Claudia Lux, President
International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA)
P.O. Box 95312
2509 CH The Hague
Dear Ms. Lux,
As Executive Director of NGO Monitor (www.NGO-monitor.org), I am writing to request clarification regarding the IFLA’s plan to hold a conference on "Libraries from Human Rights Perspective" in cooperation with the Ramallah Center for Human Rights Studies (RCHRS), March 31-April 2, 2008. This partnership appears to be entirely inconsistent with the IFLA’a mission of promoting the professional interests of "library and information services and their users."
NGO Monitor’s analysis demonstrates that, despite its stated mission to develop internal norms of Palestinian democracy and respect for human rights, some of statements focus on condemnations of Israel, and its activities often contribute to conflict and fail to condemn violence. For example, RCHRS has often referred to Palestinian terrorists as “martyrs”. Following the March 2002 suicide bombing attacks and the Israeli response, RCHRS issued a statement promoting the false claim that Israel committed “massacres” in Jenin and Nablus. RCHRS has also accused Israel of “terrirorist [sic] crimes,” and making children the “sacrifice for the racial hatred [sic].”
As a political organization, RCHRS consistently calls for “ pressure on the Israeli Government" to "deter it from violating the international law”, and has stated that “all world countries should adhere to their ethical and political responsibilities in putting an end for the Israeli racial aggression.” Such rhetoric clearly reflects an extreme pro-Palestinian political position, which ignores RCHRS’ mandate to promote "a culture of tolerance and respect for human rights," and does not contribute to mutual understanding and conflict resolution.
In addition, RCHRS is an active member of the the Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network (PNGO), which plays a major role in promoting campaigns to delegitimize and demonize Israel. These activities include the NGO Forum of the 2001 Durban conference, which promoted demonization and boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel, and has been widely renounced as a form of political warfare.
I hope that the information provided in this letter will lead the officials and members of the IFLA, as well as the funders (including SIDA and the Government of Sweden) to reconsider the implications of holding this activity in cooperation with RCHRS.
Prof. Gerald Steinberg
Executive Director, NGO Monitor
Claudia Lux, President