(Geneva – Monday, September 26, 2016) At an event held today at the UN in Geneva, NGO Monitor marked 15 years since the notorious Conference on Racism that took place in Durban, South Africa in 2001. The event discussed the enduring, negative impact that conference had in contributing to the exploitation of universal ethical principles, including coordinated efforts to demonize Israel and the emergence of BDS campaigns rooted in the strategy set out by many of the over 1,500 NGOs in attendance.

Among the leading experts who addressed the event were David Harris, CEO American Jewish Committee; Prof. Alan Dershowitz, Professor Emeritus of Law at Harvard Law School; Prof. Gerald Steinberg, President of NGO Monitor; Hon. Michael Danby MP, Senior Member of the Australian Parliament; Amb. Aviva Raz Shechter, Israeli Ambassador to the UN in Geneva; Anne Herzberg, Legal Advisor at NGO Monitor; and Hillel Neuer, Director of UN Watch.

The event also reviewed the lasting impact the Durban conference had on the Jewish community and Israel, and focused on strategic efforts that have since been adopted to combat attempts to isolate Israel internationally as well as address both present and future challenges.

According to Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor, “The Durban NGO Forum launched BDS, lawfare and the demonization of Israel, via ‘soft power’ warfare. It took the Israeli government and Jewish leaders around the world years to understand the threat of this multi-billion dollar industry that exploits human rights. NGO Monitor is playing a central role in providing accountability, and fifteen years later, the ‘halo effect’ which protected many NGOs from scrutiny has been eroded. There is much more work to be done, but the facades of NGO expertise and morality are increasingly visible.”

Addressing the UN event David Harris, CEO of the American Jewish Committee stressed the need for unity calling for organizations such as NGO Monitor, the Australian parliament, UN Watch and AJC to come together in order to restore the mandate of the UN Human Rights Council that was hijacked at Durban.

NGO Monitor provides information and analysis, promotes accountability, and supports discussion on the reports and activities of NGOs (non-governmental organizations) claiming to advance human rights and humanitarian agendas.