other than when a Jew is killed – in a spectacular way – on its soil, does Denmark show support for its Jewish community or the Jewish people? Or does its action actually contribute to the demonization of the Jewish State and of Jews?

This past September, Denmark’s Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard threatened Israel. He said that if the then ongoing ‘peace’ negotiations between Israel and the PA did not resolve according to his lights, punitive action would have to be considered.

Lidegaard warned that if Israel failed to commit to serious concessions, such as ending the blockade of Gaza or stopping “illegal settlements,” then Denmark and the European Union would need to consider taking punitive steps. The threats he mentioned included changing trade relations with the Jewish state, Herb Keinon of the Jerusalem Post reported at the time.

But it isn’t only Lidegaard and it isn’t only recently that Denmark has put the screws to Israel.

Denmark has been financially supporting anti-Israel organizations to the tune of many millions of dollars a year, for many years running.

According to the exhaustive data collection and analysis provided by organizational watchdog NGO-Monitor, in recent years the Danes have contributed tens of million of dollars for Israeli and Palestinian Arab organizations. Many of those organizations engage in economic and legal warfare against Israel known as the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaigns. The BDS movement, along with demonizing Israel, also engages in acts of blatant, hostile anti-Semitism.

Lidegaard’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs directly funds anti-Israel organizations. In 2011 alone, the Danes contributed over $1.1 million directly to Israeli organizations which actively demonize and seek to harm the Jewish State.

Gerald Steinberg, the president of NGO-Monitor, told The Jewish Press, the “Danish government is among the leaders in funding for anti-Israel NGO demonization in Europe, irresponsibly providing large sums via a number of mechanisms.”

Steinberg explained that the Danes support the so-called Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat, which is managed by Birzeit University. That entity in turn funds groups such as Adalah, Breaking the Silence, and Al Haq. These and a number of other recipient NGOs promote false “war crimes” allegations and blood libels against the Jewish state. Another recipient of Danish largesse – Badil – uses the money to perpetuate the Palestinian refugee demands and anti-Semitic themes.

AP Disses ‘Whistleblower’ But a New Whistle Blows

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

It began with a “tell-something” tale by a former reporter. But as with so many small tempests, the shrill response of the alleged victim has fanned the winds to tornado strength.

A former AP reporter, Matti Friedman, publicly detailed allegations of biased coverage of the Israel-Arab conflict and claimed that Gerald Steinberg, a non anti-Israel expert, was banned by the AP. Friedman was immediately and with great force contradicted by Paul Colford, AP’s director of media relations.

Colford claimed Friedman’s articles were filled with “distortions, half-truths and inaccuracies.” And he wrote, point blank, there was “no ban on AP’s use of Prof. Gerald Steinberg.”

So, it’s “he said – he said,” right? But as it turns out, we have a tie-breaker. A second former AP reporter explicitly confirmed to The Jewish Press that, despite Colford’s denial, there was indeed a ban in place in AP’s Jerusalem bureau on quoting Steinberg, and that he could state this with confidence. How? Because that ban was explained to him by the AP’s then Jerusalem bureau chief.

BACKGROUND

The original stories were written by a former Associated Press reporter, Matti Friedman. The first was in the online Tablet magazine, followed by another in The Atlantic.

Friedman provided substantial detail on what close followers of Middle East reporting already understand: the mainstream media has bought the Palestinian Arab story line about the Arab-Israeli conflict: the Palestinian Arabs are the Davids, the Israelis are the Goliath.

While this story is often hard to square with the facts, that only matters when the truth matters. And as Professor Richard Landes eloquently puts it: “you pay a high price for telling the truth about the Palestinian Arabs and no price for telling lies about Israel.”

Friedman’s pieces in the Tablet and The Atlantic offered numerous examples of what he described as AP staff looking the other way when Arabs violated laws of war or when Israel made peace offerings, including submitting to intimidation by Hamas.

In our last pass at this story, readers will recall that The Jewish Press zeroed in on a startling new fact Friedman had in his Atlantic article: that the AP had “banned” interviews with Bar Ilan Professor Gerald Steinberg and the use of materials by the non-governmental organization watchdog which Steinberg founded and heads, NGO-Monitor.

Friedman made this claim on the basis of his experience as a new reporter in AP’s Jerusalem bureau during Operation Cast Lead (December 2008 to January 2009) between Israel and Hamas-controlled Gaza.

In particular, Friedman was struck by the pedestal upon which self-proclaimed human rights organizations were placed by AP, and their claims, particularly condemnations of Israel, accepted without reservation. It was in this context that Friedman learned about the ban on Steinberg.

