NGO Monitor Denies Truth for Israel
by Stephen Lendman
NGO Monitor "was founded to promote accountability, and advance a vigorous discussion on the reports and activities of NGOs claiming to promote moral agendas, such as humanitarian aid and human rights."
In fact, it's a Jerusalem-based pro-Israeli front group. It disseminates propaganda, other misinformation and hate. It debases legitimate human rights organizations, independent journalism, and other truth, equity and justice advocates.
Its founder and president Gerald Steinberg teaches political science at Bar Ilan University. Students in his classes lose out. He also founded Bar Ilan's Program on Conflict Management and Negotiation. In addition, he participates in Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism (ICCA) workshops, and various other organizations promoting pro-Israeli issues.
On February 19, The Times of Israel published his article titled, "Israel's vibrant democracy." He called it "as robust and pluralistic as any in the world." He claims no protest or advocacy restrictions, "including very fierce and unpopular criticism of the government and military."
He said "(n)o other democracy can claim to have greater freedom of expression, despite more than six decades of war and terrorism; threats of annihilation; and (various challenges) of developing a cohesive society based on numerous divergent communities" with no democratic traditions.
His claims read like bad fiction. Like America, free expression's dying. Dissent's an endangered species. War and state terror are official policies. Democracy's on the chopping block for elimination. Arab citizens have none. Neither do most Jews denied social justice. Israel's privileged alone have rights, no others, and conditions keep getting worse.
Like America, racing to the bottom forced mass privatizations, welfare and benefit cuts, and massive wealth shifts to corporate favorites and rich elites. Predictable poverty, hunger and homelessness followed. Growing human need's unmet.
Unaddressed social gaps divide mainly along religious, ethnic and national lines. Inequality's near the highest among developed countries.
Protests raged last summer against unaffordable housing, high food and energy prices, low wages and eroding social benefits, onerous working household taxes, lost education and adequate healthcare benefits, weak labor rights, misallocated settlement construction, the high cost of raising children, and more.
Netanyahu's government is Israel's worst ever. Racist discrimination defines it. Repressive laws deny Arab citizens fundamental rights. Occupied Palestinians are virtual prisoners, especially besieged Gazans. They're also war zone victims under frequent air, land and sea attacks.
Steinberg admits Israel's "not perfect - like other nations, we have flaws, and it is our responsibility to correct them. But aggressive campaigns greatly exaggerate these imperfections (to) delegitimize Israel."
In fact, Israel delegitimizes itself. Its policies reveal its deeply flawed character. Its credentials exclude electoral freedom. Free expression's gravely threatened. Critical NGOs face extinction. Minority rights never existed and don't now.