[Click here to read Prof. Gerald Steinberg’s op-ed “Human Rights, European Money and the ICC Wars,” The Times of Israel, January 6, 2014]

Decade-long campaign by European government-funded groups, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty

Jerusalem – The decision by the Palestinian Authority to sign the Rome Statute, a step towards joining the International Criminal Court (ICC), follows more than a decade of intense lobbying and propaganda campaigns by NGOs (non-governmental organizations). These groups promote legal warfare, or “lawfare,” against Israel, according to Jerusalem-based research institute NGO Monitor.

Detailed research by NGO Monitor documents the role of NGO superpowers such as Amnesty International and and Human Rights Watch, as well as European-funded NGOs Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Al Haq, Diakonia, and FIDH, in lobbying for such a move.

“Attempting to litigate the highly charged Arab-Israeli conflict in the ICC could spell the end of the court, and the NGOs and their European funders will be responsible,” said Anne Herzberg, NGO Monitor Legal Advisor. “While the Palestinian leadership and the NGOs may get some short-lived propaganda victories in their political war, they may soon find they got more than they bargained for.”

NGO Monitor notes that European governments are major funders of the NGOs involved in these campaigns, often through secretive and irresponsible processes that lack transparency and accountability. Palestinian Center for Human Rights is funded by the EU, Norway, Ireland; Al Haq receives funding from Ireland, Belgium, Spain, and Norway; and FIDH is funded by France, EU, Sweden, Norway, and Ireland. Diakonia, a Swedish church-based NGO, is primarily funded by the Swedish government.

One of the main mechanisms for supporting legal warfare against Israel is the Secretariat, a joint funding framework of Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland. Managed by the Institute of Law at Birzeit University, the Secretariat has supported NGOs’ legal campaigns in accordance with the Palestinian political narrative and goals.

“Ironically, in order to convince governments to support the ICC, Human Rights Watch has argued for years that the court would never be exploited for political maneuvers by the Palestinians.” continued Ms. Herzberg. “Once again, Human Rights Watch has been proven wrong.”

The campaign to prosecute Israeli officials at the ICC is bolstered by Israeli NGOs, such as Adalah and Yesh Din, which promote the falsehood that the Israeli justice system lacks due process in order to justify efforts for politicized international “war crimes” cases. Both are funded by European governments and the New Israel Fund (NIF).

Ms. Herzberg concluded, “Given that the Palestinians have committed tens of thousands of war crimes against Israeli civilians, they may find themselves facing prosecution not only for war crimes but crimes against humanity and genocide.”

For more information on NGO legal warfare against Israel, including the ICC campaign, see:

European funding for NGOs involved in the ICC campaign

NGOEuropean Government Funders
Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR)European Commission through Oxfam
Norwegian Refugee Council
Oxfam Novib (Netherlands)
Christian Aid (UK)
Dan Church Aid (Denmark)
Trocaire (Ireland)
KZE through MISEREOR (Germany)
Al HaqIreland
Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (joint funding Denmark, Netherlands Sweden, Switzerland)
Christian Aid (UK)
ICCO (Netharlands)
Diakonia (Sweden)
International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)Sweden
European Commission
Organisation internationale de la Francophonie