Friedman stated, without any qualifications, that in a region “with its myriad lunatics, bigots, and killers, the only person I ever saw subjected to an interview ban was this professor.”

The Jewish Press story was published in the early hours of Monday, Dec. 1, Israel time.

Paul Colford, the AP’s media relations director, began contacting The Jewish Press during the early hours of the business day on Monday, U.S. time. The subject line was: “Email address needed by AP.”

Colford informed the New York-based Jewish Press print editor that there were “inaccuracies” in our story and sought contact information for the reporter who wrote it.

It took some time for the New York editor to convey the request to the Jerusalem editor of the JewishPress.com, and then a little longer for the reporter to get the message. In the interim, the New York editor explained to Colford the relationship between the print and online versions of The Jewish Press (the online version is autonomous, although each has permission to run the other’s stories), and asked to know what inaccuracies were in the story.

NGO Monitor Responds to AP Ban on NGO Monitor and Professor Steinberg

Monday, December 1st, 2014

The following statement was released by NGO Monitor in response to the report by Matti Friedman that AP censored and banned NGO Monitor:

In a November 30 article published in The Atlantic (What the Media Gets Wrong About Israel), former AP journalist Matti Friedman states that, during his time at the AP Jerusalem bureau, reporters had explicit orders “to never quote [NGO Monitor] or its director… Gerald Steinberg. In my time as an AP writer moving through the local conflict, with its myriad lunatics, bigots, and killers, the only person I ever saw subjected to an interview ban was this professor.”

“Matti Friedman’s revelations regarding the efforts to censor NGO Monitor and me as its president are not entirely surprising,” said Professor Gerald Steinberg, president and founder of NGO Monitor. “Based on our experience in publishing detailed research on over 150 NGOs claiming to promote human rights and humanitarian objectives, we are aware of the intense efforts to maintain the NGO ‘halo effect’ and prevent critical debate. While the AP censorship was explicit, we have experienced similar silencing from other media platforms.”

Friedman also highlights the “ethical gray zone of ties between reporters and NGOs” in Israel, where journalists socializing in the same circles as NGO officials, seek employment with NGOs, and adapt to a journalistic culture in which NGOs “are to be quoted, not covered.”

This absence of critical analysis of political NGOs reinforces their biases and the lack of professional methodology. Friedman rightly criticizes, “one of the strangest aspects of coverage…namely, that while international organizations are among the most powerful actors in the Israel story, they are almost never reported on.”

Professor Steinberg continued: “When NGO Monitor was founded following the 2001 NGO Forum of the UN Durban conference, our primary objective was to open debate and provide accountability where none existed, develop systematic checks and balances, and ‘speak truth to NGO power.’ The importance of this mission has grown since then, as has the political influence of NGOs, as well as their funding and media impact, particularly in the Israeli context.”

AP Banned Interviews with Non-Anti-Israel Professor

Monday, December 1st, 2014

In a wide-ranging piece that covers mostly old ground in a new way and for a new audience, former Associated Press journalist Matti Friedman reveals one astonishing fact: the AP banned interviews of a well-informed, Jerusalem-based professor, Gerald Steinberg, and his monitoring organization, NGO-Monitor.

Professor Gerald Steinberg and his organization NGO-Monitor – work to expose the ideological bias and political agendas of the anti-Israel NGOs in Israel and the role they play in the conflict – the same anti-Israel NGOs that international reporters rely on for their news reporting.

From the NGO-Monitor website:

NGO Monitor’s objective is to end the practice used by certain self-declared ‘humanitarian NGOs’ of exploiting the label ‘universal human rights values’ to promote politically and ideologically motivated agendas.

Steinberg and NGO-Monitor are the only ones in a region crawling with confirmed liars and terrorists whose views were verboten to the AP, Friedman wrote.

The gist of Friedman’s new piece in The Atlantic is that news about Israel is largely written through a specific, largely unstated but nearly inviolable prism of “blame Israel” and ignore Arab wrongdoing.

The Arab Israeli reporter Khaled abu Toameh has been writing and speaking about the problem for at least a decade. It was also the subject of Stephanie Gutmann’s The Other War: Israelis, Palestinians and the Struggle for Media Supremacy (Encounter, 2005).

But Friedman’s Nov. 30 article is important both because it was written by someone from within the mainstream media – it doesn’t get much more mainstream than the Associated Press – and because of the startling revelation regarding the absolute ban on AP reporting including information from or about either Gerald Steinberg or the organization he heads, NGO-Monitor.

