(Jerusalem)–Jerusalem based NGO Monitor’s latest research project documents the role of highly politicized NGOs in the narrative wars that seek to distort and rewrite 3000 years of Jewish history in Jerusalem. Organizations such as B’tselem, Ir Amim and Applied Research Institute Jerusalem (ARIJ) who receive funds from the European Union ostensibly in order to promote coexistence, are primarily using their resources to promote an overtly anti-Israel agenda.
Ignoring the ancient Jewish presence in the Old City’s Jewish Quarter, disrupted only by their eviction (ethnic cleansing) and the Jordanian occupation between 1948-67, B’tselem and Ir Amim erroneously label residents of the neighborhood as ‘settlers’, in order to strengthen their political campaign against the return of the Jewish population. Similarly, excavations and archaeological activity in the City of David, a site that is central to Jerusalem’s Biblical heritage, is delegitimized by Ir Amim as part of an Israeli settlement plan.
In a further attempt to stigmatize the Israeli presence in Jerusalem, and erase the scars of mass terror attacks, the separation barrier is portrayed by B’tselem and Bimkom (funded by EU and New Israel Fund) as an attempt to annex land, disregarding Israel’s legitimate security concerns. Similarly, the Jerusalem Municipality’s actions to prevent illegal construction are dismissed as an excuse to ruthlessly destroy Palestinian homes by B’tselem and ARIJ, who falsely describe these policies as Israeli attempts to ‘erase all trace of Palestinian existence’ in Jerusalem.
These NGO political power and publicity campaigns have a significant impact on international policy towards Jerusalem. A position paper released by the European Union in December 2008 showed the degree to which such NGO claims, based on EU funded “reports” were copied directly, totally disregarding Israel’s historical and legal rights in Jerusalem. The EU position paper’s inference that the building of a synagogue at the Western Wall plaza could adversely impact Muslim sites directly reflects an Ir Amim report. Meanwhile statistics in the same paper claiming that only 12% of East Jerusalem is used for Palestinian residential purposes and that the Palestinian population represents only between 5-10% of the municipal budget are taken directly from B’tselem reports, without any independent confirmation. B’tselem is a highly political organization whose claims have been consistently shown to be based on Palestinian sources and to be inaccurate.
NGO Monitor’s Executive Director, Prof Gerald Steinberg commented “The status of Jerusalem is one of the central and most sensitive issues in the Arab-Israeli conflict. The flow of European government funds, including from the EU, to political organizations such as B’tselem and Ir Amim, for use in the political war against Israel on the issue of Jerusalem is one of the most damaging aspects of European funding directed against Israel. Similarly, these NGOs should not be abusing their moral claims on human rights and coexistence in order to support efforts to turn back the clock to the dark days of 1948-1967, when no Jews could live or even visit the Old City and the Jewish sacred sites.”
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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:-
‘Europe’s Hidden Hand’, EU Funding for Political NGOs – March 27, 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
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