Sir, – Svein Sevje’s defense of Norwegian activities in the region omits information that contradicts his claim about Norway having a universal “commitment to human rights, democracy and peace” (“What ‘Post’ readers of conscience need to know about Norway,” Comment & Features, May 10).
In 2010 – the most recent figures available – Norway gave the Gaza Community Mental Health Program (GCMHP) $99,000, the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights $165,000, and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) $99,000.
While these NGOs have noblesounding names, they also campaign intensely for BDS and “lawfare” against Israel, and advocate other delegitimization activities – the antithesis of fostering coexistence necessary for peace.
During the June 2009 Goldstone mission hearings, for example, a GCMHP official claimed that “inside Israel there is an identification with the aggressor, the Nazis.” GCMHP also signed petitions for economic and academic Israel boycotts.
Al Mezan, which refers to the “Israel occupation forces,” was responsible for the highly publicized “war crimes” case against Ehud Barak in London in September 2009, among other lawfare efforts. And PCHR regularly describes Israel’s policies as “apartheid” and accuses Israel of “ethnic cleansing,” “war crimes” and the “Judaization of Jerusalem.” It has also lobbied ICC officials to prosecute Israelis.
These NGO activities make peace more difficult to achieve and contradict the policies of Norway, yet the funding continues.
More oversight, transparency and accountability are needed to ensure that governments are aware of the activities – and consequences – of their grantees.
The writer is communications director of NGO Monitor