Friedman covered the 2008-09 winter conflict in Gaza dubbed “Operation Cast Lead.”  He was struck by the fact that articles condemning Israeli in the harshest terms continued to circulate months after the conflict, and based upon statements made by human rights organizations. He wrote an article about that point, but AP editors killed it.

At the time, NGO-Monitor was seeking to counter information provided by what it presented as false claims that Israel had committed “war crimes.” Friedman was unable to make use of NGO-Monitor’s information. Why? He writes:

the bureau’s explicit orders to reporters were to never quote the group or its director, an American-born professor named Gerald Steinberg. In my time as an AP writer moving through the local conflict, with its myriad lunatics, bigots, and killers, the only person I ever saw subjected to an interview ban was this professor.

Steinberg is a professor of political science at Israel’s Bar Ilan University. Educated at Cornell University, UCBerkeley and MIT, Steinberg is the founder and president of NGO-Monitor. He is the author of numerous books and dozens of other publications.

The AP is the feeder for much of the world’s media about so much that happens across the globe. This is so because AP has a phalanx of reporters in 280 locations worldwide. It operates as the news distributor of the articles written by their reporters. Those articles are then run by media sites – up to 1,400 U.S. daily newspapers – which don’t have their own reporters in those regions.

If, as Friedman charges based upon first hand observation, AP story lines are predetermined and “news” articles are created around its central, agreed-upon premise, then virtually all news about every flash point across the globe becomes suspect. It also means that the AP, at least in its Jerusalem bureau, violated its own “AP News Values and Principles.”

The AP needs to answer the specific charge of whether its Jerusalem bureau staff was barred from speaking with NGO-Monitor’s Steinberg. If such a ban was in place and unless the AP can produce a reasonable explanation, then all media outlets which continue to rely on AP services come under its same dark cloud of suspicion.

Israeli AG: Anti-Israel NGO Can Utilize National Service Volunteers

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

B’tselem, funded largely by leftist European organizations and governments and the far left New Israel Fund, was created in 1989 by Israeli leftist academics, journalist and politicians from Meretz and Labor. It’s stated goal is to “to change Israeli policy in the Occupied Territories and ensure that its government, which rules the Occupied Territories, protects the human rights of residents there and complies with its obligations under international law.”

In other words, in deed and in intent, B’tselem seeks to shame the Israeli government and public into ignoring the self-defense of the Jewish State.

According to the well-respected NGO-Monitor’s entry on B’tselem, the NGO “has faced serious criticism for its misrepresentations of international law, inaccurate research and skewed statistics,” and that it “accuses Israel of apartheid, perpetrating war crimes, beating and abusing Palestinians, demolition of Palestinian Arab houses as punishment and forced deportations.”

Sar-Shalom Jerbi, the director of Israel’s National Civilian Service Administration, informed B’tselem in mid-August that it could no longer avail itself of free labor in the form of Israelis who choose national service instead of enlisting in the Israel Defense Force. The reason he gave was the refusal by B’tselem to designate Hamas a terrorist organization and its activities denigrating the Israel Defense Force, especially during Operation Protective Edge.

One of the activities B’tselem engaged in during the summer of 2014 followed the kidnapping of the three teenage Israeli boys, Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel. The far leftist NGO initiated a slick media campaign dubbed “Hitching a Ride,” which ridiculed Israel’s efforts to find the three boys who were abducted from a hitchhiking post near Allon Shvut, south of Jerusalem.

B’tselem’s campaign accused Israel of “cynically exploiting the deep concern for the abducted teens,” and using it to “implement sweeping actions which intensify harm to the human rights of Palestinians.”

Jerbi informed B’tselem that the NGO is a party to the international smear campaign against the IDF, which includes “gross incitement” against what he called the “most ethical military in the world,” and stripped the NGO of its certification as an “operating organization” for the NCSA.

According to the NCSA director, B’tselem’s incitement gives fodder and encouragement to Israel’s enemies throughout the world and also contributes to the rising tide of anti-Semitic attack against Jews.

That decision was appealed by B’tselem and on Tuesday, Sept. 30, Israel’s Deputy Attorney General Dina Zilber rescinded Jerbi’s decision and reinstated B’tselem in the national service registry, according to Haaretz.

Zilber stated that Jerbi had failed to sufficiently prove that B’tselem “rejects Israel’s existence as a Jewish and democratic state, incites to violence, terror or racism, or supports terrorism or armed struggle against Israel.” Those are the only grounds for delisting an organization of the right to receive national service volunteers.

