Presumed Guilty: NIF's NGO Network Promotes War Crimes Myths Again
After the escalation of the ongoing Gaza conflict last week, several
political advocacy Israeli NGOs claiming to promote human rights published
highly biased and politicized allegations. As in the past, these NGOs
insinuate that Israel is guilty of war crimes and related violations,
usually without providing any evidence or proof. Some of the statements
reflect core bias and contrast with the silence when Israeli human rights
These Israeli NGOs, including Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I),
B'Tselem, Gisha, Adalah, Breaking the Silence, and Public Committee Against
Torture in Israel (PCATI) are funded, in part, by the New Israel Fund (NIF).
In previous conflicts, a number of NIF-funded groups played a major role in
advancing false accusations of alleged Israeli crimes, contributing to
demonization campaigns. As demonstrated in NGO Monitor's comprehensive
research, NIF grantees were centrally involved in promoting and submitting
allegations to the Goldstone Mission on the December 2008-January 2009 Gaza
On November 15, NIF CEO Daniel Sokatch wrote that "many members of the New
Israel Fund family will work to assist the most vulnerable Israeli citizens,
both Jewish and Arab, who are living within range of the rocket fire." This
worthy objective stands in sharp contrast to the highly politicized and
prejudicial statements that have been made by some of NIF's grantees.
As the evidence clearly shows, the NIF-based NGO network had remained silent
in the weeks preceding the latest fighting, characterized by escalating
indiscriminate rocket attacks from Gaza - each one a war crime - targeting
Israeli civilians and population centers. These NGOs only acted after Israel
killed Hamas terrorist commander Ahmed Jabari, on November 14, 2012.
With the important exception of B'Tselem, none of the NIF-linked NGOs
published a separate press release condemning the rocket attack that killed
three Israeli civilians in Kiryat Malachi.
Gisha (the Legal Center for Freedom of Movement) repeated the pseudo-legal
reference to Israeli policy on Gaza as "collective punishment." This
rhetoric ignores obvious security needs, most notably the prevention of
weapons smuggling, and Israeli emphasis on targeting terrorists and sparing
NIF-funded Adalah joined the radical Palestinian Al Mezan NGO in a statement
alleging that the "Bombing of Civilian Media Building in Gaza Constitutes a
Serious Violation of the Laws of War." Misstating the law as well as the
facts, they neglected to note that the IDF was targeting Hamas'
communications infrastructure, a legal military objective under
PHR-I's delegitimization agenda was evident in a statement claiming that
"the lives of residents of Gaza and southern Israel have lost their value
and have become but a tool in the cynical political arena." The group also
retweeted a call encouraging Israeli soldiers to refuse orders, which was
later removed from its Twitter feed. Such biased statements are inconsistent
with the medical focus claimed by PHR-I.
A joint statement signed by PCATI and a group of Palestinian and
international NGOs called for an "urgent intervention" by the UN Human
Rights Council, ignoring Israeli victims and focusing on "violations of
international law committed in the occupied Palestinian territory." These
NGOs are working with the UNHRC, dominated by the world's most abusive
regimes, seeking to establish another Goldstone-like report falsely
Click here for NGO Monitor's full analysis
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