Attempt to Silence Analysis of NGOs such as PCWF Rejected by Texas Judge
On January 17, 2007, a Texas Federal Court judge dismissed as “wholly frivolous” and “baseless” Palestine Children’s Welfare Fund (PCWF) Riad ElSolh Hamad’s defamation suit against NGO Monitor, Frontpage Jerusalem, the Center for Study of Popular Culture and others. Hamad charged the organizations had defamed him and violated his constitutional and civil rights linking him and his charity in newspaper and Internet articles to Islamic fundamentalist terror.
In addition to dismissing Hamad’s claims as “groundless”, United States District Court Judge, Sam Sparks, leveled Rule 11 sanctions against Hamad and ordered him to pay defendants’ attorney’s fees and costs totaling almost $60,000 as well as a $1000 fine to each defendant for Hamad’s repeated violation of court orders.
NGO Monitor Executive Director Professor Gerald Steinberg noted: “This was a clear attempt to use the courts and intimidation to prevent independent analysis and exposure of the incitement by anti-Israel NGOs. This strategy has now been rejected.”
In his ruling, the judge called Hamad‘s complaint “an unintelligible morass of vitriolic accusations” that had “no basis in law.”
NGO Monitor analysis shows Gaza-based PCWF openly exploits children’s issues for radical politicized agendas that promote the conflict. These activities are entirely inconsistent with its claims to be a humanitarian organization. Among PCWF’s activities, documented in NGO Monitor’s report, is a children’s drawing contest. The judges rewarded, almost without exception, entries that featured fierce and violent hatred of Israel. The winning picture features a fire, in the shape of a map of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, consuming the Star of David with the word “Israel” written inside the flag. Another entry depicted a Palestinian flag dropping flames on an Israeli flag and burning Israelis standing next to it. Such activities serve only to advance a culture of violence and hatred.
The use of the courts in the attempt to prevent debate and the exposure of the highly politicized activity taking place under the guise of promoting human rights is widespread. The judge in this case rejected the effort to silence NGO Monitor’s analyses of such activities.