Summary: The fact that the major international NGOs failed to issue an immediate condemnation of the anti-Semitic attack and only issued a condemnation in light of a second attack raises serious questions as to the methodologies used by human rights NGOs.
The major international NGOs were noticeably silent following the recent double suicide bombing of two Synagogues in Istanbul, 15 November 2003. HRW only produced a condemnation November 20 following separate bombings of the British Consulate and a branch of the HSBC bank. Although the condemnation mentioned in passing the Synagogue bombing, it made no reference to the specific targeting of Jews or anti-Semitism. Judging from the fact that HRW was silent until the second wave of bombings, it is likely they would not even have mentioned the anti-Semitic attack on the local Jewish community, resident in Turkey for over 500 years.
Similarly, Amnesty International also issued a condemnation five days after the Synagogue bombings and immediately after the British embassy and HSBC attack. It should be noted that Amnesty failed to mention the Synagogue attack even in its news section, updated on a daily basis and marketed as a resource for journalists interested in human rights issues.
EMHRN, founded to promote dialogue and respect for human rights and diverse cultures throughout the Euro-Mediterranean region, simply re-posted the two press releases of Amnesty and HRW, again on 20 November. Because Turkey and the topic of anti-Semitism are very relevant to EMHRN’s missions statement, it is surprising that the NGO firstly did not produce a report and secondly, waited until a second round of bombings to condemn the Synagogue attacks.
Many other human rights NGOs ignored all together the attack. Oxfam and Miftah, both of whom advocate universal agendas failed to even produce a passing news item.
The fact that the major international NGOs failed to issue an immediate condemnation of the anti-Semitic attack and only issued a condemnation in light of a second attack raises serious questions as to the methodologies used by human rights NGOs.