Release Date: 4 February 2009  

New Gaza Study: Extreme NGO Anti-Israel Bias; Will Continue in Courts and ‘Durban II’

(Jerusalem) – Jerusalem based watchdog, NGO Monitor today released a new comprehensive report analyzing NGO coverage of the recent Gaza conflict.  The report titled ‘The NGO Front in the Gaza War’ documents the enormous output of over 500 statements by over 50 NGOs in the month covering the fighting and its immediate aftermath.  These statements are characterized by overwhelming condemnation of Israel, devoting minimal attention to Israeli human rights and casualties.  This trend is set to continue, both through the continued NGO pressure to prosecute Israeli leaders for ‘war crimes’ in foreign courts and the upcoming ‘Durban II’ conference.

NGO Monitor’s report describes the consistent manipulation of international law by NGOs in their statements on Gaza.  False accusations of Israel’s ‘illegal’ ‘collective punishment’ and ‘disproportionate response’ have been refuted by legal experts, yet were consistently employed by numerous groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.  Oxfam even called for political action, declaring ‘The international community must not stand aside and allow Israeli leaders to commit massive and disproportionate violence against Gazan civilians in violation of international law’. These same groups were markedly hesitant to condemn the widespread and illegal use of human shields by Hamas.  NGOs such as B’tselem, Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) and Oxfam published unverified ‘eyewitness’ evidence and unaccountable casualty figures throughout the conflict, which have since been refuted.  These claims helped create an assumption of Israeli guilt and were repeated and amplified by the media, influencing the conflict itself.         

Human rights NGOs maintain a long-standing overwhelmingly hostile attitude towards Israel.  This includes vilification of Israel over the Second Lebanon War, the Jenin ‘massacre’ and Gaza itself.  In 2008 alone, NGOs issued over 300 statements in condemnation of Israel’s policy regarding Hamas-controlled Gaza.  This contrasts with a handful of statements condemning the thousands of rockets fired on Israel from Gaza since the Disengagement in 2005.     

This trend is set to continue through the persistent attempts by NGOs to bring ‘war crimes’ charges against Israeli military and political leaders in international law courts.  NGOs including Adalah, Amnesty International and Ittijah have already called for charges to be brought over Gaza.  NGOs have led numerous similar initiatives in recent years, as documented by the NGO Monitor study ‘Lawfare’.  These include the cases against Doron Almog and Shaul Mofaz in the UK courts, brought with the assistance of PCHR and against Avi Dichter in USA by PCHR and Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR).   Not one court has upheld these spurious charges, yet these cases have continually succeeded in publicly demonizing Israel.

The NGO Gaza campaign against Israel will also likely be maintained in preparations for the UN Durban Review Conference, scheduled for April 2009.  At a recent preparatory meeting, Badil, a Palestinian NGO, reportedly utilized the ‘atrocities taking place in Gaza’ in an attempt to include the Palestinians in the ‘list of victims of racial discrimination’ to be discussed at the conference.

NGO Monitor’s Executive Director, Prof Gerald Steinberg commented, "The NGO campaign in the Gaza conflict further erodes what remains of the moral foundation and the universality of the human rights movement.  The consistent attempt to demonize Israel in the media and in the courts while turning a blind eye to the illegal activities of Hamas demonstrates that many human rights groups have lost their moral compass."        

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Editors Notes:

Please click here to view ‘The NGO Front in the Gaza War’ study in full

Please click here to view the ‘Lawfare’ study in full

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:-

The NGO Front in the Gaza War – Jan 29, 2009

HRW’s Gaza ‘Collective Punishment’ Hoax  – June 16, 2008

‘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

For further information, comment or interviews, contact Paul Gross

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