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August 23, 2014 / 27 Av, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘NGO Monitor’

New Israel Fund Tries to Explain its Way Around BDS Ban

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

New Israel Fund (NIF) executive vice president Rabbi David Rosenn took disingenuousness to new heights during a talk held Wednesday evening, June 18, at the Jewish Center of Princeton, when he told the audience he refrained from using the term “occupied” territory to avoid “the hot button.”

In fact, Rosenn admitted that areas beyond the ‘green (1949 Armistice) line’—or Judea and Samaria, more accurate Biblical references he refused to use—are not considered Israel proper by him or NIF and therefore the NIF does not sponsor organizations which operate or are headquartered there. Yet NIF continues to be one of the largest funders of B’Tselem—the Israeli Information Center of the Human Rights in the Occupied Territories.

Either Rosenn missed B’Tselem’s actual name (it includes ‘in the Occupied Territories’) or he simply omitted the distinction between Jewish organizations in the territories – which they don’t fund – and non- or even anti-Jewish organizations, which they do fund.

B’Tselem is also the organization responsible for giving Arab Palestinians video cameras to record IDF responses (but only the IDF responses) to disrespectful and sometimes violent instigation. The number of recorded alleged IDF ‘violations’ dropped dramatically once the IDF armed soldiers with cameras to capture entire (rather than partial) incidents.

Despite a polite, restrained albeit particularly well informed line of questioning—this is Princeton, after all—Rosenn resorted to semantics, suggesting a distinction exists between organizations supporting the international Boycott, Divest and Sanction Israel (BDS) movement—a clear violation of NIF’s stated policy—and organizations located in Israel calling for the boycott of “Settlement” products.

Really? After fielding several questions to clarify the NIF position, Rosenn, who had earlier claimed that the NIF needed to be “vigilant” in deciding which organizations to fund, attempted to dismiss concerns saying “if [NIF] focused on BDS, we wouldn’t be able to realize our mission.”

Perhaps it would surprise Rabbi Rosenn to know that NIF-grantee Adalah provides legal representation for several Arab organizations that promote BDS in Europe as well as in Israel. Perhaps not.

The NIF is also a “proud sponsor” of Breaking the Silence (BtS), an organization of former IDF soldiers apparently so damaged by the effects of war that they were unable to go through chain-of-command to report abuses and IDF policy violations, but found themselves more than capable of confiding in the UN commission that produced the fraudulent and now-debunked Goldstone Report.

Even HaAretz, Israel’s widely read left leaning daily, discredited the group in 2009 citing the BtS agenda as “purely political.”  How a political agenda, particularly one based on fictional events, “supports issues that are in the public good”—the primary definition of an NGO—is anyone’s guess.

There’s no doubt that some NIF grantees are doing respectable, perhaps even good work.  The problem is NIF is funded from outside of Israel and some of the sources are sketchy at best.  This concern precipitated new legislation in Israel that has forced the NIF to be more diligent in adhering to its own guidelines.  Even so, the relationship between NIF and the historically anti-Semitic Ford Foundation drew the attention of investigative reporter Edwin Black who follows NIF money in “Financing the Flames.”

How NIF funding decisions are made remained elusive, with Rosenn saying only that a professional grant department was responsible.

The biggest surprise of the night came when Rosenn asserted that all criticism of the NIF emanated from reports in NGO Monitor, a respected watchdog group that was instrumental in bringing the NIF funding to the Israeli public, and from JCC Watch founder Richard Allen. Allen’s gripe, according to Rosenn, with NYC Federation’s John Ruskay is what led to his attacks on the NIF.

Why are Feminists Not Standing Up for Israel?

Sunday, March 30th, 2014

T.S. Eliot was wrong. March, not April, is the cruelest month. Certainly it is at New York University.  In the early days of the month a conference took place there on “Circuits of Influence: United State, Israel, and Palestine.”  The conference was organized by Lisa Duggan, Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis, whose academic fields at NYU are listed as lesbian and gay studies, and the history of gender and sexuality.

Professor Duggan is a gender scholar rather than a political scientist renowned for expertise in Middle East history and politics. She is presently president-elect of the American Studies Association (ASA) that on December 4, 2013 disgraced itself and the academic world by its ignorance, its bias, and its bigotry in calling for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. The resolution of the ASA, by 66 per cent of voters, endorsed the Palestinian call for a boycott because of alleged denial of Palestinian basic rights by Israel. The resolution said nothing about the denial of women’s basic rights by Palestinians and other Arabs.

