16 October '15..
The current wave of terror throughout Israel cannot be separated from the decades-long effort of the Palestinians and Arab States to demonize Israel and erase Jewish self-determination in the land of Israel. These campaigns include massive propaganda denying deep Jewish historical roots and presence in the region, boycotts and sanction attempts, and the rank exploitation of international legal and human rights rhetoric to bolster rejectionism.
A central manifestation of this political warfare is to erase the context of Palestinian terrorism and justify illegal attacks on Israeli civilians as a so-called “right of resistance”. The primary foot soldiers in this battle are dozens of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that claim to promote human rights. They are bankrolled by European governments and the European Union with hundreds of millions of pounds, kroner, francs and euros. Any time Palestinians inflame violence, these NGOs can be counted on to use their European taxpayer funds to issue hundreds of glossy publications, interactive media, and advertisements that deny Palestinian violence and condemn any and all Israeli measures to combat it. Their constructed narrative becomes ubiquitous in newspaper articles and on European radio and TV, and they offer a stream of anti-Israel invective at the UN and in European parliaments.
The latest campaign of Palestinian atrocities has been no exception. As during the 2014 Gaza War, NGOs funded by the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, and Switzerland via the Birzeit University Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat, have been the most offensive and profoundly immoral. The output of NGOs funded under this framework raise interesting questions their European government backers should be asking themselves.
For instance, on October 8, Secretariat grantee Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem hosted Adalah (also a recipient of Secretariat funding) to propagandize to Israeli Arab law students about “Israel’s attempts to Judaize [Jerusalem] and alter its historical Palestinian Character.” This in the midst of massive Palestinian incitement over the Temple Mount and rampant stabbing attacks. Questions for the NGO funders: Do the Civic Coalition and Adalah deny that Jews have historical connections to Jerusalem? Does holding such an inflammatory event while a tsunami of violence centered on the Temple Mount mitigate conflict?
Al Haq, recipient of a $710,000 grant from the Secretariat, issued an “action alert” condemning Israel for “targeting Occupied East Jerusalem” and the the “Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound” and complained that the Israeli police set up metal detectors at the entrances of the Old City. According to this Al Haq agitprop, such measures were not to prevent deadly stabbing attacks and other violence, but rather to “entrench[...] Israel’s control and illegal annexation over East Jerusalem,” and to “enflame tensions.” In character, Al Haq concludes with demands for an “embargo on military aid” to Israel and a “ban on the trade of settlement goods.”
The same statement incredulously laments the death of Palestinian Ghasan Abu Jamal, “who was shot dead by Israeli police in November 2014 after allegedly attacking a synagogue in West Jerusalem.” Of course, Jamal was shot on scene, interrupting his murderous rampage. It is unclear who exactly Al Haq believes hacked and shot at the worshipers in Har Nof, but perhaps its Dutch, Swiss and Scandinavian government benefactors can ask and find out. At the same time, Al Haq’s donors could ask the NGO that if metal detectors are an illegal and disproportionate means of preventing violence, what exactly would be an acceptable measure?.
In another egregious example, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), which has also received more than $700,000 from the Secretariat (and millions from the European Union and other governments), denied stabbings in Jerusalem had taken place, calling the incidents “alleged” and referred to the civilian victims as “settlers.” More questions for PCHR’s European government bankrollers: How does PCHR think Palestinian terrorists determine who is a “settler” before killing them? Does PCHR believe that all Israelis regardless of where they live are “settlers”? Does PCHR think the murder of “settlers” is justified?
The erasing of Palestinian terrorism and demonizing Israel is nothing new for these organizations. Last June, they held events at the UN in conjunction with the presentation of the UN Schabas-Davis report on the 2014 Gaza War, promoting BDS, accusing Israel of deliberately murdering children, and endorsing a “right of resistance.”
It is no surprise that these NGOs are the most active at the UN. In addition to financing their absurd commentary on the conflict – European funding pays for salaries, plane tickets, hotels, and advertising. European diplomats are seen unabashedly palling around with these anti-Israel activists in UN halls, and they are permanent fixtures at the immoral NGO events.
One final question: It would be useful to know from these diplomats just how much they agree with the NGO messaging they are financing?
Anne Herzberg is the Legal Advisor of NGO Monitor, a Jerusalem-based research institute. She is the author of “NGO ‘Lawfare’: Exploitation of Courts in the Arab-Israeli Conflict”.