International Crisis Group (ICG)
|In their own words||“an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organization committed to preventing and resolving deadly conflict.”|
- In FY 20-21, total income was $23.7 million; total expenses were $19.7 million, of which $2.1 million was spent on the Middle East/North Africa.
- Donors include Switzerland, Austria, Australia, France, Finland, Germany, Sweden, Ireland, United Nations, the Open Society Foundation, and Rockefeller Brothers Foundation.
- Founded in 1995 “on the initiative of a group of well-known transatlantic figures who despaired at the international community’s failure to anticipate and respond effectively to the tragedies in the early 1990s of Somalia, Rwanda and Bosnia.”
- International headquarters in Brussels, with “offices or representation” in Abuja, Bangkok, Beijing, Beirut, Bishkek, Bogotá, Cairo, Dakar, Gaza, Islamabad, Istanbul, Jerusalem, Johannesburg, Kabul, London, Mexico City Moscow, Nairobi, New York, Seoul, Tbilisi, Tripoli, Tunis and Washington DC.
- According to its website, “Crisis Group’s analysts are drawn mostly from experienced former diplomats, journalists, academics and NGO staff, often leading world experts in their areas.”
- Lobbies foreign governments, diplomats, journalists, and international agencies.
- Much of Crisis Group’s advocacy is “done behind closed doors, requiring access to policymakers in major international centres and in the regions where we operate.”
- ICG’s “reports and briefing papers go to tens of thousands of targeted recipients (including government ministers, heads of international agencies, diplomats and officials in key roles, and journalists)… We also maintained top-level public exposure through quality mainstream media worldwide, an extensive social media presence, and influential commentary published in multiple languages.”
- As opposed to many international NGOs, ICG focuses on providing political analysis and commentary, as opposed to alleging human rights violations. While ICG has published biased reports on the Arab-Israeli conflict, it generally provides a more proportionate and nuanced analysis, acknowledging the harm caused to both sides. In contrast to many other NGOs, ICG does not selectively apply demonizing language or exploit international legal terminology.
- Examples of political bias include omitting Hamas terror, such as indiscriminate launching of rockets at Israeli civilians and the construction of terror tunnels under the border with Israel, in listing the “immediate triggers” of the 2014 Gaza war.
- In January 2022, ICG published a report calling for the European Union to “robustly work to ensure that all bilateral arrangements with Israel exclude illegal settlement activity…and us[e] financial support both to encourage Palestinian reforms and to discourage Israel from further closing space for Palestinian civil society.”
- In October 2021, following the decision by the Israeli Ministry to designate six Palestinian NGOs as terrorist organizations, ICG organized a webinar with members of each of the six NGOs as “it is critical that American decisionmakers and the broader policy community in Washington have an opportunity to hear directly from the organizations themselves.”
- In April 2021, Human Rights Watch recognized ICG for its contributions to a report that denied Israel’s legitimacy as a Jewish state by alleging Israel has committed crimes of apartheid and reduced all security policies to “demographic objectives.”
- In December 2020, ICG and the US/Middle East Project (USMEP) launched a joint initiative to “help policymakers and civil society activists in their efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” As part of the initiative, the two NGOs published a statement calling for the United States to “not recognise Israel’s annexation of any part of the Occupied Territories, including East Jerusalem” and “cease to obstruct efforts by multilateral bodies and third parties to differentiate between Israel and the Occupied Territories, including with regard to the updating of the UN Human Rights Council database of business enterprises involved in settlements.”
- In June 2020, ICG Israel/Palestine Senior Analyst Mairav Zonszein wrote an article comparing Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians to the death of George Floyd, stating that “While there are substantial differences between the two countries and their circumstances, the mechanisms of state violence and repression ultimately operate in the same way. There is a clear ‘us’ and ‘them.’ A sense that there is the occupier and the occupied.”
- In April 2020, in an article published in the German Junge Welt, “Pandemic under occupation,” the International Crisis Group referred to the health care in Gaza as being “paralyzed by the Israeli blockade for years and partially destroyed by the ongoing military attacks…Israel should lift the blockade and allow much-needed medical equipment and supplies to enter Gaza…As an occupying power, Israel has a duty to take care of the people under its control.” The statement ignored the fact that health care products are allowed in to Gaza, and only denies entry of terror-related goods and goods that could be used in such a way (“dual-use”). According to the IDF Spokesperson, no COVID-19 related products were denied entry to Gaza.
- In June 2017, ICG moderated a panel at a forum to “mark fifty years of Israeli occupation held by the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP), which called for “applying sanctions for arms to Israel.” The panel featured Noura Erakat (BADIL), Tania Hary (Gisha), Mohammed Azaiza (Gisha), Nuriya Oswald (Al Mezan), and Majeda Alsaqqa (Culture and Free Thought Association). (Read NGO Monitor’s report “UN CEIRPP “50 Years of Occupation” Event: BDS, Antisemitism, and Demonization”)
- Opposes the policy of “trying to isolate and topple Hamas,” saying “the policy is misguided and has been counterproductive since it was adopted in 2007” and recommends that “a donor or the UN should pay the salaries of employees of the Gaza government hired under Hamas.”
- ICG’s “Senior Analyst with the Middle East Program,” Ofer Zalzberg published a September 2014 article posing the question of whether the demilitarization of Hamas is in Israel’s best interest and recommending that parties explore an option that would aim at “transforming Hamas into a political party in an independent Palestinian state.” Zalzberg omits that the Hamas charter clearly calls for the destruction of the state of Israel.
- ICG makes numerous “Recommendations” including raising the question of “whether boycotting all voluntary contact with Israeli institutions in Jerusalem remains effective.”
- In articles and reports, issues statements such as “Israel is unlikely to readily accept” recommendations outlined by ICG, without drawing any conclusions regarding the Palestinian side.
- ICG’s Middle East and North Africa program director and former Clinton administration official Robert Malley has blamed Israel and former Prime Minister Barak for the failure of the Oslo process and the 2001 Camp David summit.
- Published a November 21, 2013 report, “Leap of Faith: Israel’s National Religious and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,” providing serious analysis on an aspect of Israeli society that is ignored or presented in cartoonish terms by other international NGOs.
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