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Les pseudos-études de Human Rights Watch et d’Amnesty International: une chasse aux sorcières

Il m’est extrêmement pénible de constater l’inanité de mes efforts pour sensibiliser des organisations juives, des traducteurs bénévoles compétents, et certains de mes collègues, impliqués dans la hasbarah - tous gens dont le mérite n’est pas mince, au demeurant -, à un projet commun, dont l’importance et l’urgence ne devraient échapper à personne. Je veux parler de constituer un pool de traduction des meilleurs rapports et analyses, mis en ligne, dans leur grande majorité, par des organisations américaines. C’est le cas, entre autres, des précieuses contributions de NGO Monitor, dont on lira, ci-après, une énième étude. Malheureusement, comme les précédents et d’autres émanant de think tanks et diverses institutions, ce texte n’a aucune chance de sensibiliser les décideurs politiques et communautaires, les intellectuels, les journalistes, ni les hommes et femmes cultivés de bonne volonté, qui ne maîtrisent pas l’anglais. Ceux qui me connaissent savent que je traduis et fais traduire un maximum de documents de qualité, au mieux de mes possibilités et du temps dont je dispose. Il est clair que la tâche dépasse largement les capacités d’un ou de quelques individus. Ce devrait être une entreprise commune de grande envergure, mobilisant les fonds et les ressources humaines indispensables à la réalisation du projet. Même si ma voix doit retentir dans le désert, ou sombrer dans le "bruit et la fureur" du Net, je ne me tairai pas et ne cesserai de lancer cet appel, à la manière dont Ezéchiel a délivré son message, sans tenir compte de l’apathie éventuelle de son auditoire, annoncée par Dieu : "Qu’ils écoutent, ou qu’ils n’écoutent pas..." (Ez 2, 5; 3, 11). (Menahem Macina).


June 2009 Digest (Vol. 7, No. 10)


Focus: HRW and Amnesty: Pseudo-research promotes witch-hunt

On June 30, 2009, Human Rights Watch (HRW) released another pseudo-research report on a very narrow aspect of the Gaza fighting (January 2009), alleging that the IDF fired missiles from drones and illegally “failed to take all feasible precautions to verify that [the] targets were combatants.” As with its March 2009 report claiming white phosphorous use, this report, which lists only six incidents, clearly lacks credibility, is based on unverifiable “evidence” and “eyewitnesses,” and continues a well-established pattern of false claims and a biased agenda. Among other problems, the basic assumption that the weapons (Spike missiles) referred to by HRW were fired by drones is entirely speculative, since, as military experts note, Spikes “can be fired by helicopters, infantry units and naval craft.” Similarly, allegations of civilian deaths and claims regarding the military context rest on Palestinian statements and ideology. Marc Garlasco, the main author and HRW’s “military expert,” has a history of making such pseudo-technical  allegations that lack evidence and simply repeat Palestinian claims, as in the 2006 “Gaza Beach” incident, and regarding IDF actions in the 2006 Lebanon War.

Similarly, Amnesty International published a report entitled Operation ‘Cast Lead’: 22 Days of Death and Destruction (July 2, 2009), charging Israel with “war crimes” during the conflict. As in the case of the HRW pseudo-report, the prejudicial and tenuous 127-page publication ignores considerable evidence that Hamas used human shields, minimizes Palestinian violations of international law, and promotes boycotts and “lawfare” against Israel. The only mention of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit was in a footnote, underlining Amnesty’s double standards in the application of human rights norms. (NGO Monitor is in the process of preparing detailed analyses of HRW’s and Amnesty’s claims.)

Both of these investigations fall far short of the requirements stipulated in the “Lund-London Guidelines” for “human rights fact-finding visits and reports.”

