Exposing cheating human rights organizations

July 11, 2019 21:45
4 minute read.
A balloon found at Gaza crossing to be used as an incendiary device.

A balloon found at Gaza crossing to be used as an incendiary device.. (photo credit: DEFENSE MINISTRY)


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Israel seems to have increasing difficulties combating the asymmetric warfare of Hamas. Fire balloons are frequently sent by children from Gaza to create arson in Israel. Sometimes, the balloons even carry explosives. Hamas uses hospitals and ambulances for military purposes. These are difficult for Israel to attack without violating human-rights law. During various Israeli campaigns, Hamas used human shields for its terrorist activities. 

By following international humanitarian law, Israel fights with one hand tied behind its back against Palestinian terrorist organizations with genocidal plans. That can remain only reasonable as long as it defeats the terrorists resoundingly. Protected by international humanitarian law, Hamas can further improve the techniques of its asymmetric warfare. The damage done by Hamas long ago exceeded what is considered “reasonable” by many Israelis.

Over the years, a false aura of humanity and decency has surrounded all human rights organizations. A first step for Israel toward changing policies in fighting asymmetric warfare has to be a profound analysis of the human rights community. This would include detailed exposure of those in the human rights realm who, to various degrees, are characterized by evil. 

A detailed study should calibrate human rights bodies on a scale from genuine to evil. At the top of the list of those classified as evil should be the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). Many of its member states are dictatorships. UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer has summed it up: “The United Nations Human Rights Council, located in Geneva, has a standing agenda item against Israel. Israel is the only country specifically targeted at every meeting. Not even major human rights abusers like China, Cuba, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria or Zimbabwe are subjected to such treatment.”

The Israeli government, Israeli media and friends of Israel should start to call this body the UNHRD – United Nations Human Rights Distorters. If this is done consistently, this expression will slowly creep into the public domain.

The aberrations in regard to criticism of Israel of one of the larger human rights organizations, Human Rights Watch are widespread. Even its founder, the late Robert L. Bernstein, wrote in The Washington Post: “Most shockingly, human rights groups have become the unwitting accomplices of the United Nations as almost every mainstream human rights group has ignored hate speech and incitement to genocide, not only against Israel but against all Jews.” Bernstein observed more specifically: “Human Rights Watch, which I founded 33 years ago, continues to attack many of Israel’s defensive measures during war, yet it says nothing about hate speech and incitement to genocide.”

NGO Monitor, which follows the abuse of Israel and Jews by human right organizations, has listed also examples of antisemitism by another major international human rights organization, Amnesty International.

THE 2001 UN World Conference against Racism in Durban, South Africa, was an international example of a UN-sponsored gathering of Israel-hatred. Edwin Black has published extensively on the Ford Foundation’s funding of anti-Israeli hate groups. He reported that it gave more than one million dollars to the Palestinian Committee for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment (LAW), which was a key organizer of the antisemitic hate campaign in Durban. Black notes that the Dutch charity Cordaid and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg were other major funders of LAW. This NGO was accused of defrauding donors and apparently closed down a few years later.

What is true for human rights NGOs is valid as well for the distortion of international human rights law by international courts and lawyers. International lawyer Meir Rosenne, a former Israeli ambassador to the United States and France, said: “There are two types of international law; one is applied to Israel, the other to all other states. This comes to the fore when one looks at the way Israel is treated in international institutions.”

As a typical example, Rosenne mentioned the 2004 International Court of Justice advisory opinion on the Israeli security fence. “In its judgment, The Hague court decided that the inherent right of self-defense is enforced only if one is confronted by a state. If this were true, that would mean that whatever the United States undertakes against al-Qaeda is illegal. This cannot be considered self-defense under Article 51 of the UN Charter because al-Qaeda is not a state.”

An extreme example of the combination of an evil human rights body and the distortion of international law by international lawyers was the Goldstone Commission. The UNHRC gave this commission a biased mandate to investigate actions of Israel, but not of the Hamas terrorists. By accepting this assignment, Goldstone and his commission members stood for everything international lawyers shouldn’t stand for. His very partial rectification of the commission’s conclusions years later did not change that.

Former Canadian justice minister Irwin Cotler called Goldstone’s mission “tainted to the core.” Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz titled his 50-page essay: “The Case Against the Goldstone Report, A Study in Evidentiary Bias.”

In view of the false benign image of the world of human rights organizations and international human rights law, it is unpleasant for Israel to be the leader in exposing the widespread abuse in this realm. As Israel is, however, in the forefront of their many biased attacks, it has no choice but to do so in view of what may become its strategic needs.

The writer is emeritus chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Journal for the Study of Antisemitism, and the International Leadership Award from the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

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