BDS IN THE PEWS
International Crisis Group (ICG)
October 05, 2014
- Website: http://www.crisisgroup.org/
- Founded in 1995 “on the initiative of a group of well-known transatlantic figures who despaired at the international community’s failure to anticipate and respond effectively to the tragedies in the early 1990s of Somalia, Rwanda and Bosnia.”
- Describes itself as “an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organization committed to preventing and resolving deadly conflict.”
- International headquarters in Brussels, with “offices or representation” in Abuja, Bangkok, Beijing, Beirut, Bishkek, Bogotá, Cairo, Dakar, Gaza, Islamabad, Istanbul, Jerusalem, Johannesburg, Kabul, London, Mexico City Moscow, Nairobi, New York, Seoul, Tbilisi, Tripoli, Tunis and Washington DC.
- According to its website, “Crisis Group’s analysts are drawn mostly from experienced former diplomats, journalists, academics and NGO staff, often leading world experts in their areas.”
- Funding: Total unrestricted income for the financial year ending June 30, 2013 was $18.3 million, 47% from governmental donors.
- Donors include: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, European Union, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, UK, and U.S., the Open Society Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Foundation, and others.
- Political Advocacy: Lobbies foreign governments, diplomats, journalists, and international agencies.
- Much of Crisis Group’s advocacy is “done behind closed doors, requiring access to policymakers in major international centres and in the regions where we operate.”
- ICG’s “reports and briefing papers go to tens of thousands of targeted recipients (including government ministers, heads of international agencies, diplomats and officials in key roles, and journalists)… We also maintained top-level public exposure through quality mainstream media worldwide, an extensive social media presence, and influential commentary published in multiple languages.”
- As opposed to many international NGOs, ICG focuses on providing political analysis and commentary, as opposed to alleging human rights violations. While ICG has published biased reports on the Arab-Israeli conflict, it generally provides a more proportionate and nuanced analysis, acknowledging the harm caused to both sides. In contrast to many other NGOs, ICG does not selectively apply demonizing language or exploit international legal terminology.
- Examples of political bias include omitting Hamas terror, such as indiscriminate launching of rockets at Israeli civilians and the construction of terror tunnels under the border with Israel, in listing the “immediate triggers” of the 2014 Gaza war.
- Opposes the policy of “trying to isolate and topple Hamas,” saying “the policy is misguided and has been counterproductive since it was adopted in 2007” and recommends that “a donor or the UN should pay the salaries of employees of the Gaza government hired under Hamas.”
- ICG’s “Senior Analyst with the Middle East Program,” Ofer Zalzberg published a September 2014 article posing the question of whether the demilitarization of Hamas is in Israel’s best interest and recommending that parties explore an option that would aim at “transforming Hamas into a political party in an independent Palestinian state.” Zalzberg omits that the Hamas charter clearly calls for the destruction of the state of Israel.
- ICG makes numerous “Recommendations” including raising the question of “whether boycotting all voluntary contact with Israeli institutions in Jerusalem remains effective.”
- In articles and reports, issues statements such as “Israel is unlikely to readily accept” recommendations outlined by ICG, without drawing any conclusions regarding the Palestinian side.
- ICG’s Middle East and North Africa program director and former Clinton administration official Robert Malley has blamed Israel and former Prime Minister Barak for the failure of the Oslo process and the 2001 Camp David summit.
- Published a November 21, 2013 report, “Leap of Faith: Israel’s National Religious and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,” providing serious analysis on an aspect of Israeli society that is ignored or presented in cartoonish terms by other international NGOs.