PRESENTING factual cases to counter charges by NGOs that Israel is violating human rights is a major component of the work at NGO Monitor, its vice-president Olga Deutsch (pictured) has explained.
Deutsch, whose Israeli organisation monitors NGOs that have a history of funding terrorist organisations, was visiting Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney during her week-long trip to Australia, organised by the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC).
Speaking informally at an AIJAC lunch last week, Deutsch questioned the authenticity of evidence that NGOs present when they attack Israel’s human rights record. She explained that time pressures create problems with the way NGOs verify data gathered from conflict zones.
“They have come to the point where they’re just shooting out information because they’re in a race for time. They need to appear relevant and they need to issue something. And then if you analyse the [NGO’s] report from Israel, it is 90 per cent based on other NGOs’ sources – and who verifies those?”
More broadly, Palestinians need to set a course towards forming a civil, democratic society and to stop seeing their future in terms of the myths their leaders have propagated about Israel, she reflected.
Naomi Levin, an analyst with AIJAC, told the meeting that NGOs have considerable financial resources not only to conduct research but to circulate it widely by maintaining a broad social media footprint.
AIJAC executive director Colin Rubenstein said Deutsch’s research into NGOs showed “the anti-Israel slander being spread by some of the world’s most prominent NGOs”, adding that her research was “well received by audiences in Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney”.
“We are pleased that the Australian government no longer provides development aid directly to NGOs operating in the West Bank or Gaza as it once did. This provides assurances to Australians that their taxes are not inadvertently sponsoring terrorism.
“NGOs are essential actors in any democracy, but when these groups criticise Israel in a way they do not criticise other countries and falsely portray Israel as practising apartheid or even ‘Jewish supremacy’, and oppose Israel’s very existence, they overstep the mark into antisemitism,” he said.
Deutsch was also the keynote speaker – via Zoom – at UIA’s annual conference late last year.