The assistant attorney general also expressed concern that Jerbi’s action could open the door to politicization of the National Civilian Service Administration, which could then “use its authority to deny recognition only to certain groups, thereby imposing an economic and public price tag on them, only because of statements that are controversial on one side of the political spectrum.”

The director of the NCSA said he would honor Zilber’s decision. Concurrent with following this directive, Jerbi said he plans to explore other ways “to prevent the absurd situation in which the State of Israel,” via its provision of national service volunteers, “continues financing an organization that accused Israel Defense Forces soldiers and the State of Israel of committing war crimes during Operation Protective Edge and libeled it around the world.”

The Faux Investigations Of Human Rights Watch

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

On July 21, Ken Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch (HRW), sarcastically tweeted, “People accept @HRW reporting as fair & accurate around globe but when it comes to poor, helpless, defenseless #Israel we’re suddenly biased.”

Now, the first half of Roth’s statement is specious. HRW is roundly and widely criticized across the globe for its politicized approach and false reporting.

But the more important question relates to the second part of Roth’s antagonistic and unprofessional Twitter rant: Why is Roth so worried about HRW’s work on Israel?

One place to start is the pattern of false accusations and invented or totally distorted legal language, which NGO Monitor and others have identified in HRW’s reports on Israel’s actions in Gaza (2012 and 2008-9), Lebanon (2006), and Jenin (2002).

As opposed to rigor and expertise, HRW “investigations” reflect anti-Israel bias, lack of research methodology, and flat-out fabrications.

For instance, during Israel’s November 2012 response to Gaza rocket attacks, an 11 month-old-baby was tragically killed. Citing “news reports and witnesses,” HRW immediately blamed Israel for the child’s death. HRW’s “investigation” was revealed to be faulty when a detailed UN analysis confirmed that, in fact, the death was caused by “a Palestinian rocket that fell short of Israel.” By the time the truth came out, though, HRW’s damage was already done.

More egregious were HRW’s reports during the 2006 Lebanon War, with numerous false claims attributed to “eyewitnesses” from territory fully controlled by Hizbullah. After an attack in Qana, HRW claimed a number of casualties that were nearly double the on-site figure provided by the Red Cross. Similarly, in the town of Srifa, HRW claimed no less than 42 civilians died in an Israeli attack. After more than a year of promoting this false accusation, HRW finally admitted that 22 people died – and of these, 17 were armed combatants.

Going back a decade, HRW was instrumental in initiating and perpetuating the Jenin massacre myth in the immediate aftermath of Israel’s Operation Defensive Shield (2002). HRW published an “investigative report” titled “Jenin: IDF Military Operations,” based primarily on unverifiable “eyewitness testimony” from Palestinians.

The report consisted of false charges that “IDF military attacks were indiscriminate… failing to make a distinction between combatants and civilians… and vastly disproportionate.” That Palestinians had located a terror center in the middle of a densely populated neighborhood – a clear violation of moral and legal standards – was ignored.

In each instance, HRW’s “reports” lack professional standards and research methodologies, and show a deep-seated ideological bias against Israel. HRW possesses neither the military expertise to conduct proper investigations that would lead to their conclusions. The faux-research is then repeated without question in the international media. And every time the allegations are repeated, new rounds of anti-Israel headlines and condemnations are triggered.

The same has already occurred during the current fighting.

On July 16, HRW presented the findings of its “investigation” into four Israeli air strikes in Gaza. In a statement, HRW alleges that Israel “either did not attack a legitimate military target or attacked despite the likelihood of civilian casualties being disproportionate to the military gain.” According to HRW, “such attacks committed deliberately or recklessly constitute war crimes.”

However, when reading the statement it becomes clear that the “investigations” consist of conversations with people in Hamas-controlled Gaza who may or may not have witnessed the event, as well as recycled media accounts. HRW attempts to create a façade of expertise, writing that it “could not determine the weapons used in [one] attack,” as if its assessments would be in any way meaningful.

Furthermore, establishing whether or not the IDF targeted legitimate military objectives and used proportional force would require knowledge of intelligence possessed by Israeli commanders at the time of the strikes, and information about the officer’s intent. Since HRW cannot and does not possess this information, its “evidence” consists solely of ignorance and Israel’s refusal to explain its operational decisions. Since HRW “found no evidence that any of the victims was a member of an armed group or that there was a military objective in the area,” then it must be so.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-faux-investigations-of-human-rights-watch/2014/07/31/

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