In the first 19 days of the IDF's operation in Gaza to end the rocket attacks, more than 35 NGOs have published over 200 statements. Major NGO superpowers such as Oxfam, HRW, Amnesty and Christian Aid have launched web pages dedicated to the conflict, while the media have widely repeated the NGO claims.
In contrast, NGO Monitor has led the parallel campaign challenging the "halo effect" in which NGO declarations, double standards and omissions, such as the massive use of human shields by Hamas, are repeated with no additional research or verification.
To date NGO Monitor has published 5 reports, 6 opeds, and been quoted in numerous media outlets, as summarized below:
NGO Monitor Reports:
- The NGO Front in the Gaza War: Oxfam, January 8 2009 Oxfam's numerous statements include false international legal claims, such as the accusation that Israel is guilty of "disproportionate force" or "illegal collective punishment." They present an immoral equivalence between Hamas’ deliberate rocket attacks on Israeli civilians and Israel’s response in self defense and repeats the standard Palestinian accusation that Israel has created a humanitarian crisis, despite the detailed evidence from the World Food Bank and other sources to the contrary.
- The NGO Front in the Gaza War: Human Rights Watch January 11, 2009
In the first 16 days of fighting HRW released 11 statements on Gaza, primarily critical of Israel, including many using the rhetoric of international law for political objectives. Sarah Leah Whitson has carried HRW's campaign to the UN -- and similar to allegations made during the 2006 Lebanon war, HRW's claims about the IDF's use of white phosphorus lack credible evidence.
- NGO Front in the Gaza War: HRW, anti-Israel Campaigns, and White Phosphorous: Condemn First, Correct (Maybe) Later January 14, 2009
On January 10, HRW launched a public relations campaign condemning Israel for allegedly using white phosphorus weapons unlawfully in the conflict with Hamas. HRW´s large budget, and its media access via the "halo effect" results in the amplification of these reports in the press and through other NGOs, without independent investigation or verification. HRW´s disproportionate focus on this issue diverts attention from Hamas' systematic use of human shields, its indiscriminate rocket attacks, and Iran's role in fomenting the conflict.
- EU and NIF-funded NGOs Lead Condemnations in Gaza Conflict, (updated daily). An alphabetical summary of all NGO statements since December 27, 2008, the beginning of Operation Cast Lead.
In the Media:
'Israel, Aid Groups have Long Feuded,' Washington Post, Craig Whitlock, 14 January 2009
"They say the organizations are quick to accuse Israel of mistreating Gazans but slow to criticize Hamas for targeting Israeli civilians. They also argue that Hamas draws little scrutiny for tactics that place noncombatant Palestinians in harm's way.
'It reinforces the Israeli sense that the U.N. and the international system is extremely biased,' said Gerald Steinberg, a professor at Bar-Ilan University and executive director of NGO Monitor, a blog dedicated to tracking activities of nongovernmental aid organizations in Israel". View article
Letter to the Editor, Anne Herzberg, Wall Street Journal, January 13, 2009
"The documentary and video proof of Hamas's exploitation of schools, mosques, hospitals and cultural centers to carry out its attacks is overwhelming, and responsibility for any civilian deaths that follow should fall on Hamas's shoulders." View letter
"Before B’tselem accuses Israel of ‘war crimes’ or something similar, they must be absolutely sure of Israel’s capabilities and in addition, the factual and legal background which has lead Israel to this war in general and specific actions within." View article
'Doktor Gilberts Krieg' ('Doctor Gilbert’s War'), Der Tagesspiegel, by Martin Gehlen, 12 January 2009
"Die Reaktion auf Äußerungen der beiden Ärzte ließ nicht lange auf sich warten – vor allem Gilbert gerät seitdem ins Zwielicht. Fox News, der Hauskanal der republikanischen Rechten in den USA, denunzierte ihn als ‘Hamas-Doktor’. Die 'Welt' bezeichnet ihn unter Berufung auf die in Jerusalem ansässige israelische Organisation 'NGO Monitor' gar als 'linksradikalen Terrorsympathisanten'".
