Soft Powers Play Hardball: NGOs Wage War against Israel

Full Article

Steinberg, Gerald M. “Soft Powers Play Hardball: NGOs Wage War against Israel.” Israel Affairs 12.4 (2006): 748-768.


This article begins with a presentation of the political activities, agendas and impacts of NGOs on the Israeli–Palestinian con?ict. Subsequently, speci?c campaigns will be analyzed in detail, including the 2001 Durban conference, the anti-Israel NGO activities in connection with the Jenin ‘massacre’ myth, the separation fence (‘apartheid wall’) campaign, and the academic boycott and church divestment efforts. What follows is an examination of the sources of funding for these activities (particularly government sources), and the ‘soft power’ phenomenon which allows universal human rights norms to be distorted into tacit, and sometimes even explicit, support for terrorism. This paper will conclude with a presentation of the evolution of the counter-strategy designed to limit the impact of this manipulation of ‘soft power’.

About the Author

Professor Gerald M. Steinberg

Professor Gerald M. Steinberg

Professor Gerald Steinberg is founder and president of NGO Monitor and professor of Political Studies at Bar Ilan University. He is the founder of the Program on Conflict Management and Negotiation at Bar Ilan University. His research focuses on the changing nature of power in international relations, as reflected in Middle East Diplomacy and Security, The Politics of Human Rights Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and Israeli Politics and Arms Control.