A new Israeli report has accused right-wing pressure group NGO Monitor of âspearheading the shrinking of space for Israeli and Palestinian human rights NGOsâ.
The âShrinking Spaceâ report â âNGO Monitor: Defaming human rights organisations that criticize the Israeli occupationâ â is the work of a collective of Israeli ex-diplomats, academics and others, known as the Policy Working Group (PWG), that supports a two-state solution.
NGO Monitor was established in 2002 under the auspices of right-wing think tank the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs, and has been independent since 2007.
Its declared goal of promoting âtransparency and accountability of NGOs claiming human rights agendasâ is described by the PWG report as âdisingenuousâ.
âIn fact,â the report claims, âyears of experience show that NGO Monitorâs overarching objective is to defend and sustain government policies that help uphold Israelâs occupation of, and control over, the Palestinian territories.â
The new, in-depth report âconcludes and argues that NGO Monitor is a government-affiliated organisation that selectively targets human rights organisations, relies almost entirely on funding from donors in the US, shirks the transparency it demands of others and disseminates misleading and tendentious information, which it presents as factual in-depth research.â
âAs an organisation whose purpose is to scrutinise others, NGO Monitor itself has so far received little scrutiny of its own. After years of evasion, it is time to monitor NGO Monitor,â PWG adds.
Among the areas of critique found in the PWG report, NGO Monitor is accused of a selective focus, a right-wing political agenda, and of âclose ties with the [Israeli] governmentâ.
NGO Monitor plays a key role in providing Israeli ministries and diplomatic missions with misleading information to defame Israeli and Palestinian human rights organisations
PWG states, âand mobilises the government to pressure European counterparts to stop funding themâ.
âIn Israel,â meanwhile, âit acts as a catalyst for anti-democratic legislation that selectively targets such NGOs.â
The PWG report also accuses of NGO Monitor of publishing articles and reports containing âbaseless claims and factual inaccuraciesâ, while also âfram[ing] the occupation of the Palestinian territories as an internal Israeli affair in which other countries must not interfereâ.