MONITORING THE POLITICAL ROLE OF NGOs

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One of the harshest fronts of the Arab-Israeli conflict is the information war, in which powerful non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with major influence on the international media consistently display a biased approach.
The hijacking of the Durban anti-racism conference in 2001 by anti-Israel NGOs illustrated the dangers of politically motivated humanitarian groups that derive credibility simply on the basis of mission statements promoting “universal human rights.”

In spite of the hypocrisy of Durban, and the highly visible distortions in NGO reports of the IDF’s military operations in Jenin in April 2002, many of these NGOs, some of which enjoy observer status at the UN, continue to raise hundreds of millions of dollars from governmental sources, especially the EU, as well as from private donors.

Their influence is particularly felt when NGOs direct political discourse by misquoting international law and overusing the terms: “war crimes,” “genocide,” and “ethnic cleansing.”

The NGO Monitor project was initiated to examine how certain humanitarian NGOs covering Israel and the Middle East deviate from their mission statements and fund-raising activities that claim to support universal human rights values, in order to engage in overt political and ideological activities.

 

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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.