Most Ancient Culture did not save reports of their military defeats, only their glorious victories. So it is no surprise that modern Egypt, Jordan and Syria create a revisionist history of the Six Day War. What I do find surprising is that Europe would also create revisionist history by funding NGOs that are distributing material which plays a bit loose with the facts surrounding Israel’s victory 40 years ago.
Many politicized and EU-funded NGOs that contribute to the demonization of Israel are holding activities and publishing reports coinciding with the fortieth anniversary of the 1967 War. These activities portray a one-sided view of events, repeating the Palestinian narrative and providing a distorted history of the war. The NGOs involved include the EU-funded Machsom Watch, War on Want, and ICAHD, as well as Amnesty International, Sabeel, Rabbis for Human Rights, and Christian Aid. These events are further exemplaries of biased political agendas that are inconsistent with promoting universal human rights, and highlight the danger of government funding for these NGOs.
“EU-funded NGOs lead anti-Israel events on anniversary of 1967 war”
NGO MonitorJune 05, 2007 Many NGOs are holding activities during the week of June 5, 2007, to coincide with the fortieth anniversary of the 1967 war. These activities which range from demonstrations and lobbying to lengthy and biased reports, portray a one-sided view of events, based on the Palestinian narrative. These initiatives provide a distorted history of the war, most notably by ignoring Nasser’s eviction of UN peacekeepers, strangling the port of Eilat, the military build-up and threats to destroy Israel made by Egypt, Jordan, and Syria prior to the fighting. The policy of Arab rejectionism subsequent to the war and the truth about UN Resolution 242 are similarly omitted.
Moreover, the report completely misrepresents Israel’s separation barrier, ignoring the precipitous decline in terror attacks following the barrier’s construction. Amnesty instead attributes the decline in terror attacks to the so-called 2005 “cease fire” with Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist organizations, ignoring the many suicide bombings, shooting attacks, Qassam rocket attacks, and kidnappings of Israeli civilians during that time, as well as the hundreds of attempted attacks that were thwarted by the very security measures that Amnesty condemns. Amnesty does not distinguish between civilians and combatants when referring to Palestinian casualties, nor does the group acknowledge the systematic use of civilian human shields by Palestinian terror groups. The authors of this Amnesty document provide no sources to verify their statistical claims, and many of the other statements repeat the unverified claims of Machsom Watch, B’tselem, Yesh Din, and Peace Now. June 5th Initiative The ‘June 5th Initiative for Israeli-Palestinian Peace ’ which describes itself as a ‘civil society initiative’ is endorsed by a number of Israeli, Palestinian and international NGOs. While the participants claim to advocate “a peaceful compromise based on the ‘two-states for two peoples’ formula on the basis of the 1967 borders,” this is a partisan, political activity which falls outside the remit of these organizations. NGOs supporting the initiative include the EU-funded Machsom Watch and the Parents Circle-Family Forum, Combatants for Peace, Yesh Din, and Rabbis for Human Rights. The week-long event includes international activities such as a Tel Aviv screening of a ‘presentation on the Israeli checkpoints’, marches, academic conferences, art exhibits, tours, and mock peace negotiations. The website contains a section on Endorsements where NGOs and individuals have pledged their support of the initiative. An endorsement letter which calls for “an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and end to the occupation” is included for organizations and individuals to sign in Hebrew, English and Arabic. The June 5th Initiative lacks transparency regarding funding and it is unclear whether individuals or organizations endorsing the initiative have donated money. Endorsements have been received from a wide range of organizations such as the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group which in a 2004 press release, argued “[b]y such acts of violence, Israel is bringing disaster to its own people.”. Other organizations include the Norwegian Peace Association and the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation which frequently draws a moral equivalence between the acts of terrorists and Israeli counter-terrorism operations. Other NGO Activity KAIROS is asking congregations to hold prayer sessions on June 3rd for “a lasting peace for both Israelis and Palestinians”. Despite KAIROS’ mention of “suicide bombings and other forms of attacks” within Israel, it accuses Israel of being responsible for the current conflict and cites to B’Tselem’s disputed statistics on Palestinian casualties. Friends of Sabeel-North America is promoting a conference organized by the Voices for Middle East Justice. While the conference organizers professes that “Israel has the same rights to safety and security within its borders as any other nation of the world”, they omit any reference to Palestinian violence and declare that they “oppose and reprove any efforts to influence United States public policy that deny or ignore the disproportionate violence that Israelis inflict upon Palestinians.” Christian Aid has released a report to coincide with the anniversary entitled “Israel & Palestine: A Question of Viability,” which minimizes the role of Palestinian terrorism and corruption as a major factor in Palestinian poverty and Israeli security measures, and instead lays blame on the “occupation” and the “settlers”. Conclusion Rather than promoting peace and human rights for both Israelis and Palestinians, the NGOs involved in the events described above are exploiting the fortieth anniversary of the 1967 War as a further occasion to demonize and internationally isolate Israel. Moreover, these events are another opportunity for NGOs to promote the Palestinian narrative and engage in historical revision regarding the war and even Israel’s creation. Such activities are blatantly political and government funding of the NGOs for these goals is counterproductive and unjustified.
Footnote: 1. In 2006, attempted terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians actually increased dramatically. In addition to the many attempted stabbings, shootings, mortar, and rocket attacks, 71 attempted suicide bombings were thwarted by Israeli anti-terrorism measures.