'NGOs Aid Hamas PR Campaign', by Anne Herzberg, Jerusalem Post, January 12, 2009
"Now that Operation Cast Lead is under way, these charges have reached obsessive levels. As of January 11, NGOs have issued more than 175 statements condemning Israel's "legal" infractions in Gaza. (In contrast, these same NGOs have issued zero statements about the massacre of 189 Congolese villagers by Ugandan rebel forces from December 25-27.)" View article
'Hamas Have Themselves to Blame', Prof Gerald Steinberg, Edinburgh Journal, January 11, 2009
"The key to this scenario and a Hamas victory is international pressure on Israel based on the soft power. Here again, the publicity generated by NGO superpowers—Oxfam, Amnesty, and the numerous pro-Palestinian groups—play a central role". View article
'In Search of Moral Clarity', by Dan Kosky, YNet, January 11, 2009
"The response of the NGO community to the current Gaza operation has also been characterized by the dangerous moral equivalence created between the actions of Hamas and the IDF. While Hamas measures success in terms of Israeli civilians killed, Israel has made careful use of intelligence and weapons to avoid civilian casualties". View article
'Propaganda-Arzt Mads Gilbert macht in Gaza Politik' ('Propaganda Artist Mads Gilbert Does Politics in Gaza'), Die Welt, Clemens Wergin, 9 January 2009
"Seit Tagen geistert Mads Gilbert durch die internationale Medienlandschaft. Der norwegische Arzt, arbeitet im Gazastreifen. Vielen Journalisten erscehint er als gute Quelle, weil er aus dem Westen stammt. Doch Gilbert ist linksradikal und sprach etwa den Terroristen vom 11. September ein „moralisches Recht" zu….. Wie schwierig es ist, an unabhängige Informationen aus Gaza zu kommen hat die israelische Organisation „NGO Monitor "ans Licht gebracht". View article
"High Profile Doctor in Gaza Called an 'Apologist for Hamas'", Fox News Website, January 8, 2008
"NGO Monitor, an Israeli human rights watchdog group, says Gilbert presents one-sided criticism of Israel to the media and has accused Israel of deliberately targeting civilians in its Gaza offensive to stop Hamas from firing rockets into Israel….In addition to being supportive of the terrorist organization Hamas, Gilbert has voiced support for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon". View article
'Gaza Attack Could Prompt Israel to Pull Out', San Francisco Chronicle, by Matthew Kalman, January 7, 2009
"There were many meetings on how to deal with this before the fighting started. It happens every time. The effect this time very much depends on how the story plays out in the next 24 hours," said Steinberg. "If organizations like Amnesty (International) and Human Rights Watch give this issue much greater visibility as they have in the past, the pressure on Israel will build and it will have some impact, but if it's strictly Palestinian claims it won't have much effect." View article
'Czechs Lead Divided European Delegation', by Prof Gerald Steinberg, Jerusalem Post, January 5, 2008
"In addition, European government funding for dozens of radical pro-Palestinian 'civil society' and human rights organizations that are campaigning on behalf of Hamas is a major problem. These groups, including the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) and Adalah, led public relations efforts to portray the situation in Gaza as a "humanitarian crisis," and encouraged the Hamas leadership to expect international pressure in preventing the Israeli military action". View article
'Can Israel Win the Soft Power War in Gaza?', by Prof Gerald Steinberg, Jerusalem Post, 28 December 2008
"The propaganda war in Gaza began more than a year ago, with a steady flow of UN, media and NGO campaigns falsely accusing Israel of "collective punishment," starving the innocent population and preventing Fulbright students from leaving Gaza. In these attacks, the human rights of Israelis are usually ignored". View article.
Other coverage includes:
- Bloomberg News interview with Gerald Steinberg, January 2, 2009
- Sky News Television debate with Gerald Steinberg January 4, 2009
- Knesset TV panel discussion, January 7, 2009
- National Public Radio (USA), interview with Gerald Steinberg, January 14, 2009