Table of Contents:
- NGO Monitor’s Analyses of Government Funding For NGOs
- Swiss Agency for Development & Cooperation (SDC); Report and SDC Response
- Department for International Development (DFID)
- CIDA: Canadian Reactions to Ngo Monitor Report
- Will Reforms at the United Nations Lead to a Review of the Influence of Politicized NGOs?
- Update: Is The NGO-Led Divestment Effort Losing Support?
- HRW’s Broadened Middle East Agenda Continues
- Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN): Discrepancy Between Mission and Actions Continues
- NGO Monitor In The News
- NGO News Updates
Swiss Agency for Development & Cooperation (SDC); Report and SDC Response
In response to NGO Monitor’s report "Analysis of NGO Funding: Swiss Agency for Development & Cooperation (SDC)", the SDC’s Gaza & West Bank office wrote that "SDC and the Swiss Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs strongly reject the unobjective and anchorless critique" by NGO Monitor. NGO Monitor’s answer noted that SDC had not responded to the detailed evidence presented in the report, and its attacks on the integrity and accuracy of NGO Monitor’s report were without merit.
This exchange consists of a letter from the Swiss Cooperation Office for Gaza & the West Bank to NGO Monitor – following the "Analysis of NGO Funding: Swiss Agency for Development & Cooperation (SDC)" – and a response from NGO Monitor.
Department for International Development (DFID)
DFID is the “part of the UK Government that manages Britain’s aid to poor countries and works to get rid of extreme poverty”. In the Middle East, DFID claims to reduce Palestinian poverty by encouraging development, but significant funding goes towards politicised NGOs that campaign on external agendas as opposed to internal development, and use their status to demonize Israel.
CIDA: Canadian Reactions to Ngo Monitor Report
NGO Monitor’s report, "Assessing Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) Funding for Political NGOs", triggered significant discussion in Canada.
Significant reforms and re-examination of UN procedures and policies are taking place, with widespread implications for links between this body and the influential NGO network. Although the anti-Israel bias in the UN has been less pronounced in 2005 (see Warren Hoge, "U.N. Is Gradually Becoming More Hospitable to Israel", New York Times, October 10, 2005), the pro-Palestinian agenda, propelled by the NGO network remains strong.
In the October digest, NGO Monitor reported on developments in the anti-Israel divestment campaign, including four conferences held by Sabeel in which representatives of other politicized NGOs, including KAIROS and ICAHD director Jeff Halper, also participated. These conferences generated significant opposition, particularly the Toronto conference (see "CIDA: Canadian Reactions to NGO Monitor Report" above), and led some analysts to discern a decline in the influence of these NGOs and in support for divestment. According to Besser (see below) "a Chicago conference by one of the Palestinian Christian groups that has played a major role in several divestment votes [Sabeel] failed to generate much interest, suggesting its influence may be waning."
- Michele Chabin and Stewart Ain, "Christian Capital", The Jewish Week, October 28, 2005
- James D. Besser, "’Turning Point’ Seen In Divestment Campaign", The Jewish Week, October 14, 2005
Responding to ongoing criticism of a biased and politicized agenda in the Middle East, the activities of Human Rights Watch in 2005 continue to reflect a changed emphasis, as seen in the following developments.
Human Rights Watch’s report of October 3 condemns the abuses of human rights by insurgent groups in Iraq. Entitled "A Face and a Name: Civilian Victims of Insurgent Groups in Iraq", the report rejects attempts to justify attacks against civilians. Sarah Leah Whitson, director of HRW’s Middle East and North Africa division, is quoted as declaring; "There are no justifications for targeting civilians, in Iraq or anywhere else". (Note that HRW’s report condemning Palestinian terrorism, “Erased in a Moment”, was issued in October 2002 but was rarely referenced in subsequent activities.) See "Iraq: Insurgent Groups Responsible for War Crimes", Human Rights Watch, October 3, 2005
Other HRW publications and activities since NGO Monitor’s September review of HRW’s publications on the region focus heavily on the treatment of dissidents in Arab countries. This constitutes an important change in the HRW agenda in the Middle East.
Following NGO Monitor’s letter to the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the UN regarding the proposed appointment of HRW Advocacy Director Reed Brody to head the special procedures division, this nomination has been frozen.
In addition, Joanna Weschler, HRW’s long-serving UN advocacy director, has left the organization for a research position at the Security Council Report.
In conflict with its goal to “support and publicize the universal principles of human rights,” the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) is continuing to fund and publicise the work of NGOs that selectively exploit human rights terminology for partisan political objectives. Members such as the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) and Al Mezan still use EMHRN to demonize Israel, at the expense of genuine campaigns to protect Palestinian human rights. This biased approach brings EMHRN into conflict with the policies of the EU as expressed by the Quartet.
NGO Monitor was cited in media reports from across the political spectrum in the past month. The New York Jewish Week, in an article called "Christian Capital" quoted NGO Monitor reports on Sabeel’s role in the campaign to divest from Israel. The article mentioned Sabeel’s recent conference in Chicago where “speakers made allegations of ethnic cleansing against Israel and of employing chemical weapons against Palestinian civilians. The conference served as a platform to promote divestment from Israel, the NGO Monitor noted.”
- Gerald M. Steinberg, "The ‘Yasser Arafat War’ is over", The Jerusalem Post, November 6, 2005
- IRIN News, "SYRIA: Palestinian refugees complain of persecution and seek to leave", Reuters AlertNet, October 20, 2005 (CPT)
- Alexander Joffe and Asaf Romirowsky, "Academics against Israel", The Jerusalem Post, October 19, 2005
- Gerald M. Steinberg, "The myth of international law", The Jerusalem Post, October 15, 2005
- Robbie Sabel, "The ICJ Opinion on the Separation Barrier: Designating the Entire West Bank as ‘Palestinian Territory’", Jerusalem Viewpoints, No. 535, October 2, 2005