Summary: The Canadian NGO ‘Alternatives,’ continues to host and showcase explicitly anti-Israeli political views that are antithetical to its proclaimed human rights objectives. Using the facade of human rights, Alternatives betrays its anti-Israeli bias.
The Canadian NGO ‘Alternatives,’ which was the subject of an NGO Monitor analysis in February 2004 (Analysis (Vol. 2, No. 6), continues to host and showcase explicitly anti-Israeli political views that are antithetical to its proclaimed human rights objectives. On March 3, 2004, the group’s website published three items in which Israel was the subject of partisan attacks.
In an article attributed to the Palestine Monitor, Israel and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon were accused of planning “to practically transform the area [Gaza] into a series of prisons.” The article highlighted purported instances of land appropriation by the Israeli Defense Forces with no corresponding discussion of Israeli security concerns.
In relying on and amplifying the claims of Palestine Monitor, Alternatives demonstrates its clear anti-Israel political agenda. Palestine Monitor, a ‘civil society’ media source, is a major source of incitement, including exaggerated accusations and headlines leveled against Israel, including one published on March 9 entitled “Israel marks International Women’s Day with the killing of two young Palestinian mothers.” This explicit propagandizing is all the more disturbing since Palestine Monitor is a project of the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO), which in turn receives money from Alternatives itself.
An article by Palestinian National Initiative Secretary General Mustafa Barghouthi, posted by Alternatives on March 3, made further partisan accusations. Dr. Barghouthi accused Israel of “furious diplomatic activity to sabotage the hearing” by the International Court of Justice on the anti-terror barrier. The substance of this charge is based on the specious attempt to discredit the legal briefs submitted by Israel, the EU, Canada, the U.S. and many other countries – Alternatives apparently believes that the legal process is itself a form of “sabotage”.
In addition, Alternatives posted an interview with Barghouthi on March 3. In this interview, Barghouthi characterizes Israel’s seizure of terrorist funds as ‘bank robbery’ and declares that peace with the Sharon government is an ‘illusion.’ Asked whether the “al-Aqsa Intifada” (the Palestinian campaign of terror that began in September 2000), which has resulted in the death of hundreds of innocent Israelis and Palestinians, had served the Palestinian cause, Barghouthi said Palestinians had ‘definitely gone forward.’ “For seven years the Palestinians waited for Oslo to produce results, and for seven years Palestinians almost did not perform any act of resistance, not even civil resistance while Israel was building settlements. And it came to a point where Palestinians could not take that anymore.” If Alternatives were, in fact, interested in human rights, it would not have given a voice to Barghouthi’s language and attempt to excuse these attacks as ‘acts of resistance’ rather than acts of terror.
In addition, given the opportunity to condemn such terrorism, Barghouthi refuses. “What is the Palestinian National Initiative’s (PNI) position in regards to suicide bombings?” the interviewer asked. “We promote and advocate mass popular non-violent struggle,” Barghouthi responded, but rather than condemning these attacks as barbaric violations of basic human rights, he noted that they “didn’t serve the interest of the Palestinians.” One must conclude that if it served the interests of the Palestinians, Barghouthi would endorse such terrorism.
Alternatives continues to present itself as an objective NGO dedicated to human rights around the world. Through this fa?ade it has achieved a level of popular prestige and a place in federally-sponsored programs such as CIDA’s NGO Project Facility. The continued publication of explicitly anti-Israeli articles, with no critical analysis or counter-argument, betrays Alternatives’ anti-Israeli bias. Alternatives must end its one-sided treatment of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the Canadian government must review its affiliations with this highly partisan group.