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EMHRN was established to “contribute to the protection and promotion of the human rights principles embodied in the Barcelona Declaration,” part of the 1995 Euro-Med framework “with the overall objective of turning the Euro-Mediterranean basin into an area of dialogue, exchange and co-operation guaranteeing peace, stability and prosperity”.
As previous NGO Monitor reports have documented, EMHRN is a major vehicle for biased attacks against Israel by its extremist NGO partners that exploit the rhetoric of universal human rights.
A meeting between Christian Aid and UK Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks resulted in the adoption of a consultation agreement, reflecting the impact of NGO Monitor. According to a December 2, 2005 report in the London Jewish Chronicle this charity will act to prevent repetition of "past controversies" such as the "Child of Bethlehem" campaign and avoid causing "offence to the Jewish community."
This agreement reflects the impact of NGO Monitor´s carefully documented reports highlighting Christian Aid’s unbalanced and politicized approach to the Arab-Israeli conflict, its disproportionate focus on Israel and its pattern of erasing the context of terrorism.
The following is an updated report of Christian Aid activity. The evidence highlights the continued imbalance, failure to use universal moral criteria, and contribution to anti-Israel divestment and boycott campaigns. NGO Monitor will continue to examine the charity´s activities, and report on the measures taken to implement the agreement with the Chief Rabbi´s office.
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The arrest of convicted Hamas activist and alleged fundraiser Ahmad Saltana (a.k.a. Abu Asama) has focused attention on several organizations in Europe that allegedly pose as charities in order to bankroll terrorist activities. The organizations reportedly implicated in this illegal activity include the UK-based charities Human Appeal International and Interpal.
American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA): Aid Activity Tarnished by Political Agenda (with Correspondence)
American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA) is a major NGO that claims to provide "direct financial assistance and/or gifts in kind to Palestinian-Arab refugees and other needy individuals in the Middle East.” With a budget of over $24 million (2005) provided by the US government and a range of private donors and organizations, most of ANERA’s focus is on development assistance and emergency relief, and the quality of these programs is considered to be very high. However, as the following report demonstrates, this NGO also engages in biased anti-Israeli political activities, and its publications erase the context of terrorism and promote the Palestinian narrative while falsely claiming to work with “all people living in impoverished communities”. Such activity contributes to incitement and the resulting violence, and is inconsistent with ANERA’s proclaimed objectives.
Human Rights Watch continues to demonstrate a wider Middle East agenda. Its reports extend beyond a politicized focus on the Arab-Israeli conflict, to include human rights abuses in non-democratic regimes in the region. However, unsubstantiated political attacks on Israel are continuing, as shown in the following summary.
- Swiss Agency for Development & Cooperation (SDC)
- UK Department for International Development (DFID)
- Applied Research Institute Jerusalem (ARIJ)
Summary: The European Jewish Press based its article, “British government attacked over funding” (November 16, 2005) on NGO Monitor’s report on theDepartment for International Development (DFID)and its practice of granting money to organizations that demonize Israel and promote the use of violence. NGO Monitor reports on Christian Aid also played a key role in this charity’s decision to meet with leaders of the British Jewish community, including Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks. The Jewish Chronicle published a story on the issue titled, “Sacks to vet Christian Aid texts”, which noted widespread criticism of Christian Aid’s“Child of Bethlehem” Christmas 2004 appeal, as originally reported by NGO Monitor.
Debate at Tel Aviv
NGO Monitor Editor Professor Gerald Steinberg participated in the three-way debate with Amnon Vidan, Director, Amnesty International, Israel, and Emanuele Giaufret, a representative from the European Commission, on the role of NGOs in the Arab-Israeli conflict on Dec. 7 at Tel Aviv University.
Prof. Steinberg showed that one can no longer discuss international issues without taking into account the work of NGOs, “But the most powerful NGOs, such as Amnesty International, are not bound to any system of checks and balances,” Steinberg said. “People just assume they are unbiased and expert.”
In reality, Prof. Steinberg said the NGO “superpowers,” such as Amnesty, Human Rights Watch, Oxfam, and Christian Aid operate with ideological agendas, mostly from a post-colonial perspective. “Rather than simply engaging in criticism, they are active participants in the conflict,” he said.
Responding to Prof. Steinberg’s criticism, Mr. Vidan said his group was only interested in upholding objective human rights norms. When asked how many reports Amnesty has issued on Hamas’ control of Bir Zeit University or Syrian support for Hezbollah, Mr. Vidan said Amnesty has never issued reports on these areas. “But Amnesty is opposed to those acts,” he said.
Mr. Guaufret gave the final address before the question-and-answer session, praising Israel for developing a civil society, which puts Israel on a par with the countries in Western Europe. He also said he believes NGOs play an important role in the conflict, and the EU will continue to fund projects by various NGOs. In response, Prof. Steinberg noted that the EU’s funding for radical Israeli NGOs under the guise of “civil society” is not consistent with democratic principles.
Rodney Gouttman, “Australian NGOs and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict”, Quadrant, October 2004
Dr. Gouttman, Senior Political Analyst for the Anti-Defamation Commission of B’nai B’rith Australia, addresses the motives of Australian NGOs involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict: “It is a common view that when Australian non-government organisations (NGOs) intervene in overseas areas of conflict, disaster, or great deprivation, their motives are purely humanitarian. Cases do exist, however, where humanitarian programs and projects are also driven by distinct, even overriding, political preference. One example is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
Margaret Wente, “Whither Christian Peacemakers?”, Globe and Mail, December 6, 2005
”The hostages belong to a small activist outfit called Christian Peacemaker Teams, which is described as being engaged in a "humanitarian mission" in Iraq. In fact, the group does not spread the gospel, and its mission is political.”
