17 July '15..
The Western world is full of charities that do nothing but good, such as fight disease; help the less fortunate, or offer legal protection. But there are other sorts of charities, the so-called non-governmental organizations (NGOs); these often work on the international stage, supposedly for human rights, humanitarian aid, and peace. These NGOs are funded by foundations, businesses, private persons -- oh, and governments. They exist in astonishingly large numbers: 1.5 million in the US, 2 million in India, and thousands in Europe, over 500 of which are lobbyists in the European Parliament. The total income of OECD-linked NGOs amounts to around $16 billion. Unfortunately, some of these betray their love of humanity by adopting discriminatory policies.
Many of these NGOs -- especially those heavily dependent on government money -- seem to be driven by an ideological or political commitment, and are inevitably drawn into political engagement.
In a desire to help the underdog, wherever he may be, many NGOs make ideological choices as to whom they place in that category, and who falls into the category of "oppressor." This view often means that their good work may be used as "air cover" for people and actions that are less admirable.
It is not uncommon to find NGOs ignoring human rights abuses in countries they seek to have as allies, or with whom they are obliged to work. Sometimes, NGOs adopt a political stance that is deliberately prejudiced or prejudicial. The vast majority of politicized NGOs, whatever their original remit, are those who condemn only one country and who do so time and time again. That country is, of course, Israel. Within Israel, the community they attack is, without exception, the Jewish community. Israelis, it seems, can never do right, while on their borders, the Palestinians, who are seen as underdogs and victims, can never do wrong.
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Denis MacEoin is a lecturer in Arabic and Islamic Studies. He has an MA in Persian, Arabic and Islamic Studies from Edinburgh University, a PhD in Persian Studies from Cambridge (King's College) and an MA in English Language and Literature from Trinity College, Dublin.