I was bemused to read a strident opinion piece published last week in EUobserver by Issam Aruri, chair of the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO). Mostly because it was a response to something I had written months ago for a totally different publication.
In my capacity as Europe desk director at NGO Monitor, I published a piece last February in EP Today making the case that Aruri’s organization, PNGO, which represents 134 Palestinian NGOs, functions as a “ring leader” that coerces its members to toe the line with an extreme agenda, thus shrinking the space for Palestinian civil society.
For EUobserver readers who are not familiar with NGO Monitor, we are a Jerusalem-based research institute that provides information and analysis on the reports and activities of human rights and humanitarian NGOs active in the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Apparently PNGO submitted a rebuttal at the time, which was never published by EP Today. Contrary to Aruri’s accusation, we are not privy to the editorial decisions of any newspaper, nor have we ever participated in any sort of “campaign” to get a publication not to run another group’s article.
Aruri’s insults and conspiracy theories aside, I am happy to continue the exchange on a new platform. From NGO Monitor’s perspective, we welcome substantive discussions.
At the risk of restating the obvious, I will present some of NGO Monitor’s main findings regarding PNGO and explain why they remain valid. Both Aruri’s article and another rebuttal posted on the PNGO website fail to directly address any of them.