These attacks have been accompanied by the promotion of the UN’s “fact-finding mission” targeting Israel and led by Judge Richard Goldstone. HRW, of which Goldstone was a board member until he resigned after the inquiry began, has issued multiple press releases in support of the biased investigation (April 14, 2009; May 6, 2009; May 17, 2009), lobbied the United States, Israel, Hamas, and the UN on its behalf, erasing the one-sided mandate, inherent double standards and overt bias of some committee members. HRW even condemned President Obama for not mentioning the inquiry in his Cairo speech, and commended Egypt’s “facilitating” of the mission in an overview of the human rights situation in the country. 

Additionally, Amnesty official Donatella Rovera praised Goldstone and the “experts” involved with the inquiry. Israeli NGOs B’Tselem, HaMoked, and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I) have also campaigned in support of Goldstone and submitted statements to the commission.

For further analysis, see also:


Adalah (NIF) and Al Haq (EU) press “Apartheid” rhetoric   

Adalah (funded by the NIF, Oxfam-Novib, Open Society Institute) and Al Haq (Ford Foundation, Diakonia, Norway, the Netherlands) were centrally involved in preparing a pseudo-academic publication, initiated by anti-Israel ideologue John Dugard, entitled “Occupation, Colonialism, Apartheid?: A re-assessment of Israel’s practices in the occupied Palestinian territories under international law.” Commissioned by the Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa, which is funded by the South African government, the study falsely and tendentiously asserts that Israel’s “occupation of these territories has become a colonial enterprise which implements a system of apartheid.”

Officials of Adalah and Al Haq, and Iain Scobbie of Diakonia’s IHL International Advisory Council, were the “principal contributors” and “contributing researchers,” and Hassan Jabareen (General Director, Adalah), Daphna Golan (Minerva Center at Hebrew University), Michael Sfard (lawyer for Yesh Din, Al Haq’s director, and Peace Now), and Gilbert Marcus (Diakonia’s IHL International Advisory Council) consulted on the document. 

Contrary to the “academic” and “legal” claims of the authors, the report advances the Durban Strategy seeking to vilify and even criminalize Israel’s existence, and delegitimizing self-defense measures as “inhumane act[s] of apartheid...perpetrated in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over another” (emphasis added). Both the underlying premise of the research, the attempt to turn the conflict – a political dispute – into one involving race, and the published conclusions are immoral and without basis in international law.

Machsom Watch’s security violations

NIF-and EU-funded Machsom Watch was accused by the IDF of “interfering duties” near Nablus. One activist was allegedly involved in a severe breach of Israeli security, “climbing on the security fence to receive a package from a Palestinian” on the other side. As a result, the army declared three checkpoints “closed military zones” on June 3, 2009, restricting all Israeli citizens from the screening area. (At least one of the checkpoints subsequently became inactive as part of ongoing security cooperation with the Palestinian Authority.)

Yesh Din, also funded by NIF, responded with absurd hyperbole and stripped away the context, stating that “[w]e won’t be surprised if the next step is to ban internet sites, like was done in China.” A coalition of NIF grantees – including ACRI, B’Tselem, Bimkom, HaMoked, PCATI, Adalah, PHR-I, and Rabbis for Human Rights – also protested the decision and ignored the security issues, claiming that “only in totalitarian countries are human rights organizations prevented from being present in areas where there is friction between the military and civilians” (translated from the original Hebrew).


Israeli NGOs join campaign against EU-upgrade

In June 2009, three EU- and NIF-funded NGOs – B’Tselem, HaMoked, and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I) – lobbied the EU “to link the upgrade of EU-Israel relations to respect for human rights and the rule of law.” These groups insisted that the EU impose demands on Israel including: “[an] immediate end to the closure of the Gaza Strip,” “full cooperation with the [Goldstone] UN Fact-finding mission,” and “a criminal investigation into every allegation of torture or ill-treatment of Palestinians in Israeli interrogations” (emphasis added).

