[Opinion] Anatomy of the NGO Vaccine Libel
Powerful organizations claiming moral agendas have increasingly gained political influence, especially through human rights and international law. In particular, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with massive budgets for public relations and lobbying have focused worldwide attention on favored targets — in some cases with justification, but in others to promote hate and conflict.
Israel has long been a target for demonization based on false claims, and the template NGOs use is familiar. It begins when NGO officials with a history of Israel-bashing launch a campaign based on allegations of dastardly deeds. The facts are twisted or invented, but since they are made by ostensible “experts,” the media — from fringe groups dedicated to the anti-Israel cause to mainstream journalists — repeat and amplify these falsities.
NGOs’ latest accusation is that Israel is violating its legal obligations by failing to provide vaccines to the Palestinians that live under Israeli occupation. As Israel’s success vaccinating its citizens became more visible and gained praise from around the world, the NGO conspiracy machine went into action, applying their standard template used so successfully in the past twenty years.
NGOs ignored convenient truths, such as the fact that the Palestinian Authority had no interest in Israeli assistance and had already ordered vaccines, in part via Russia and in part through the World Health Organization. Organizations and the media also dismissed the Oslo framework agreement governing relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which states that “Powers and responsibilities in the sphere of Health in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip will be transferred to the Palestinian side, including the health insurance system.” Acknowledging the reality would have aborted the political campaign before it could get off the ground.
The NGO attack involved numerous organizations, many funded by European governments under the façade of promoting human rights, democracy and international law. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights and Al Mezan took the lead, issuing a statement under the heading “Israel must provide necessary vaccines to Palestinian health care systems” and including the hand waving claims attributed to international law.