NGO Monitor used misleading translation to smear human rights defender

NGO Monitor, the extremist pro-Israel ‘watchdog’, routinely attacks individuals and groups that it sees as ‘anti-Israel’. But, even taken at face value, is “promoting critical debate and accountability” advanced by duplicitously smearing those who stand up for human rights?

In April 2011, following Judge Richard Goldstone’s op-ed on the UN report bearing his name, NGO Monitor tweeted the following:

This is a strong, and damaging, accusation: that Raji Sourani, director of the internationally respected Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) would ‘spread’ a “Jewish conspiracy libel”.

The link is to a short item on Israeli news site Perhaps because it’s in Hebrew, NGO Monitor thought no one would check. But in fact, Sourani says nothing whatsoever about a ‘Jewish conspiracy’. The relevant part of the article says:

According to [Sourani], over the past two years Goldstone has been under “a huge psychological war which was managed by Jewish and Israeli organizations, with the goal of pressuring him until he changes his position.”

Unapologetically then, NGO Monitor is happy to insinuate antisemitism, even based on an incorrect translation. A few days ago, NGO Monitor tweeted to colleague Ali Abunimah that they don’t use the term antisemitism “lightly”. Worse than that – they use it to smear human rights defenders.


Ben White

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Ben White is a freelance journalist, writer and activist, specialising in Palestine/Israel. His articles have been widely published in the likes of The Guardian‘s Comment is free, Al Jazeera, Electronic Intifada, New Statesman, and many others. He is the author of ‘Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide’ (2009, Pluto Press) and ‘Palestinians in Israel: Segregation, Discrimination & Democracy’ (2012, Pluto Press). Ben is a researcher/writer for the Journal of Palestine Studies.