For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
Gerald Steinberg/NGO Monitor Staff NGO Monitor 02 February '10
To ACRI, Bimkom, B’Tselem, Gisha, PCATI, Yesh Din, HaMoked, PHR-I, Rabbis for Human Rights, and New Israel Fund (NIF):
The recent attacks directed against NGO Monitor’s detailed research represent a dangerous attempt to prevent free speech and informed public debate on the political role of some NGOs. In particular, in your February 1, 2010 letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu, you tendentiously referred to NGO Monitor as an “extreme group” that “unleashed an unrestrained and inflammatory [attack],” and implied that we are the “rotten fruits” of Israeli democracy; B’Tselem’s US representative, Mitchell Plitnick, labeled us “extremists” and “right wing”; and, a few months ago, an NIF employee posted an indecent graphic on his blog (which was later removed) to illustrate his opinion of NGO Monitor’s publications.
These characterizations are inconsistent with claims to uphold the mantle of human rights and democracy in Israel. Contrary to the implications of your letter, NGO Monitor has never contested the right of civil society organizations to exist or to criticize. And if your rhetoric about upholding free speech in Israel were matched by your policies, you would uphold our right as an independent research organization, and the rights of NGOs that do not share your political views, to do the same.
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"