NGOs and the Political-legal Theater in Operation Protective Edge


During Operation Protective Edge, numerous NGOs claiming human rights agendas issued hundreds of statements, with the vast majority condemning Israel. These statements played a central role in the activities of the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Schabas/Davis Commission, which published a report condemning Israeli actions. NGO allegations of war crimes also served as the basis for lawfare campaigns, including efforts to prosecute Israeli officials in the International Criminal Court and other venues, and for BDS campaigns against Israeli and Jewish targets. NGO reports in the context of asymmetric warfare are generally accepted at face value, despite their lack of credible fact-finding methodologies. Similarly, legal analyses, based on problematic and “aspirational” interpretations, are accepted and echoed widely. In contrast, the policies of the IDF and Ministry of Defense to counter political warfare during Operation Protective Edge had limited impact. This article argues that a wider, carefully crafted, and proactive approach is necessary.

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