Josh Goldman (Prof: Middle East Controversy ‘Contrived’ March 12) reports that Norman Finkelstein quoted from Amnesty International, B’Tselem and Human Rights Watch in supporting his anti-Israel case, . This highlights a key problem with the activity of many human rights NGO’s active in the Middle East.

As NGO Monitor’s detailed research and analysis has demonstrated, many of these powerful NGOs lack credibility, and reflect political bias that detracts from their ability to protect the universality of human rights norms. NGO Monitor ( has published multiple examples in which NGO’s erase the context of terror, and ignore the internal corruption of Palestinian institutions in condemning Israel. For example, many of the claims by HRW and Amnesty during the recent war between Hizballah and Israel in Lebanon were false, and simply repeated "eye witness" claims from Hizbollah members. Similarly, detailed research on the human rights claims of HRW and Amnesty regarding the conflict in Colombia demonstrate the same type of inaccuracies. Thus, reliance on the reports and publications of such politicized NGO’s contributes to further distortions and the destruction of human rights values everywhere. 

Prof. Gerald Steinberg (Cornell, 1982)
Executive Director
Jerusalem, Israel