Professor Duggan’s invitation to the conference was ironic. It was sent only to selected recipients, and said, “Please do not post or circulate the flyer (about the conference). We are trying to avoid press, protestors, and publication.” It was ironic because the conference avoided confrontation by inviting only those who were not known for their pro-Israeli views.

The NYU meeting was not exactly secret, but it was a closed-door conference. To no great surprise, it coincided with the celebration of Israel Apartheid Week. It may perhaps have been described as a meeting discussing the Protocols of the Learned Leaders of the boycotters or the New York friends of the ASA.
It is not clear, though one can guess the reasons, why leaders of an association created to deal with American studies, and especially if they are most interested in women’s issues, make declarations on Middle Eastern affairs or why they are primarily or solely concerned with the State of Israel. One would have thought that Professor Duggan and other members of the ASA might be more properly concerned with the problems that women encounter in Arab Middle East societies, including that of Palestinian.

The nature of those problems is detailed in reports of NGO Monitor and various think tanks. Women in all the Middle East countries, except Israel, have few rights, and do not enjoy equality with men. The gender gap in those countries is among the highest in the world. Women are discriminated against in almost all relationships and activities, in marriage, divorce, child custody, and inheritance. They are restricted in movement, expression, and work opportunities. Women suffer from being forced into child marriage, female genital mutilation, and “honor” crimes, which may be punished by death.

Professor Duggan and her ASA colleagues must know that there has been no significant improvement in women’s lives in spite of the “Arab spring.” In most Arab countries women are marginalized; in Islamic societies they are repressed. She should know that the lack of freedom for women in all Middle East countries, except Israel, is a major problem in the world today. Have she and her colleagues in the ASA, reported on this? Are they so concerned with their ideological attack on Israel that they have no time or thought for the political and social freedom of women? Even though they are supposedly interested in American studies, why do the members of ASA not state clearly and unequivocally that women in the Arab world including the Palestinians should enjoy the same rights and opportunities as women in Israel?

Let’s deliver a clear message from the 1993 UN Vienna Declaration to Duggan and the ignorant and biased boycotters of Israel.  The Declaration called for the full and equal participation of women in political, civil, economic, social and cultural life, at all levels, and eradication of all forms of discrimination on grounds of sex.

It may well be, as the UN Arab Human Development report of 2005 said, that it is beyond the power and resources of women’s movements to affect the condition of women in the Middle East. But perhaps Duggan, with the support of other women in the ASA, might have organized a conference on the subject. She might have addressed the problem of why the 2011 departure of dictators in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, and Libya has not led to fundamental reforms for women.

The UN Arab Human Development Reports (AHDR), written by Arab scholars about conditions in the 22 member states of the Arab League, have recognized the major problem: the oppression of women. Women suffer from inequality with men and are vulnerable to discrimination in law and in practice.  The prevailing masculine culture and values view women as dependents of men.  Those AHDR reports clearly state the need for change: Arab societies must provide for the complete empowerment of Arab women. Specifically, they should deal with illiteracy (more than half of Arab women are illiterate), the low rate of education of women, maternal mortality, and the low participation of women in politics.

The statistics in the Global Gender Gap Index, compiled by the World Economic Forum, which measures gender-based disparities, confirms the AHDR conclusions. Of the 136 countries analyzed in terms of the access of women to education, political participation, economic opportunity, and health, the Arab countries come last. Political empowerment of women in Saudi Arabia and Qatar is listed as zero.

Gender-based discrimination exists in personal status laws which require permission of a male relative for marriage, favor husbands in divorce cases, give fathers the rights in child guardianship, restrict freedom of movement, make it difficult for women to get a passport, and deprive women of their proper inheritance. In the law courts the testimony of women is regarded as of less value than that of men in a number of countries. Dress codes for women are enforced by the religious police force.

Beyond all this legal and social inequality there is the matter of domestic violence against women. Rape is usually not seen as a criminal offense. Honor killings exist in many of the Arab societies, including that of the Palestinian Authority. It is legal for women to be beheaded, burnt alive, stoned, and tortured for “immoral” behavior such as adultery or having sexual relations with a non-Muslim man. They are also forbidden to marry non-Muslims. On the other hand, polygamy is legal in a number of Arab countries.

Given her scholarship on the history of sexuality, Professor Duggan must surely be familiar with the sad condition of women in all Middle East countries except Israel, where women have full social and political rights. Can we expect her as the leader of ASA, to organize a conference on that sad condition and to call for equality and justice for women in the Arab countries?  If not, she may be judged guilty of indifference to the problems of women.
Originally published at The American Thinker.

