Release Date: 8th October 2008    

Groundbreaking Research Reveals NGO Manipulation of Legal Systems, Supported by European Governments

(Jerusalem) – Jerusalem-based watchdog NGO Monitor yesterday launched groundbreaking new research.  The in-depth study, titled NGO "Lawfare": Exploitation of Courts in the Arab-Israeli Conflict, reveals how NGOs have manipulated legal systems across the world.  With little legal basis, NGOs have campaigned to criminalize anti-terror operations of the State of Israel and its leaders.  Although no court has rendered a verdict in favor of the plaintiffs, these cases have successfully and dangerously promoted anti-Israel publicity, restricted the movement of Israeli military figures and endangered Israeli foreign trade.     

Since 2001, NGOs have brought several spurious charges against Israel and its leaders.  These include the accusations of ‘genocide’ and ‘war crimes’ against Ariel Sharon supported by Badil in the Belgian courts, which immensely damaged Israel’s international image.  Meanwhile, cases brought against Doron Almog and Shaul Mofaz in the UK courts with the assistance of the NGO Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) and against Moshe Ya’alon and Avi Dichter in USA by PCHR and Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), threatened to seriously restrict the movement of Israel’s military leaders.  A similar case is currently under consideration in Spain.  CCR also accused the company Caterpillar of ‘war crimes’ in the USA courts over its sale of equipment to the IDF, which endangered Israel’s foreign trade relations.          

The NGO anti-Israel campaign through the courts is worryingly funded by the European Union and a series of mainly European governments.  PCHR is funded by the European Union and the Danish, Norwegian, Dutch and Irish governments.  Meanwhile Al-Haq, an NGO which brought a case to the UK courts in 2006, on behalf of the alleged Palestinian victims of Israel’s security barrier, is funded by the Swedish, Canadian, Norwegian and Irish governments.   

The campaign through the courts is only one example of NGO radical anti-Israel activity.  Many NGOs, including PCHR supported and organized the recent ‘Free Gaza’ publicity voyage. Another European funded NGO, Gisha, recently campaigned extensively for seven Fulbright scholars to leave Gaza to study in USA, only for those allowed to travel to be returned to Gaza by the American authorities amid security concerns. 

The ‘Lawfare’ study was released by NGO Monitor on Tuesday 7th October at the Mishkenot Sha’ananim Conference Center in Jerusalem.  The following panel of experts commented and debated on this important research.  Prof Gerald Steinberg, Executive Director of NGO Monitor presented the research itself and outlined recent anti-Israel NGO activity, including plans for the ‘Durban II’ conference in April 2009.  Meanwhile, Doron Almog recalled his own experience at the hands of NGO ‘Lawfare’, having been unable to enter UK in 2005 following a petition by PCHR and the NGO Yesh Gvul.  He analyzed the effect of these cases on Israel’s military establishment and called for a coherent strategy with which to effectively tackle this phenomenon.  Finally, former head of the International Department at Israel’s Ministry of Justice, Irit Kohn, reflected on her own work defending Ariel Sharon in the 2001 Belgian court case, and examined the limits of universal jurisdiction. 

On the launch of ‘Lawfare’, Prof Gerald Steinberg commented “This publication exposes the NGO bombardment of the world’s courts with bogus claims against Israel.  Given that not one court has upheld their complaints, it is clear that NGOs continue to manipulate judicial systems, not out of concern for human rights, but as part of the campaign to demonize Israel.”          

Maj Gen (Res) Doron Almog commented “My own experience, as a target of NGO claims through the courts, has made me far more aware of the dangers that NGOs pose.  Crucially, this research will alert more people to their motives.  It is critical that the State of Israel take note and do everything possible to tackle this dangerous phenomenon.”  

Based on her experience, including the Sharon case in Belgium, Irit Kohn commented “The problems of universal jurisdiction become more pronounced when unsubstantiated evidence is submitted by various parties, including NGOs, with the goal of influencing public opinion for the sake of their own agenda”

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Editors Notes: 
The NGO Monitor ‘Lawfare’ press launch took place on Tuesday 7th October at 11am at the Mishkenot Sha’ananim Conference Center in Jerusalem

The full ‘Lawfare’ study can be viewed at the following link:

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:-

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, photos, comment or interviews with any of the press launch participants, contact Dan Kosky +972 (0) 546-305-504 
NGO Monitor – 1, Ben Maimon Blvd. – Jerusalem 92262 –   Israel – T: +972-2-566-1020
F: +972-77-511-7030    E: