When Doron Almog, former head of the IDF Southern Command, landed in
London , he was forced to return without leaving the aircraft, after a low-level British official threatened him with arrest. Almog, who has a great deal of experience dodging Palestinian attacks, was struck by a political missile fired in the ongoing war that has accompanied five years of terror.
Like similar incidents involving former Israeli officials, including ex-chief of staff and now Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, and the effort to bring Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to trial in
in 2003, the case of Almog was primarily a clever public-relations move. It provided another opportunity to link Israelis to terms such as "war crimes" and "violation of human rights," and to shift media attention away from 's withdrawal from
Gaza and the Palestinian chaos.
This campaign is a continuation of the strategy of demonizing
by exploiting the rhetoric of international law, as presented in the UN-sponsored Durban conference in September 2001. The ultimate goal is to turn into another "
," through isolation, sanctions and boycotts.
Using the highly malleable British legal system to harass Israeli officials, the supporters of this activity seek to use public relations to accomplish what decades of war and terror failed to achieve – the destruction of Jewish sovereignty in
The pseudo-legal process against Almog was led by European-funded Palestinian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that exploit the language of human rights to pursue the goal of political genocide – in the language of Canadian Justice Minister Irwin Cotler. As in the case of
Durban , the Jenin "massacre" myths, labeling the anti-terror barrier as a "violation of international law," the academic boycott, and now church divestment, these powerful NGOs are central political actors.
Gaza-based PCHR – the
Center for Human Rights – receives its funding from the European Union, Christian Aid – which has its own anti-Israel campaign – and other sources, under the false flag of promoting peace and human rights. (The EU preaches transparency to others, but officials hide the identities of favored NGOs, and the decision-making and evaluation process lack independent oversight.)
A series of carefully documented reports by the NGO Monitor and a recent update from Palestinian Media Watch have highlighted PCHR's activities, but these have gone largely ignored by the funding agencies.
While this political war is a threat to , the unchecked power of dozens of similar NGOs, and their active exploitation of the principles of international law, is just as dangerous for , the ,
Europe and other democratic societies. Belgian officials quickly realized that the precedent they set in the case of Sharon would be used against them regarding their activities in
Africa . Similarly, it will not be long before British anti-terror officials are arrested – perhaps in or
– for alleged war crimes and human-rights violations. NGOs funded by Iran or Libya can follow this model to launch propaganda campaigns branding France or Sweden as racist societies, while abusing terms like apartheid.
As a result, the British government, like
, must quickly halt the power of minor officials to promote personal biases by ordering the arrest of citizens from other countries. When this happens, Doron Almog and all other Israeli citizens involved in anti-terror activities will not face harassment upon landing, and this part of the public-relations war will disappear.
But the more important challenge is to reverse the mass destruction of human-rights norms and international law, led by UN agencies and the NGO network. For this, the European Union and its constituent governments, as well as
, and other funding sources, particularly those based in church groups, will have to reverse course.
The writer directs the Program on Conflict Management at
University and is the editor of www.ngo-monitor.org