Rights and Accountability 23 October 2020
A campaign to undermine the work of Palestinian human rights organizations by conflating them with “terrorist” groups has suffered a significant blow.
The government of the Netherlands said earlier this month that “there is no reason to assume” that there are links between Al Mezan, a human rights group in Gaza, and the left-wing Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
Dutch funding of Al Mezan had come under question by Geert Wilders, leader of the Freedom Party, and two other members of parliament belonging to the far-right group.
The lawmakers raised accusations of “Dutch aid money for Palestinian terrorists” after the publication of a document smearing Al Mezan authored by NGO Monitor, an anti-Palestinian group with close ties to the Israeli government and settler movement.
The document rehashes formulaic smears long used by organizations close to Israel against Palestinian human rights groups working towards accountability at global bodies such as the International Criminal Court.
NGO Monitor describes Al Mezan as “highly active in anti-Israel lawfare campaigns” and criticizes it for making “attempts to secure arrest warrants for Israeli officials for alleged ‘war crimes.’”
The Jerusalem-based group asserts that photos and posts published on social media demonstrate links between Al Mezan board and staff members and the PFLP and Hamas, which are designated as “terror” groups by the European Union.
In its seven-page response, the Dutch government states that it “takes such allegations seriously” but declares NGO Monitor’s claims to be unfounded.
The Dutch government affirms that raising alleged violations to international bodies are “legitimate” and standard activities for human rights groups.
It added that it objects to social media posts concerning armed resistance made by Al Mezan staff members in their personal capacity. It adds that these posts were raised with Al Mezan, which it said would see to their removal.
However, international consensus recognizes that occupied and colonized peoples have the right to armed resistance against foreign domination.
And while it places onerous conditions on funding to Palestinian nongovernmental groups, the EU rewards Israel for its crimes.
The result is an increasingly “shrinking civic space” in which Palestinian human rights groups may operate – as intended by the Israeli government and its proxies.
While welcoming the Dutch government’s response to the claims made by NGO Monitor, Al Mezan called for the unequivocal rejection of “malicious incitement” intended to shield Israel from accountability.NGO Monitor, which presents itself as a charity watchdog, has fostered alliances with far-right figures and parties in Europe as part of its efforts to shore up unconditional support for Israel.
It is part of a general trend of groups closely aligned with Israel finding common cause with extremists in Europe, including Holocaust deniers.Wilders’ anti-Muslim views were extensively cited with approval in the manifesto of Anders Brevik, who massacred dozens of people in Norway in 2011.
The Dutch politician has also thrown his support behind Israeli efforts to annex West Bank land in violation of international law.
Ten years ago, NGO Monitor targeted a Dutch aid group for its financial support to The Electronic Intifada, relying on the scurrilous and defamatory claims that are characteristic of its smear campaigns.
Now the US State Department is relying on NGO Monitor’s claims as it is reportedly moving to declare prominent international organizations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Oxfam as “anti-Semitic.”
The State Department is singling out those groups because of their advocacy for Palestinian rights.
Massive resources have been deployed to stifle the work of organizations challenging Israeli impunity.
But despite this bullying, accountability may be nearing as the International Criminal Court inches closer towards opening a full investigation into war crimes in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Earlier this year, Israeli media reported that the government is compiling “a secret list of military and intelligence officials who might be subject to arrest abroad” should an ICC investigation proceed.
- Geert Wilders
- Al Mezan Center for Human Rights
- Freedom Party
- NGO Monitor
AI and HRW are NOT defending Palestinians' right really, but to
Permalink Lidia replied on
AI and HRW are NOT defending Palestinians' right really, but to Zionists only Nazis and Anti-Semites could be tolerated, since the foundation of Zionist colonization enterprise .
AI and HRW mostly attack foes of USA imperialism and Zionism, of course, but still it is not enough to Zionists.
Permalink Frank Dallas replied on
If what has been done to the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza had been done to Americans, the ICC would have acted long ago. Israeli impunity is an interesting phenomenon. Why does the world collude in the Zionist delusion that Israel can do no wrong because the Jews suffered the Nazi genocide? The Arabs bear no responsibility for what the Nazis did, yet Ben Gurion called them "the pupils and even the teachers of Hitler, who claim that there is only one way to solve the Jewish question-..total annihilation." We could all laugh at the waywardness of this, of course, if it wasn't so serious. Sasson, of the Jewish Agency, asked the Palestinians: "Who are you and what influence do you wield?" Such modesty. Such understanding. Ben-Gurion declared that "the Arabs cannot accept the existence of Israel. Those who accept it are not normal." Lovely double bind. Even if the Arabs accept Israel they are in the wrong because it proves their abnormality. In May 1949, Truman said: "If the government of Israel continues to reject the basic principles of the UN resolution of December 11 1948.. the US government will....be forced...." Yes, he tried to bring the Israelis into line, but what happened? Simple, Israel would not pay the price of peace and manipulated its way out of difficulty, not least by undermining the Palestine Conciliation Committee. The impunity arises from the world's unwillingness to face down Israel in its racist aggression and the cause of that is that Israel is a proxy for US power in the Middle East and is also, despite its kibbutzim movement, a beacon of capitalism, and today, right-wing government of capitalism. European socialists lie down and let Israeli tanks roll over them in the foolish belief that this is a defence of those persecuted by the Nazis. Cry Holocaust, and Israel can commit any crime or atrocity and be, not merely forgiven, but applauded. The confusion is deliberate. The impunity disgraceful.
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