Wednesday, November 21, 2012 | return to: views, opinions


NGOs remained silent as Hamas shelled Israel — condemnation began only after Israel responded

by yitzhak santis

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Silence is golden. So goes the proverb. But silence can be deadly when nongovernmental organizations claiming the mantles of human rights and peace fail to speak out when the lives of millions of Israelis are threatened by indiscriminate rocket fire. Each rocket from Gaza is a war crime, but only after Israel responded forcefully on Nov. 14 did these NGOs suddenly speak.

In the weeks prior to Operation Pillar of Defense, one such group, the Oakland-based Jewish Voice for Peace, lost its voice when Hamas and other terror groups were bombarding southern Israel. JVP was silent as 1 million Israelis were forced into shelters, as dozens were wounded, and children were traumatized.

V_S_nameOnly after the Israel Defense Forces responded was JVP’s laryngitis cured. In record time, they created a section on their website called “Take Action for Gaza” complete with links to anti-Israel protests around the world (at the Nov. 16 San Francisco protest promoted on this list, “peace activists” chanted “Zionist scum, your time has come”) and a “Gaza protest toolkit.” The “toolkit” offers downloadable graphics with slogans like “Another Jew Against Attacks on Civilians. Stop the Bombs. Stop the Siege. Stop the Blank Check to the Israeli Military with U.S. Tax Dollars.”

But JVP offers no slogans protesting Hamas war crimes against Israeli civilians.

In a further display of cynically exploiting moral values, JVP’s official press release explicitly blames the Gaza crisis on Israel. Not until the statement’s fourth sentence, without naming Hamas or any other terror group, does JVP “also urge the end of rocket attacks from Gaza into civilian communities in Israel.” Their statement also holds Israel responsible “for the well-being and safety of Palestinian civilians in Gaza.” But JVP fails to hold Hamas responsible for the safety of Israeli civilians. Nor does JVP’s statement demand that Hamas protect Gazans situated near weapons depots and launch sites deliberately placed by Hamas in populated areas.

Amnesty International, which has a history of intense anti-Israeli ideological bias, was also silent during the weeks of Hamas rocket attacks. Like JVP, Amnesty released a statement only after the IDF responded, condemning Israel for placing “civilians in Gaza and southern Israel at grave risk by re-igniting the armed conflict there.” In this warped and immoral logic, it is not Hamas that is guilty of war crimes, but rather the IDF and Israeli officials who are defending their citizens.

The pattern of silence in the face of Israeli civilian suffering, and thunderous condemnation when Israel defends its citizens, is repeated by dozens of other NGOs (primarily funded by the EU, European governments, and in some cases, the New Israel Fund), such as the Alternative Information Center, Oxfam International, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, Gisha, Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Medical Aid for Palestinians, BADIL, Sabeel, and many more.

This is nothing new. These groups employ the strategy of using human rights language to attack Israel that was adopted during the infamous 2001 U.N. “anti-racism” conference in Durban. At that gathering, some 1,500 NGOs embraced a declaration calling on the “international community to impose a policy of complete and total isolation of Israel.” This declaration of political war, the “Durban strategy,” seeks to undermine the legitimacy of the right of the Jewish people to sovereign equality. The boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign is its main thrust. Many of these NGOs, including JVP, support BDS.

For these NGOs, the rights of millions of Israelis to live in security are secondary to their program of undermining Israel’s right to defend its citizens. In this way these NGOs act, whether by design or by accident, as the de facto soft power arm for Hamas and its ilk.

In the Bay Area, the local manifestation of this anti-Israel NGO network is seen in the numerous anti-Israel rallies outside the Israeli Consulate. These local anti-Israel groups are plugged into the global NGO network. JVP’s posting a link on its website to “global actions” against Israel demonstrates this clearly. This is a case of the Bay Area’s progressive values gone awry. Speaking out against policies with which one does not agree is not the question. Rather, being selective is. Silence when millions of Israelis are under fire has nothing to do with progressive values and everything to do with ideological dogmatism.

