EU Funded NGOs Lead Condemnations in Gaza Conflict

(Jerusalem) – Jerusalem based watchdog NGO Monitor today released an analysis of the distorted and one sided statements issued by fourteen NGOs in response to Israel’s military operation in Gaza. Following the pattern of previous conflicts, groups including Amnesty International and Oxfam harshly criticized Israel almost immediately, providing a very biased view. Many are manipulating international law to condemn Israel and repeating a moral equivalence between the actions of Hamas and the IDF. Some of these NGOs are funded by the New Israel Fund and the European Union (EU), including the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network.

Most NGOs denounced Israel’s strikes as ‘disproportionate’ and ‘indiscriminate’. This erases Israel’s efforts to minimize civilian casualties, and ignores Hamas‘ statement that over 180 of the approximately 200 people killed in the first wave of strikes on 27 December were not civilians. Those NGOs that included this distorted position in their statements include Amnesty International, Oxfam, Adalah, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel and Miftah (an EU-funded NGO that charged Israel with committing a ‘massacre’ in Jenin in 2002).

These NGO claims, alongside their use of terms such as ‘war crimes’ and ‘collective punishment’ comprise a dangerous manipulation of legal terminology which has been refuted by international law experts. Some NGOs, including EU funded Physicians for Human Rights-Israel have stated the untenable legal position that following the 2005 disengagement, Israel continues to occupy Gaza.

Even those NGOs, including Amnesty International and B’tselem whose statements reflect a semblance of balance, create a dangerous moral equivalence by equating Palestinian attacks with Israel’s response. This comparison erases Hamas’ deliberate targeting of civilians and Israel’s careful use of intelligence and weapons to avoid civilian casualties.

Many of these statements also ignore or give little attention to Israeli human rights and casualties, and do not mention Hamas’ use of human shields, echoing the dangerous NGO campaigns in the 2006 Second Lebanon War. These also involved daily condemnations of ‘indiscriminate attacks’ and ‘war crimes’ and false claims of a ‘massacre’ at Qana which influenced the course of the war.

NGO Monitor’s Executive Director, Prof Gerald Steinberg said "In delegitimizing Israel’s actions, these NGOs are betraying the most basic of human rights – Israel’s obligation to defend the lives of its citizens. NGOs were highly influential in creating the Jenin and Qana ‘massacre’ myths in previous conflicts and must not be allowed to play the same dangerous role again."

Editors Notes:

For NGO Monitor’s full report on NGO condemnations of Israel’s operation in Gaza, click here.

For further analysis, click here for Prof Gerald Steinberg’s op-ed in the Jerusalem Post on 28th December.

NGO Monitor was founded to promote transparency, critical analysis and debate on the political role of human rights organizations. For more information, see our website at

Other recent publications and reports by NGO Monitor include:

Amnesty on Gaza (again): Ideology Instead of Research – August 14th, 2008

HRW’s Letter to President Bush: The ‘Collective Punishment’ Hoax – June 16th, 2008

NGO Campaigns on Israel’s Gaza Policy – January 22nd 2008



NGO Monitor’s Executive Director is, Prof. Gerald Steinberg.

Members of NGO Monitor’s International Advisory Board include Elie Wiesel, Prof Alan Dershowitz, Sir Martin Gilbert and R. James Woolsey

For further information, comment or interviews contact Dan Kosky
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