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Posted at 3:45 PM ET, 12/ 9/2010

Mourning on International Human Rights Day

By Jennifer Rubin

Tomorrow is International Human Rights Day, the anniversary of the United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Right issued in 1948. But, a new report by the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor, an organization that investigates and sharply criticizes many self-described human rights groups as thinly disguised anti-Israel outfits, suggests there is no reason to celebrate.

I spoke by phone today with NGO Monitor's president, Gerald Steinberg. He makes the case that NGOs funded in large part by European governments and the EU have hijacked the rhetoric and legal framework of international human rights to "launch political warfare against Israel but also against democracies more broadly." NGO Monitor has released an updated monograph, "NGO 'Lawfare': Exploitation of Courts in the Arab-Israeli Conflict." By releasing the report to coincide with International Human Rights Day, Steinberg explains that NGO Monitor is trying to make the case that the "dominant actors who control a lot of the agenda" are some of the worst offenders and apologists for human rights abusers.

The report is exhaustive, and persuasive, documenting how NGOs employ human rights lingo (e.g. "disproportionate force") and international conferences, coordinate with the Arab League, and use the International Criminal Court and international legal principals, such as "universal jurisdiction," for a single purpose: to vilify the state of Israel and undermine its right of self-defense. We have seen such ludicrous abuses as the issuance of an arrest warrant by the ICC against Kamida chief and former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni.

One of the more egregious examples in the report demonstrates the link between European governments and Palestinian groups, which under the banner of "human rights" launch daily assaults on Israeli sovereignty. A press release from NGO Monitor announcing the new monograph described how the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) filed arrest warrants "in multiple countries against Israeli officials, primarily for 'war crimes' over the 2002 targeted killing of Hamas terrorist Salah Shehade'." The money for this, roughly $400,000, was provided in 2005 by the Dutch affiliate of Oxfam, which diverted European Union grant money for the "Abolition of the Death Penalty Project," a project supposedly intended to abolish the death penalty "in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, applied by the Palestinian National Authority via judicial death sentences and via extrajudicial executions." The money was actually used by PCHR to strategize with attorneys on its "war crimes" lawsuits.

NGO Monitor has repeatedly criticized the non-transparent funding and lack of oversight of NGO groups, and it has supported a bill in Israel's Knesset to require NGOs to disclose their foreign funding sources. Recently, NGO Monitor revealed that the anti-Israel propaganda website Electonic Intifada has been funded by the Dutch government, via the aid group Interchurch Organization for Development Cooperation. Steinberg told the Jerusalem Post, "Based on our experience, we assume that the top Dutch government officials are completely unaware of the link between money given to ICCO for aid, and Electronic Intifada, a group whose rhetoric and activities undermine hopes for mutual understanding."

The conversion of "human rights" advocacy into virulent anti-Israel "lawfare" is nowhere more evident than in the UN Commission on Human Rights, which devotes nearly all its energies to condemning and investigating Israel. Steinberg says, "The U.S. role in the UNHRC needs to be thoroughly debated." He dismisses the administration's argument that "it would be worse" without our participation. He says, "It's hard to argue that there is any value derived by sitting with some of the worse human rights perpetrators." Indeed, the UNHRC steers clear of human rights abuses in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Libya and China, while launching investigations of Israel's involvement in the flotilla incident and preparing to follow up on the Goldstone Report, which labeled as "war crimes" Israel's military actions in the Gaza strip in response to Hamas's shelling of innocent civilians.

The months to come will see more opportunities for exploitation of human rights forums. The Durban III conference is scheduled to meet in New York. That promises a replay of the infamous predecessor Durban I, which turned into an "anti-Israel circus," as the late Rep. Tom Lantos described it. Groups will continue to use the ICC to indict and seek the arrest of Israeli officials, and, unless the White House thinks better of it, the UNHRC will proceed on its vendetta against Israel with the full participation of the U.S.

The death of a legitimate international agenda to protect human rights and promote democracy is reason to mourn on International Human Rights Day. In point of fact, the greatest force for human rights and democracy is and will remain the United States, if only the administration would step up to the plate to, among other things, denounce the NGOs who make a mockery of the cause they pretend to advance.

By Jennifer Rubin  | December 9, 2010; 3:45 PM ET
Categories:  Human Rights, Israel, foreign policy  
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Damn, now I owe a friend $5. I lost the bet on whether or not you could get through a day without an Israel post. I was shall we say overly optimistic.

Just for the record, no opinion at all on this, so I happily yield the field to beniyyar, whom I am actually starting to enjoy chatting with.

Posted by: 54465446 | December 9, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

It is a function of liberal pretzel logic that the NGO's roundly condemn Israel while turning a blind eye to the abuses of the arab nations. The only rationale I can imagine is that the NGO's staff are basically cowards. It is far safer to criticize a democracy, where restraint on the government is evident, then to criticize despots who feel no such restraint on behavior.