Badil – “OPT: Palestinian refugees’ right of return remains at core of Palestinian public agenda – Global Palestine Right-of-Return Coalition holds 6th annual meeting”, ReliefWeb, December 5, 2005
"The Coalition also called for the launch of preparations towards a broad public anwareness-raising [sic] campaign around the 60th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba in 2008, as well as for concerted global efforts for campaigns of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel until it abides by international law. … the Coalition considered pros and cons of a new Palestinian strategy which combines the quest for implementation of Palestinian refugee rights with a one-state, rather than a two-state, framework of conflict resolution.”
EU Parliamentarians meet with Radical NGOs.
As part of the 30th interparliamentary delegation from the European Parliament, several NGOs were invited to meet on Saturday, November 26 with the visiting European legislators. Among those NGOs invited were representatives from such politicized groups as Machsom Watch, B’tselem and Yesh Gvul. While NGO Monitor regards the promotion of civil society as a positive step, these groups have demonstrated radical agendas, as documented by previous NGO Monitor analyses.
The annual UN meeting of the Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, which took place on November 29, 2005, included a speech by Chris Doyle, from the International Coordinating Network on Palestine (and Director of the Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding). In addition to repeating the standard rhetoric of demonization, and blaming Israel exclusively for Palestinian suffering, Doyle called on NGOs to continue to promote anti-Israel boycott and divestment campaigns.
The UN held the “International Day for the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People”, a conference in Brussels on Saturday, December 3, 2005. Speakers included representatives from such NGOs as PCHR and al-Dameer, Jean-Luc Onckelinx (Desk Officer for EU and Benelux) and featured a session organized by Belgian Senator Pierre Galand.
Raed El Rafei, “Hayyabina slams politicians over fiefdoms”, Daily Star (Lebanon), November 30, 2005
Lebanese NGO Hayyabina calls attention to the various political and paramilitary organizations in control of different sectors of Lebanon, and calls into question the notion of Lebanese sovereignty.
Irwin J. Mansdorf, "Psychologists for Social Irresponsibility", FrontPageMagazine.com, November 25, 2005
Phyllis Chesler, “False Diagnosis”, FrontPageMagazine.com, November 18, 2005
Psychologists for Social Responsibility accuses Israel of using sonic booms, caused by jet aircraft flying at supersonic speeds, as a means of psychological warfare against Palestinians in Gaza. PSR’s lobbying and media campaigns ignore the ongoing Palestinian terror, including launching of missiles against Israeli cities, and the attempt by Israel to use non-lethal means to end these attacks.
Gerald M. Steinberg, "Can Europe provide security?", Jerusalem Post, December 5, 2005
”The EU transfers millions of euros to support radical anti-Israel non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that exploit the rhetoric of human rights to promote boycotts and divestment campaigns.”
PHR-I Holds Politicized Conference at BGU. On November 29, the pseudo-medical political group Physicians for Human Rights – Israel held a conference entitled “Health Professionals and Dual Loyalty” at Ben Gurion University of the Negev in the southern Israeli city of Be’er Sheva. The conference, which was co-sponsored by the university’s health sciences faculty, featured opening remarks by university president Prof. Avishai Braverman, who recently announced his candidacy for the Knesset. PHR-I’s activities are funded by the European Union and individual European governments.
Gerald M. Steinberg, “The Mary Robinson Dilemma”, Canadian Jewish News, November 24, 2005
“How should we respond to people who joined the political war against Israel and are now trying to rehabilitate themselves? Mary Robinson is a case in point …Ignoring warnings, Robinson led the UNHRC and the non-governmental organization (NGO) network into the UN-sponsored World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa, in 2001.”
UN-based NGO Coalition Issues Recommendations for new Human Rights Council. On November 22, the UN Human Rights Commission convened in Geneva to discuss proposals for reforming the body into a new Human Rights Council. At the meeting, a coalition of 38 NGOs together issued a joint recommendation that the new Council exclude “abusive regimes”, be given equal status to the Security Council, adherence to the principle of equality before the law, as well as specific state-membership selection criteria. According to Hillel Neuer, director of UN Watch (one of the coalition NGOs), “States seeking election to the Human Rights Council should be required to demonstrate, in the words of the Secretary-General, ‘a solid record of commitment to the highest human rights standards’.”
“Presbyterian Church USA & Families of 9/11 Victims Delegations Meet with Hizbullah”, MEMRI, November 23, 2005
In late October, a delegation from the Presbyterian Church USA went to southern Lebanon to meet with a Hizbullah terrorist commander. According to delegation spokesman Robert Worley, “we want to hear about the charity activities and the cultural and social activities organized by Hizbullah in south [Lebanon]. The Americans hear in the Western media that Hizbullah is a terrorist organization, and they do not hear any other opinion. … We have suffered much pressure on the part of Jewish organizations in the U.S. because [of our help in] divesting corporations working with Israel.” (For more information on divestment in the Presbyterian church and other churches, see the NGO Monitor section on Boycotts and Divestment Campaigns.
Lawrence Hart, “Local groups threaten Sharon”, Canadian Jewish News, November 22, 2005
Based on Amnesty and B’Tselem reports, a group of extremist anti-Israel Canadian NGOs are petitioning the federal government to bar PM Ariel Sharon from entering Canada, in the process demanding that pro-Israel government ministers recuse themselves from the issue.
Pranay Gupte, “For Bayefsky, Keeping Eye on U.N. Is a Crucial Mission”, New York Sun, November 17, 2005