Dead Gaza BDS Advocate Sought Israeli Medical Care

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

Eyad El Sarraj, a prominent psychiatrist in the Gaza Strip, died on Wednesday, Dec. 18. El Sarraj was 70 years old. He died of complications from Leukemia.

Throughout his professional life, Sarraj was a fierce proponent of resistance to the “Israeli Occupation” and vigorously promoted boycotts of Israel. But when his health failed, Sarraj sought medical care in Israel. He died at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, where he had been receiving treatment for more than a month.

In 1990, Sarraj founded the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme, which is headquartered in the Rimal district of Gaza. El Sarraj was the medical director of GCMHP until his death.

“He is considered the father of mental health and the pioneer of mental health in Palestine. Our commitment to Dr. Sarraj is to continue his message and his struggle for respect of human rights,”  said Husam El-Nounou, the administrative chief at GCMHP.

Arab media and others hailed Sarraj as a human rights defender and a promoter of peace between Israel and “Palestine.”

Actually, Sarraj was a major promoter, supporter, advocate and cheerleader for the form of economic warfare against Israel known as the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

He and members of his staff were promoters of vindictive bald-faced lies about Israel.

According to the highly-respected oversight group NGO Monitor, Sarraj and his GCMHP

used unsubstantiated medical claims as an avenue to criticize the Israeli government, including allegations that the Jewish state engages in “systematic state organized violence,” “collective punishment” “massacres,” “war crimes,” and a system of “apartheid” against the Palestinian people.

El Sarraj’s Mental Health Center hosted numerous anti-Israel tracts on its website. The site itself is a bizarre conglomeration that NGO Monitor calls a “politicized medical NGO.”

In one such tract, “War Crimes and Tragedy: The Occupation of Palestine,” the author claims: “We can no longer remain silent nor turn our backs and pretend ignorance to a gruesome occupation of stolen land, the cruelest collective punishment in the open-air sewer prison where Palestinians once lived in peace. The situation has deteriorated as we observe Jewish settlers who spew their hate with such revulsion and racism on Palestinian families, it makes my stomach turn.”

One of Sarraj’s GCMHP doctors provided expert testimony to the infamous Goldstone panel in 2009. Dr. Ahmed Abu-Tawahini  offered what he called “professional insight” into the reason why Israeli soldiers “shoot children in front of their parents.” The doctor claimed such an action – as if it ever happened – can only be explained by “the psychological instability” and desire of the Israeli soldier to “restore his lost image.”

El Sarraj was on the board of advisers of the “Free Gaza Movement.” Those are the people across the globe who organize flotillas to try and break the legal Israeli blockade of Gaza.

Following the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident in which a boat of internationals attempted to pierce the blockade and during which Israeli soldiers were attacked with lead pipes and other weapons, Sarraj signed a public statement which demonized the Israeli soldiers and lionized the thugs aboard the boat.

We insist on severance of diplomatic ties with Israel, trials for war crimes and the International protection of the civilians of Gaza. We call on you to join the growing international boycott, divestment and sanction campaign of a country proving again to be so violent and yet so unchallenged.

And yet, just three years later, when Sarraj was dying from leukemia, he violated the principles he had espoused so strongly when he was strong and healthy.  He went to seek the best medical care he could find.  He went to Israel.

Harriet Sherwood Won’t Reveal Shawan Jabarin Terror Ties

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

As anyone familiar with the rigorous research and detailed reports by NGO Monitor would already know, many self-declared ‘humanitarian NGOs’ in Israel and the Palestinian territories are able to exploit the label ‘universal human rights values’ to promote radical (and decidedly illiberal) agendas.  This edifice is at least partially maintained by pro-Palestinian journalists who often cite reports by such NGOs without informing readers about their extremist ideologies.

Naturally, Harriet Sherwood’s Oct. 4 story titled ‘ICC urged to investigate ‘commission of crimes’ in Palestinian territories, provides readers with no information on the background of Al-Haq, the Palestinian NGO which forms basis of her Guardian report.

The story centers on “two Palestinian human rights groups [which] are calling on the international criminal court to launch an investigation into the commission of crimes under international law in the occupied territories.”

Sherwood explains further:

Al-Haq and the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights [PCHR] have presented a legal opinion to the ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, at The Hague, arguing that the court can take action without Palestine formally signing up to the body. The two rights groups are calling for the court to begin an investigation based on “the mass of evidence and documentation attesting to the widespread commission of crimes in Palestine, and the environment of total impunity for the perpetrators”.