Were some puffed up self affected NGO to issue a statement critical of, oh say, Assad in Syria, the Hezbullah would be issuing fatwas via their leader and spiritual mentor Hassan Nassrallah and the weenies and the NGO would have to go into hiding.

Yeah, it takes a lot of courage to hammer at Israel while ignoring the massive abuses that are commonplace elsewhere.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | December 9, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

You might want to note that U.N. rights chief Navi Pillay has decided to skip Friday’s Nobel award ceremony for imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo. Yet another abdication of Human Rights by the UN.
Interestingly, the major newspapers have decided not to publish stories on this latest UN outage. More here:

Posted by: Lumiere1 | December 9, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

54465446 at 3:55 PM

I haven't heard your response to my points that Obama has to drastically alter his stimulus to the Middle Class - because too much of that money is leaking to China.

Obama's stimulus money is actually in a "debt spiral" Obama borrows once to give the money to people - then when they spend the money on foreign goods, we have to borrow the money again to finance the trade deficits.

This is making the problem WORSE - not solving the problem. The problem with the economy right now IS THE TRADE - we are not solving anything - we are simply accelerating the borrowing and debt spiral.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 9, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: RainForestRising

RFR,Please pay attention,the most important result of Asset backed currency is to prevent Trade deficits. If you don't understand why,it's quite simple,right now trade deficits force cash oversea,and is held by Chinese Companies,or China itself. If that money is backed by Gold,any weakness in the Dollar forces the dollars back to us,and the Gold flows overseas. This is a huge disincentive to having trade deficits. But,it also stops Outsourcing cold,because placing a company in China means that those goods that are made by that American Company in China are sold to the US,and Dollars flow to China,etc etc etc. The goods sold to American Companies via their Chinese subsidiaries are not reexported,but are sold internally here. Again,this system is only possible if we have a Fiat currency system.

Posted by: rcaruth | December 9, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse


I'm trying to respect the topics of the thread.

Posted by: 54465446 | December 9, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Obama is still putting the nation in a DEBT SPIRAL.

When Obama gives money to the Middle Class the way he has, he ENTERS THE DEATH SPIRAL

First, Obama is borrowing to do the spending and to make the tax cuts.

Then, as that money is spent on Chinese and foreign goods, borrowing has to take place to finance the TRADE DEFICIT

Then, when the INTEREST is due on all that debt, Obama BORROWS AGAIN.

It is a DEATH SPIRAL OF DEBT - and it is killing the country.


Posted by: RainForestRising | December 9, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Obama is still putting the nation in a DEBT SPIRAL.

When Obama gives money to the Middle Class the way he has, he ENTERS THE DEATH SPIRAL

First, Obama is borrowing to do the spending and to make the tax cuts.

Then, as that money is spent on Chinese and foreign goods, borrowing has to take place to finance the TRADE DEFICIT

Then, when the INTEREST is due on all that debt, Obama BORROWS AGAIN.

It is a DEATH SPIRAL OF DEBT - and it is killing the country.


Posted by: RainForestRising | December 9, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Obama thinks he is this great Keynsian

Instead of the money multiplier - Obama has the DEBT MULTIPLIER

Obama is borrowing to give the Middle Class tax cuts

- Borrowing to finance the trade deficits with China and other foreign nations.

- and then Borrowing again to finance the interest when it is due.


Posted by: RainForestRising | December 9, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

54465446 at 6:31 PM

Rarely have I seen you or others respect the topic of the thread.

However, the last thread of the day is traditionally an Open Thread in any event.

The Trade situation and the proposed Compromise is the subject most are debating now.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 9, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse


The major difference between the 1930s and now is the Free Trade deals - and the stimulus money is leaking out of the nation now to stimulate China's economy, not our factories.

Obama has taken this one step further - insisting on diverting the stimulus money (last time and in the proposed Compromise) to Middle Class tax cuts which run right away out of the country to foreign countries.

Remember: in the 1930s, they had Smoot-Harley Tarriffs, which were blamed in part for making the depression worse. However, in an odd way, they could have made getting OUT of the depression easier by limiting the leakage of money out of the country.

We don't have Smoot-Harley now - we have an entirely different set of issues - We are now in the OBAMA DEBT SPIRAL, and the Economy is hurting.

Obama is insisting on diverting the tax cuts to areas which DO NOT spur job growth - Obama's motivation is purely that he doesn't like the rich getting anything - NOT sound economic policy.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 9, 2010 7:13 PM | Report abuse

I think this is the vote on Don't Ask

Not Voting

Brownback (R-KS)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Lincoln (D-AR)

It is telling that Joe Manchin voted NO, which is what I have been telling all of you lately and no one seems to listen

And Ben Nelson voted yes.