The application of anti-democratic double standards and hypocrisy by the anti-Israel NGO network — to which JVP belongs — is incompatible with the moral foundations of universal human rights. If these ideologically motivated groups continue abusing human rights language to attack Israel, the moral foundation governing international law eventually will collapse.

Yitzhak Santis is chief programs officer at NGO Monitor in Jerusalem. He made aliyah two years ago and is the immediate past director of Middle East affairs at the San Francisco-based Jewish Community Relations Council.


Posted by Theresa
11/21/2012  at  07:02 PM
Anti-Semitism at the JVP sponsored protest

The level of anti-Semitism at the JVP sponsored and promoted protests at the San Francisco Israeli consulate go well beyond what is presented here. A quick glance at youtube shows much more than ““Zionist Scum your time has come”. There’s also “F**K you Jew” and plenty of gratuitous flag stealing and burning, plus frenzied screams of “Allah Akbar”
JVP, you are known by the company you keep. Consider yourself exposed.

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Posted by Becky
11/21/2012  at  11:45 PM
NIF - Doing Good Work on the Ground

To see what the New Israel Fund ACTUALLY doing to support Israel’s most vulnerable populations during this time of crisis, visit the website:

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Posted by Michael Harris
11/22/2012  at  01:13 PM
Yes, much of what NIF

Yes, much of what NIF does is very good work.  But why don’t they stop supporting actions of these NGOs? If they did then I’d be happy to support the good things that they are doing.

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Posted by paul
11/24/2012  at  10:58 AM
Jewish Voice For Peace, is the Jewish Voice Pro War

The JVFP-JVPW. That group is so-called for peace. Jewish Voice for Peace promote Anti-Semitism,Holocaust, distraction of the State Of Israel and BDS against Israel. I’M si glad that the JVFP is on the top list of the ADL as one of the group who is most hostile to Israel. What do they know about Judaism? What do they know about Torah? Can they read/chant Torah? Do they know any Yiddish/Hebrew or both? How dear can they be against themselves? Torah says,if some body attack Israel then,Israel has the right and obligation to defend itself. Torah says that, if some body attack me then,I have a right for self defense and do not mean to kill. One of their memmber attack me on the street several times a few years ago on the bus stop. What the JVFP need to do is to understand the Jewish Law and to read the Torah and recognize Israel right to exist.

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Posted by paul
11/24/2012  at  01:17 PM
Stand Up For Israel

Jewish Voice For Peace promote hate,war, distraction against Israel,Holocaust and Anti-Semitism. They sponsored that protest against Israel on that videos. I know for sure that so-called JVFP lost his voice because, they were silent when rockets were lending on Israeli citizens and towns. They support war and they don’t want Israel any where. They don’t want Israel to exist. Every time I see them on the other side, I see that they promote Holocaust in Jerusalem and every where in Israel. How dear can we Jews be like that? This Is our land. We must defend our land. And, Jewish Voice For Peace, aren’t peaceful. The Jewish voice For Peace, stand for Hamas and Hezbolla because they support terror against Israel. It doesn’t matter how much so-called JVFP like or love Hamas and Hezbolla. Hamas and Hezbolla, wants to come out after them and kill them any way. Even if the JVFP support them. So-called JVFP needs to read the chapter of Hamas where it says that Hamas, want to kill every Jew around the globe no matter where they can find them. It sad that the JVFP support them. It sad that the JVFP doesn’t support Israel right to exist. As long as I live, I will always support Israel and Stand Up For Israel right to exist and defend itself. I will continue to defend Israel as much as I can. Stand Up for Israel right to exist! Stand Up for Israel right to defend itself! Support Israel! Stand Up against terror! Let’s tell the so-called Jewish Voice For Peace that they are wrong by promoting all that propaganda against Israel. Israel, is a beautiful country want only peace.

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