The NGO campaign against the EU-Israel upgrade has been a central aspect of their political agenda since June 2008. In February 2009,  Al-Haq, Alternative Information Center, Defense of Children International, Ittijah, and Joint Advocacy Initiative at the YMCA called for the “annulment of the planned upgrade, and the potential suspension” of economic and other agreements between the EU and Israel.

War on Want promotes “Apartheid” demonization

On June 17, 2009, pro-Palestinian activist Ben White published a book entitled Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide. White is supported by Stephen Sizer – a central figure in British anti-Israel Church campaigns, a trustee for Amos Trust, and “Patron” of ICAHD-UK – and promoted heavily by War on Want.

War on Want (WoW),  a major charity that has been the subject of repeated investigations by the UK Charity Commission for its “Fighting occupation in Palestine” campaign, held a publicity event for the book on July 9, 2009, featuring comments by the author and WoW officials, and a “reception with drinks and Palestinian snacks.” Although the organizers claimed that “25 percent of attendees came there to defend Israel,” an official from the British Zionist Federation was banned from the event.

NGOs continue Durban attacks long after Review Conference

On June 5, 2009, the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights held a “debriefing” meeting for NGOs, seeking “feedback” on the Durban Review Conference and strategies for implementation of the Durban Declaration and Program of Action (DDPA). While all Durban-accredited NGOs were invited, attendance was only likely for groups with an active presence in Geneva – the site of the meeting.

Representatives from pro-Palestinian organizations used this meeting to promote their politicized agenda (the NGO comments were recorded anonymously in the UN documents). According to the UN’s summary, “Palestinian NGOs were frustrated with regard to their role in the Durban Review Conference. Although explicitly mentioned as victims in the DDPA, Palestinians were not explicitly mentioned as victims in the Outcome Document [of the Review Conference].” This echoes complaints by “right of return” NGO Badil that the UN “banned side events examining the Israeli regime at the official Durban Review Conference,” highlighting the successful marginalization of radical anti-Israel NGOs in April 2009.

A speaker also “commended” the reference to “foreign occupation,” applauding the condemnation of Israel in the Outcome Document.  Additionally, proponents of the “Civil Society Forum” – a small coalition that met before the Review Conference, and not an official NGO Forum – defended their declaration as “constructive” (excerpt: “We are appalled by the ongoing atrocities, extreme forms of institutionalised discrimination and racist colonialist practices”)and proposed a special meeting with UN officials.

NGO Monitor in the media

European funding for the narrative war, Gerald M. Steinberg, Jerusalem Post, June 28, 2009

UN probe into Gaza conflict, Erin Cunningham, The Christian Science Monitor, June 29, 2009

Twittering Canadian students rebut anti-Israel message of York U conference, Tori Cheifetz, Jerusalem Post, June 24, 2009

Jewish groups blast ´anti-Zionist´ conference at Toronto university, Rapahel Ahren, Haaretz, June 22, 2009

Charity plans ‘Apartheid Israel’ forum, Marcus Dysch, Jewish Chronicle, June 18, 2009

Palestinian human rights group to challenge UK on Israel in High Court, Jonny Paul, Jerusalem Post, June 16, 2009

York’s farce of a conference, Gerald M. Steinberg, National Post, June 09, 2009

NGOs dominate Gaza fact-finding commissions, Anne Herzberg, Jerusalem Post, June 08, 2009

Right of Reply: Many narratives, not one, Larry Garber, Jerusalem Post, June 07, 2009

EU money funding Israel-critical voices in Middle East, Dan Kosky, EU Observer, June 03, 2009

NGO Monitor Blog posts

Guilt by Association: The Boycott Campaign against Israeli Doctors, June 24, 2009

Independent Jewish Voices continues the Durban Strategy, joins BDS movement, June 24, 2009

NIF-funded Coalition of Women for Peace brings controversial play to Israel, June 11, 2009

NGO Monitor submits report to UN Gaza commission of inquiry, June 10, 2009



© NGO Monitor


Mis en ligne le 14 juillet 2009, par
M. Macina, sur le site