The House democrats sabotaged this vote today more than anyone - because they were not going to allow this to go forward before the tax compromise was settled.

And the liberals have been working against themselves for the past month - pushing to SLAM the Republicans on one issue, while seeking their votes on the other items of the liberal agenda.

It is a contradiction that just doesn't work.

Incredibly, the liberals still don't seem to get it.


Posted by: RainForestRising | December 9, 2010 7:45 PM | Report abuse

RFR, who are the "most" you reference in your 7:07pm post? Other than you, it seems pretty quiet to me at the moment. Oh, and could you shout a bit less, please? We do hear you.

54465446, sticking to thread topics is noble in its way, but misguided. Ms. Rubin writes new posts like a quad-shot espresso addict bolting 'em down, and I for one am too laid back to bother keeping up.

On another WAPO op/ed blog the conversation often veers off to youtube videos, recipes, gardening, humor, books and bears. Those who want to stick with the thread topic can do so, but there's room for multiple conversations.

Posted by: MsJS | December 9, 2010 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Ok if you want to know, here it is.

It's really a puzzle why we are calling this stimulus, since there is almost no stimulus in the package. Almost everything is exactly the same on January 1st as it was on December 31st. The only exception being that workers have a few more hundred dollars in reduced payroll taxes, and businesses get to move up a tax credit by a few years.

So the same policies which have existed during our current essentially jobless recovery, which has been ongoing for 9 months to a year now, will continue BUT somehow they will produce an entirely DIFFERENT employment result in the next 12-24 months.

Is it me?

(Rick Santelli compared it this morning to stepping off a curb and not getting hit by a passing bus. It's great that you didn't get run over, but nothing else has changed in your life.)

Posted by: 54465446 | December 9, 2010 11:17 PM | Report abuse

When we judge a country on its Human Rights record,we must include all segments of the population.While the Human Rights record for Israeli citizens,Arab or Jew, may be comparatively good,as it was for whites in Apartheid South Africa,we are errant if we dismiss the ethnically cleansed Palestinians under occupation as we may have dismissed Africans under Apartheid.On the whole,Israel has much to answer for on human rights abuses against the Palestinian people.

Posted by: mango4 | December 10, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

and right on cue mango4 provides the liberal position on human rights.

The palestinians routinely kill each other. Throwing political opponents from the roof of buldings is right now the most common form of debate among the arabs.

the liberals need to answer a few simple question: Who has killed more arabs, the Israels, or the arabs? Why do Israelis live in settlements while the arabs in palestine live in camps? How long must the world fund the palestinians before they stop throwing rocks and rockets and find gainful employments?

Why is Iran spending a fortune on nuclear development instead of providing material assistance to their brothers in "palestine". Why don't the saudis, the jordanians, the syrians, insert arab country here, support the palestinians materially?

spare me the bigotry mango man. It is a short putt from anti israel to jew hater. Have you crossed the line?

Posted by: skipsailing28 | December 10, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

@mangot4. Youe post is a product of taqiyya. In S. Africa under Apartheid the blacks were woefully surpressed at every turn, this is not true of the 1.2 mil Muslim citizens in Israel as their standard of living is far higher than any their neighboring Muslim states. As for ethnic cleansing,(here you are using kitman,my friend) that fate befell the Jews of all of the Middlet Eastern countries not only in 1948 (in numbers virtually identical to the Palestians. Dhimmitude, jizya and the Pact of Omar are open and shut evidence of the apartheid visited upon Christians and Jews in the M.E. from the seventh century till the present--thirteen centuries plus. The P.M. of the Palestinean territories said there will not be a single Jew in the state of Palestine. The PM mandates killing every Palestinean selling land to a Jew. In Jordan, it is forbidden to confer citizenship or sell property to a Jew, even if he is not an Israeli but a Jew from every part of the world. Similar restrictions apply in Egypt, and both of these nations have peace treaties with Israel. In the Palestinean territory, in and around Bethlehem, Christian businessmen are being forced to pay an extortion tax merely to operate.Small wonder they are leaving.We haven't even mentioned the massacres of the Christian parishoners and their priests during mass last month in Egypt last month,the house burnings of Egyptian Christians, and the murder of a son, his father and the maiming of the father's other son simply because a Muslim and a Christian were suspected of dating, all in the last month sir. Please sir, do not lecture at Israel or any other Western leaning democracy about having "much to answer for on human rights abuses" before taking a sustained, introspective walk followed up by a long, long look in the mirror.

Posted by: hancock1 | December 10, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

We, as a Western Nation, should not participate in any formal discussion on Racism where Israel cannot control the narrative and instill glaring double standards.

Thank you

A. Pawn

Posted by: dblakeross | December 15, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

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