NGO Monitor – Watching the Watchers Redux

The Israeli hasbara organisation, NGO Monitor, has taken foul, unsubstantiated swipes at Electronic Intifada and its co-founder Ali Abunimah.

NGO Monitor’s International Advisory Board consists of:

Elie Wiesel
Professor Alan Dershowitz
Fiamma Nirenstein
Elliott Abrams
Amb. Yehuda Avner
Tom Gross
Col. Richard Kemp
Douglas Murray
Judea Pearl
Judge Abraham Sofaer
Ruth Wisse
R. James Woolsey

Several of these individuals have cross-over links with US neocon and pro-Israel establishments. Click on highlighted names to find out these people’s associations and in which organisations they are involved. Some of these include the Committee on the Present Danger, Avi Chai Foundation, JINSA, Koret Foundation and the Hoover Institution. The Koret Foundation is also a major donor to NGO Monitor.

As noted in October 09, one of NGO Monitor’s co-sponsors is the Wechsler Foundation, a non-profit [sic], tax-exempt US organisation, which, along with other US-based sponsors, pad NGO Monitor with US taxpayer funds to undermine the work of peace organisations in Israel and Palestine, and the independent journalism represented by Electronic Intifada, in the interests of the Israeli and US economic elite.

Another of NGO Monitor’s major funders is the United Jewish Communities, which was formed from the 1999 merger of United Jewish Appeal (UJA), Council of Jewish Federations and United Israel Appeal, Inc and the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), which partners with the Jewish Agency in Israel.

From the JFNA site:

United Israel Appeal (UIA), as part of The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), is a principal link between the American Jewish community and the people of Israel. An independent legal entity, UIA is responsible for the distribution and oversight of funds raised by U.S. Federation campaigns on behalf of Israel for use by its operating agent, the Jewish Agency for Israel, and for securing and monitoring funds for the immigration and absorption of Jewish refugees and humanitarian migrants to Israel from countries of distress. It is with the Jewish Agency as our partner, that UIA assists American Jews to fulfill their ongoing collective commitment to contribute to and participate in the upbuilding of the Jewish State of Israel.

Further:

UIA allocates and monitors funds raised by Federation campaigns in the U.S. for UIA’s operating agent JAFI, Israeli NGO’s and the over 1000 physical projects constructed in Israel with funds from U.S. donors.

As recounted on this blog several days ago, the Israel-based parent body of the United Israel Appeal, Keren Hayesod, sealed a deal with the Israeli government in October 2010.

‘Leading the projects that Keren Hayesod will support is Prime Minister’s Office project regarding national heritage sites. Keren Hayesod has taken it upon itself to raise funds in order to supplement the Government budget and expand the scope of the project.’.

On February 21, 2010, Netanyahu presented a Cabinet Communique outlining earmark funding of the ‘national’ heritage project.

The list of sites submitted here is neither closed nor final. It can and will certainly include other sites. I also intend to include Rachel’s Tomb, to the rehabilitation of which the Jewish Agency has allocated NIS 20 million, and the Tomb of the Patriarchs. Since I was asked, I would like to make my intentions clear, and this is what will be.

UNESCO recently insisted that Israel remove the Cave of the Patriachs and Rachel’s Tomb, both located in the Palestinian West Bank, from its list of national heritage sites as they are sites of mosques. Abbas and Haniyeh have also requested the sites be removed from Netanyahu’s proposed national heritage trail. Netanyahu has refused to do so.

In essence, US taxpayer money is diverted through Israeli front organisations in the US, which also fund NGO Monitor, to illegal Israeli government projects in the Occupied Territories.

You can donate to worthy online journalism at Electronic Intifada here.

UPDATE

Haaretz journalist doubles as anti-“delegitimization” operative

Haaretz has an international reputation as Israel’s most liberal and reliable newspaper. But The Electronic Intifada has discovered that one of the newspaper’s regularly-featured reporters, Cnaan Liphshiz, used his news reports for the publication to promote the agenda of an extreme pro-Israel group with which he was also employed.

At the same time, Liphshiz appears to have made efforts to conceal his work with the Dutch Zionist group CIDI (Centre for Documentation and Information on Israel), an undisclosed conflict of interest which calls into question the reliability of his reports and the editorial standards of Haaretz.

From 2007 until the present, Liphshiz has written about 50 articles in Haaretz which quote information provided by CIDI or its executive director Ronny Naftaniel, usually without offering any countervailing opinion or sources. Many of Liphshiz’s stories are based entirely on information provided by CIDI.

CIDI has confirmed to The Electronic Intifada that Lipshiz worked for the organization, and is likely to work for them again in the future.

CIDI has earned a reputation as one of the staunchest advocates for Israel in the Netherlands, launching stinging personal attacks and smears on public figures and groups who dare to call on Israel to respect human rights. In an article for The Electronic Intifada, Stan van Houcke, a Dutch journalist and author, described CIDI as an organization whose main goal is to cover up Israel’s violations of international law (“Dutch ‘research’ group covers for Israeli crimes,” violations, 5 November 2007).

UPDATE 10/2/12

What can public records tell us about NGO Monitor’s funding sources?

2 comments to NGO Monitor – Watching the Watchers Redux

  • Palestinians want Bethlehem on UN heritage list

    The Palestinian Authority is to launch a campaign to get the West Bank town of Bethlehem, Jesus’s traditional birthplace, added to UNESCO’s list of world heritage sites, officials said on Sunday.

    The Palestinian tourism ministry will launch the drive on Monday to get the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation to recognise the “Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage route,” to their list, a ministry statement said.

    “Palestine is home to some of the most important heritage sites in the world. One of the most striking and universally significant is the Old City of Bethlehem and the birthplace of Jesus,” the statement quoted Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat as saying.

    “The Palestinians are eager to share their heritage with the rest of the world,” he added.

    The heritage of the Holy Land has taken on central role in the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

    Last November Israel reduced its cooperation with UNESCO in protest at its description of Rachel’s Tomb, a Jewish holy site near Bethlehem, as a mosque.

    Rachel’s Tomb, built over what is believed to be the burial place of the biblical matriarch, is the third holiest site in Judaism, but also considered a holy place for Muslims.

    Earlier this year, Israel announced plans to include Rachel’s Tomb and the Tomb of the Patriarchs in a national heritage restoration plan, a decision criticised by UNESCO as “escalating tension” in the area.

    Israel defended the decision at the time, saying the plan involved only restoration work and promising there would be no attempt to change the delicate status quo at these sites.

  • Muzzlewatch adds their support for Electronic Intifada and disgust with NGO MonitorM:

    There is good news here- thus far EI reports that no action has been taken thus far to end their funding. Presumably anyone who does so would have to actually substantiate NGO Monitor’s spurious charges. Good luck with that.