While Israel faces massive terrorist attacks from Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, there is another, parallel war being waged against it. However, in this “soft power” war, Israel’s enemies do not use bullets, missiles or bombs.
Instead, Israel is being bombarded by a powerful and hostile network of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), which are mass-producing hundreds of “cut and paste” condemnations of Israel. For groups such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch (HRW), and their Israeli and Palestinian NGO allies, the most destructive weapons are false claims of “war crimes” and the rhetoric of international law. On this crucial battlefield, success is determined by the number of times NGO allegations are uncritically repeated by journalists, diplomats and government officials.
Despite lacking any real investigatory capacity to draw meaningful conclusions, Amnesty, HRW and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) have called for the UN to form a “fact-finding mission” into alleged “violations” during the fighting.
Likewise, a coalition of Israeli-Arab NGOs, including Adalah and Mossawa, positioned themselves as go-to sources, offering to provide “information, assistance, materials or advice.”
The most egregious example of this NGO strategy is the discredited Goldstone process that arose from the 2008-2009 Gaza conflict. While the fighting was still ongoing, NGOs lobbied the UNHRC to establish a fact-finding mission to investigate allegations of Israeli war crimes. Then, as now, the missiles and terror structure within Gaza were simply ignored. Later, Judge Richard Goldstone, who was then on the HRW advisory board, agreed to lead this kangaroo court.
In place of honest and professional fact-finding, the Goldstone committee simply copied the unsourced, unverified, unreliable and highly biased NGO claims.
As NGO Monitor has shown in a series of detailed reports, NGOs were involved in every stage of the pseudo-investigation, determining the list of incidents and supplying a narrative of events in order to guarantee the predetermined outcome.
Judge Goldstone later repudiated the main findings, thereby exposing the NGOs’ lack of credibility. But the NGOs refused to reconsider their own role and practices in this deeply flawed and irresponsible process.
Now, the NGOs are attempting to create another Goldstone-like framework for the current round of violence in Gaza.
And taking the Goldstone agenda one step further, NGOs have called for International Criminal Court (ICC) proceedings against Israel.
The common element in the three components of the NGO “Goldstone process” – fact-finding missions, ICC cases and sanctions – is the intense effort to criminalize Israeli self-defense measures. These NGO campaigns limit Israel’s legitimate self-defense options and diminish its ability to defend its citizens from terrorist attacks.
Organizations that claim to promote human rights values should be campaigning to reduce and eliminate the threat in the South, instead of preventing Israel from exercising the most basic human right – the right to life.