NGO watchdog: ‘There has been a process of politicization of human rights’

NGO Monitor VP Olga Deutsch was a participant in a panel moderated by Zvika Klein at the Jerusalem Post Conference on Monday.

The Politicalization of Human Rights Panel

“There has been a process of the politicization of human rights,” said Olga Deutsch, vice president of NGO Monitor, an independent research institute that analyzes NGOs within the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Deutsch was a participant in a panel moderated by Zvika Klein, Jewish World analyst for The Jerusalem Post, at The Jerusalem Post Conference in New York on Monday on how human rights issues have been politicized. Other participants in the panel included Gregg Roman, director of the Middle East Forum; Elana Broitman, senior vice president for public affairs of the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA); and Omri Attar, chief operating officer of ELNET, a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening relations between Europe and Israel.

Deutsch stated that Palestinian NGO organizations that lead boycotts against Israel and accuse Israel of apartheid are fueling an anti-Israel and anti-Jewish campaign in the human rights community. “To call Israel a racist endeavor in 2022 is shocking,” said Deutsch. She added that NGO Monitor has identified more than 70 individuals who have positions both in European-funded NGOs and in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which has been designated by the US, the EU and Israel as a terrorist organization.

Roman told Klein that his organization will soon release a film about how a young woman, working undercover, infiltrated a pro-Palestinian NGO and met members of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. “We now know the connection between so-called human rights organizations and state-sponsored organizations that promote terrorism,” said Roman. “The way to win a war isn’t declaring victory, but knowing what you need to beat the other side. It requires a grand strategy.”

Speaking on behalf of the JFNA, Broitman stated that the real-world repercussions of labeling Israel as an apartheid state are severe and explained that asset management companies worldwide rely on the UN Human Rights Commission for its ratings of companies that violate human rights guidelines. Amnesty International’s false allegations that Israel is an apartheid state is a major issue for many companies that come from or work in Israel.

 Olga Deutsch, Vice President of NGO Monitor (credit: NGO MONITOR) Olga Deutsch, Vice President of NGO Monitor (credit: NGO MONITOR)

JFNA's efforts to strengthen community security

“We don’t want to just change hearts but change actual policies. That’s how we measure impact. We’re looking for laws, legislation, policy and trade agreements.”

Omri Attar, Chief Operating Officer of ELNET

“This isn’t human rights. It’s weaponizing words,” she said.

Broitman added that the Jewish Federations have made community security a prime interest, noting that JFNA has helped secure more than $1 billion in federal funds to provide protection for synagogues, churches and mosques.

Attar emphasized the importance of maintaining Israel’s interests in Europe, citing the fact that Israel’s largest trade partner is the EU.

“We don’t want to just change hearts but change actual policies. That’s how we measure impact. We’re looking for laws, legislation, policy and trade agreements,” he said. “Politicization of the human rights matter leads to an absurd reality where Israel is being condemned in the international arena, while organizations like Hamas or Hezbollah, that in any given moment aim their rockets and missiles towards innocent civilians, are not being even mentioned by those so-called ‘human rights organizations’ – that’s what making them illegitimate.”