To learn more about the story we contacted Anne Herzberg, NGO Monitor’s legal advisor, who told us, via email, that previous ICC prosecutors have already rejected similar arguments presented by Al-Haq (an NGO whose funders have included the Ford FoundationChristian Aid, and the governments of HollandSpainIreland, and Norway), and that it was unclear what they are hoping to accomplish.

Regarding Al-Haq, which has a history of characterizing terrorist activities as legitimate “resistance”, Herzberg offered the following comment:

Al Haq should be careful what they wish for. ICC jurisdiction over the situation in the West Bank would apply to Palestinians as well as Israelis. Given that Al Haq’s director Shawan Jabarin has been allegedalleged by the Israeli Supreme Court to be a senior activist in the PFLP [Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine] terrorist organization, he himself could be a potential target for investigation by the court.

PFLP is a Marxist-Leninist Palestinian terrorist group which rejects Israel’s right to exist within any borders, and was responsible for a number of hijackings and deadly terror attacks, including the assassination of Israel’s tourism minister in 2001.  PFLP is officially listed as a terrorist group by the United States and European Union - a designation which evidently inspired the following graphic at PFLP’s English site, which happens to mirror Al-Haq’s narrative of “resistance”:

terroristdes12

At the very least, it seems reasonable to expect reporters – at least those who take their duty as professional journalists seriously – to inform their readers when a putative “human rights” organization they are covering defends political violence, and is led by suspected terrorist.

Visit CIFWatch.

Spanish Government Funds Anti-Israel NGOS

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

The Spanish government is funding anti-Israel organizations, some of whom support the BDS Movement.

NGO Monitor, an organization which reports on the activities of anti-Israel non-governmental organizations, has reported that the Spanish government between 2009 and 2011 funded various political anti-Israel NGOs that have promoted BDS, demonization, lawfare, and other forms of political attacks against the State of Israel. “The process through which the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) chooses projects is severely deficient,” Prof. Steinberg of NGO Monitor explained in Arutz Sheva. He also noted the lack of transparency in accounting for how these groups utilize Spanish money.

THE ANTI-ISRAEL ORGANIZATIONS SPAIN IS SUPPORTING

The Spanish government donated €176,637 (2011), €849,715 (2010) and €98,347 (2009-2010) to the Applied Research Institute Jerusalem for “planning for the geopolitical future of Jerusalem.” One Applied Research Institute Jerusalem publication called Jerusalem’s mayor a racist in 2008, while the organization’s activities include monitoring Jewish communities within Judea and Samaria and supporting BDS.

Breaking the Silence, an anti-Israel NGO devoted to monitoring Israeli soldiers, received €173,188 (2011), €180,763 (2010) and €24,790 (2009) from the Spanish government. According to Amos Harel of Haaretz, “Breaking the Silence…has a clear political agenda, and can no longer be classed as a ‘human rights organization.’ Any organization whose website includes the claim by members to expose the ‘corruption which permeates the military system’ is not a neutral observer.”

The Popular Struggle Coordination Committee received €107,700 (2011) from the Spanish government. According to its mission statement, PSCC promotes a “unique form of community based organizing and resistance in the tradition of the first Palestinian Intifada…. These diverse, non-partisan committees lead community resistance to Israeli occupation in various forms, such as marches, strikes, demonstrations, direct actions and legal campaigns, as well as supporting boycott, divestment and sanctions.”

The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center describes that First Intifada like activities entails: “ massive use of violence employing cold weapons, usually but not always involving the frequent use of Molotov cocktails and stones. In addition, there are sporadic attacks involving knives and vehicular attacks on Israelis.”

The Spanish government donated €181,508 (2009–2010) to the Israeli Committee against House Demolitions, an organization that argues that Israel is an apartheid state despite the existence of prominent South Africans who demonstrate that Israel is not an apartheid state. The group’s director, Jeff Harper, gave a talk about “Israeli Apartheid: The Case for BDS” during an Israel Apartheid Week in Glascow. In addition to supporting the BDS Movement and the idea that Israel is an apartheid state Harper supports the Free Gaza Movement and rejects Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.

NEW DIRECTION? 

These four organizations listed are just a sampling of the types of groups supported by the Spanish government. In 2012, the new conservative Spanish government did announce that they would cut the Spanish foreign affairs budget. In response, some 500 Spanish NGOs published an “open letter” to Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy asking him to make a commitment to maintaining all Spanish development assistance, even though it is very questionable how funding any of these organizations contributes towards Palestinian economic development. 

Visit United with Israel.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/united-with-israel/spanish-government-funds-anti-israel-ngos/2013/06/27/

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