Sabeel Conference (Chicago)
The Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center, through its "Friends of Sabeel" support network, held a conference in Chicago. 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, and Mayor Richard Daley sent a widely-criticized welcome letter. The Chicago conference is set to be the first of four to be held in October, with three more to follow in Toronto, Denver and Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
For additional information, see:
- The Coalition for Responsible Peace in the Middle East
- Manya A. Brachear, "Event at seminary draws fire: Palestinian Christian group targeted by foes", Chicago Tribune, October 9, 2005.
- Michael C. Kotzin, "Discredited Christian theology and the new anti-Semitism", United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, September 9, 2005.
Interfaith Group Confronts Sabeel’s Naim Ateek
During a recent inter-faith mission, leaders from American Jewish organizations and Protestant church groups met with Sabeel director Rev. Dr. Naim Ateek and confronted him over statements which they felt "denied the legitimate right of the Jewish people to live in their land, and echoed medieval anti-Semitic canards". Mission participants declared, as noted by NGO Monitor, that Sabeel "has been the driving force behind the scenes pushing mainline Protestant denominations to adopt a policy of divestment against companies doing business with Israel."
"Interfaith Mission to Israel Leads to ‘New Trust’ Between Jewish And Protestant Leaders; Jews Hope for End To Divestment Campaign", Anti-Defamation League, September 26, 2005.
- Church Committees Recommend Against Divestment
The UK-based "charity" War on Want, which has been central in the boycott campaign, has failed to convince the Church of England to divest from the Caterpillar, whose construction equipment is used by the Israel Defense Forces. According to War on Want, "The Church’s Ethical Investment Advisory Group (EIAG) has been examining whether its investments in Caterpillar are consistent with the Church’s ethical investment policy, which prohibits investment in arms companies. The EIAG has now rejected calls for divestment…." To read the War on Want press release, click here.
Similarly, the Social Responsibility in Investments Committee of the Episcopal Church has submitted its recommendations that the church not divest from companies doing business with Israel, but instead pursue a policy of "corporate engagement" in order to influence "positive changes in Israeli government policy… as well as urging the Palestinian Authority to oppose violence as a means of resistance." In its deliberations, the committee consulted with several pro-Palestinian NGOs, including Sabeel, ICAHD, B’Tselem, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights and the Christian Peacemaker Team in Hebron, as well as representatives of the Palestinian Authority, and of several pro-Israel organizations. The church’s Executive Council is considering the recommendations at its meeting being held October 7-10 in Las Vegas.
For more information, see Matthew Davies, "Israel/Palestine: Report recommends corporate engagement, positive investment" , Episcopal News Service , October 3, 2005.
At the United Nations 2005 World Summit on September 14, British Prime Minister Tony Blair addressed the Security Council on the issue of terrorism, focussing specifically on the role of propaganda and incitement. As noted in numerous NGO Monitor analyses, the activities of politicized NGOs contribute significantly to this incitement and the justification of terrorism.
Terrorism "won’t be defeated until we unite … in fighting the poisonous propaganda that the root cause of this terrorism somehow lies with us around this table, and not with them. They want us to believe that somehow it is our fault, that their extremism is somehow our responsibility. …. We must unite … against those who incite, preach or teach this extremism, …and also by eliminating our own ambivalence…. "
Click here to read Prime Minister Blair’s Statement
"The Funding for Peace Coalition (FPC) welcomes the initiative of the EU to strengthen the credibility of NPOs in their valuable work around the world. We are pleased to submit respectfully our comments to the Commission on the published Draft Recommendations to Member States regarding a Code of Conduct for Non-profit Organisations to Promote Transparency and Accountability Best Practices.
"The FPC welcomes and supports the Commission’s initiative and draft document, while noting that there are certain key elements which require significant strengthening; in particular:
- The need to combat hatred aimed at inciting terror and violence.
- The need for NPOs to sign a declaration and maintain an agreed set of standards.
- The need to recognize violence and declare it as such openly.
- Sanctions against NPOs and officials who deliberately flout the rules."
In an op-ed appearing in ‘s National Post , Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz called attention to Amnesty International’s debilitating anti-Israel bias, which prevents them from effectively addressing human rights issues. "By heaping disproportionate blame for the evils of the world on the Jewish state, these anti-Israel zealots are not only ignoring the real problems faced by many, they are also providing excuses to the perpetrators of real evils."
Alan M. Dershowitz, "Scapegoat to the World" , National Post , September 17, 2005
(See also Alan M. Dershowitz,"Ugly iceberg of bigotry", Jerusalem Post , October 12, 2005)
After referring to NGO Monitor analyses, Dershowitz concludes: "There is no indication that, even as the Jewish state takes painful steps toward peace, these unjustified attacks are diminishing." The following Amnesty press release illustrates the point by focusing solely on the effects on Palestinians of security measures, while ignoring the terrorism which continues to necessitate their implementation.
"Israel/Occupied Territories: Prolonged Closure of the Gaza-Egypt Border and Arbitrary Restrictions to Freedom of Movement should be Lifted" , Amnesty International , October 7, 2005
The European Coordinating Committee of NGOs on the Question of Palestine (ECCP), headed by Belgian Senator Pierre Galand, is holding a meeting on October 8 to promote their radical anti-Israel agenda. The stated objective is to coordinate between NGOs, trade unions, academics, and churches in promoting sanctions and isolation of Israel. The participants include other politicized NGOs, including PNGO and PCHR.
NGO Monitor has documented Christian Aid’s disproportionate focus and biased approach to Israel and its pattern of erasing the context of terrorism. The organization, that claims to "further charitable purposes, which relieve or combat malnutrition, hunger, disease, sickness or distress throughout the world", promotes its political agenda under the guise of humanitarian aims. These activities provide support and legitimacy to political campaigns such as the divestment effort.
As the foreign aid arm of the federal government of Canada, the Canadian International Development Agency distributes over C$2 billion annually around the world in line with government priorities for international development. The largest portion goes towards the division covering the Middle East, where CIDA funds numerous highly politicized organizations with documented anti-Israel agendas. The materials and activities of several of these NGOs call into question the degree of oversight accompanying Canadian funding for international projects.
Dan Izenberg, "Group to renew petition to High Court against policy of targeted killings", Jerusalem Post, September 26, 2005.
The Judgment on the Fence Surrounding Alfei Menashe – HCJ 7957/04, Supreme Court of Israel, September 15, 2005.
Gerald Steinberg, "EU-funded NGOs behind Almog lawsuit", Jerusalem Post, September 13, 2005. (PCHR)
"Regional Civil Society Forum on the Information Society for the Middle East and West Asia unexpectedly banned by government authorities", The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, August 25, 2005.