Many NGOs that claim to promote human rights and humanitarian agendas use antisemitic themes and imagery to demonize the Jewish people and state of Israel.
Contrary to NGO claims that they are engaging in “legitimate criticism” of Israel, the NGO rhetoric, publications, and activities often violate accepted standards.
Amnesty International-UK (AI-UK)- At its 2015 Annual General Meeting, AIUK adopted 16 of 17 proposed motions. The only proposed resolution that was rejected called on AIUK to “Campaign against anti-Semitism in the UK,” as well as “Lobby the UK Government to tackle the rise in anti-Semitic attacks in Britain” and “monitor anti-semitism closely.” The AIUK vote took place in the context of repeated antisemitism incidents within the organization itself- in particular the activities of staff member Kristyan Benedict, who is currently listed as “crisis response manager.” Benedict has a strong anti-Israel obsession, fueled by conspiracy theories. Benedict’s antisemitism was most pronounced when he tweeted a “joke” following a Parliamentary session where many members supported Israel’s operation in Gaza, suggesting that three Jewish MPs were “warmongers.” After a few weeks of forced investigation into the tweet, he was forced to apologize but Amnesty refused to acknowledge the antisemitism behind the incident.
BADIL (funding from Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark and the Netherlands): A Palestinian NGO that focuses on promoting the so-called “right of return,” accuses Israel of “slow genocide” and regularly issues posters and caricatures demonizing Israel, some of which are virulently anti-Semitic. Badil uses demonizing language such as “state-sponsored racism,” and “systematic ethnic cleansing.” In 2015, BADIL published a cartoon depicting a tsunami of keys rising up and washing over what is supposed to be the “negotiation table” and two people, one of whom is wearing a kippah with a Jewish star on it. Another 2015 cartoon shows a clenched fist rising up through a map of the State of Israel with the caption reading “Return is our Right and our Destiny.”
Miftah- Miftah published on its website an Arabic-language article in response to U.S. President Obama’s support for Israel and his celebration of the Passover Seder, repeating the anti-Semitic blood libel. The author writes, “the Jews used the blood of Christians in the Jewish Passover.”
Human Rights Watch (HRW)- HRW Executive Director Ken Roth retweeted an advertisement in The New York Times equating “Nazi genocide” with “the massacre of Palestinians in Gaza.” HRW’s Director of its Middle East and North Africa Division, Sarah Leah Whitson, also exhibited similar animus. In February 2015, Whitson appeared to equate the 2014 Gaza War with Nazi genocide.
Examples of Antisemitic Rhetoric
- “It only takes people of insight to see the hundreds of thousands of crosses throughout the land, Palestinian men, women, and children being crucified. Palestine has become one huge [G]olgotha. The Israeli government crucifixion system is operating daily. Palestine has become the place of the skull.” (Sabeel Founder Naim Ateek, April 2001)
- “The tragedy of many Zionists today is that they have locked themselves into the nationalist concept of God. They are trapped in it and they will be freed only if they discard their primitive image of God for a more universal one…” (Naim Ateek, Justice and Only Justice: A Palestinian Theology of Liberation, Orbis Books, 1989)
- “I’m sure if we were to do a DNA test between David, who was a Bethlehemite, and Jesus, born in Bethlehem, and Mitri, born just across the street from where Jesus was born, I’m sure the DNA will show that there is a trace. While, if you put King David, Jesus and Netanyahu, you will get nothing, because Netanyahu comes from an East European tribe who converted to Judaism in the Middle Ages.” (Rev. Mitri Raheb, Christ at the Checkpoint conference, 2010)
- The “establishment of Israel was a relapse to the most primitive concepts of an exclusive, tribal God.” (Rev. Naim Ateek, 2011)
- “For centuries Jews and Christians lived relatively peacefully under Islamic rule throughout the Middle East and North Africa as dhimmis. But what seems to have happened is that the bad experience of Palestinian Muslims with Zionist immigrants after 1880 has reminded them of Muhammad’s bad experience with the Jews of Medina, encouraging them to apply the harsh verses about Jews in the Qur’an to Israeli Jews today. It must seem to Palestinian Muslims as if Jews of the modern period were simply repeating the hostile behaviour of Jews many centuries earlier towards the Prophet.” (Colin Chapman , a British Christian theologian, Christ at the Checkpoint conference, 2010)
- “Ehud Barak, Tzipi Livni, Gabi Ashkenazi and Ehud Olmert…You are not representing any continuity with the Warsaw Ghetto, because today the Warsaw Ghetto is right in front of you, targeted by your own tanks and artillery, and its name is Gaza…” (Michel Warschawski, Alternative Information Center, January 18, 2009).
- “Their crimes are definitely not less horrible than the ones that brought Milosevic and his generals to an international war crimes tribunal…BARAK & all the rest of them—TO NUREMBERG!” (Michael Warschawski, Alternative Information Center, January 15, 2009).
- “The Palestinian in the eyes of the Israeli soldier is not an equal human being.…He is not dealt with as an equal human being. This is the base of everything and then there is the fact that there is no restraint, no discipline within the army and, uh, uh, even there’s an encouragement. …Many Israelis need this and also the Palestinians because inside Israel there is an identification with the aggressor, the Nazi” (Eyad Sarraj, Gaza Community Mental Health Programme, testimony before the Goldstone Committee).
- An article published in the Electronic Intifada, titled “The Gaza genocide” (March 2, 2008), compares Israeli actions in Gaza to the Holocaust, describing them as “a slow and calculated genocide — a genocide through more calibrated, long-term means… In many ways, this is a more sinister genocide, because it tends to be overlooked.”
- “Supporting Zionism is not atonement for the Holocaust, but its continuation in spirit.” (Ali Abunimah, Twitter, October 25, 2010).
- Israeli NGO Ir Amim described the Shuafat refugee camp as “an overcrowded, and impoverished Palestinian ‘ghetto’ in the heart of Jerusalem whose inhabitants defy Israeli control…”
- Following International Holocaust Remembrance Day in 2013, Ma’an News Agency ran an article calling the Holocaust a “myth” (“On the ostensible ‘Holocaust’ memorial day,” Ghassan Mustafa Al-Shami, January 31, 2013). Israel is referred to as a “thieve entity for themselves on a Palestinian land” and “the Jews” are claimed to “have succeeded in achieving many goals by using ‘Holocaust’, and taking “advantage of them [the lies] to win sympathy.” Claims that “there is no basis for claims about what happened to Jews in Germany and that they were cremated in gas chambers” and questions about the number of Jewish victims of the Holocaust were also presented.