NYT Bemoans Scrutiny of Israel-Bashing Groups

Many self-proclaimed human rights groups with anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian agendas operate freely in Israel and, thanks to lavish funding by European governments, and manage to have a sizeable impact in shaping its political discourse and policies.  They frequently challenge government decisions in "lawfare" campaigns and petitions to Israel's Supreme Court.  In brief, they're major players.

So it comes as a bit of a shock to read in the April 6 edition of the New York Times an article by Jerusalem correspondent Isabel Kershner that depicts these groups as seriously threatened by critics who have turned the tables and now demand from them greater transparency and accountability ("Israeli Rights Groups View Themselves as Under Siege -- Advocates speak of a hostile climate as Israel's leaders fight charges of war crimes" page A6).

This reminds me of the boy who killed his parents and then cried for being left an orphan.  Kershner and the New York Times, however, don't see it that way.  After all, they wouldn't want to question groups whose Israel-bashing pronouncements they regularly publish as true gospel.  Ergo, this piece by Kershner that takes at face value their complaints of "an atmosphere of harassment" and a "climate of repression" -- just because their agendas and funding are coming under closer scrutiny.

In this battle for public opinion in Israel and abroad, Kershner resolutely lines up with Israel's critics.

For example, she quotes Human Rights Watch as charging that Israel's government is "waging a propaganda war" to discredit human-rights groups.  Yet, she conveniently overlooks the fact that when it comes to Human Rights Watch, there's no need for outsiders to discredit it.  Human Rights Watch discredited itself last summer when it sent a delegation to Saudi Arabia on a fund-raising mission, telling its well-heeled Saudi hosts that it's doing its best in battling "pro-Israel pressure groups in the United States, the European Union and the United Nations."

Needless to say that Kershner makes no mention of the financial link between wealthy Saudis and Human Rights Watch.  That Human Rights Watch would troll for money from one of the most repressive societies in the world that disrespects the basic rights of gays, women and practitioners of other religions somehow fails to interest Kershner and the New York Times.  Never mind the Saudi connection:  To the Times, Human Rights Watch remains an impeccable source.

In contrast, Kershner shows no such solicitude for an Israeli group, called Tirtzu, which charged that 92 percent of anti-Israel claims in the UN's Goldstone report were provided by16 private groups financed by the New Israel Fund.  Kershner disposes of that finding by dismissively calling Tirtzu an "ultra-Zionist" organization -- a label that places it squarely outside the ideological orbit of the New York Times.  (The only Zionists who get a kosher label from the Times apparently are "post Zionists.")

Finally, Kershner readily reveals that NGO Monitor, which has exposed vast financial backing of anti-Israel groups by European governments, is funded by American Jewish philanthropists.  But she shows no such interest in identifying funding sources for Israel-bashing groups from the European Union, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland and other European countries.

Just the opposite.  In her zeal to protect Israel's detractors, Kershner avers that "the most alarming sign to rights advocates was a preliminary vote in Parliament supporting a bill that called for groups that received support from foreign governments to register with Israel's political parties' registrar, which could change their tax status and hamper their ability to raise money abroad."

Imagine that!  No democratic country in the world has the chutzpah to finance opposition groups in another democratic country, except when Israel is the target.  Would Spain, for example, tolerate the U.S. government funneling taxpayer money to Basque separatists?  Still, Israel has no intention to stop the flow of vast sums from European governments to denigrate and delegitimize the Jewish state.  It only might want to insist on greater transparency and accountability of who pays the anti-Israel piper.

But that's anathema to the New York Times -- a self-professed champion of transparency and accountability.  Albeit a bit selectively.
Many self-proclaimed human rights groups with anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian agendas operate freely in Israel and, thanks to lavish funding by European governments, and manage to have a sizeable impact in shaping its political discourse and policies.  They frequently challenge government decisions in "lawfare" campaigns and petitions to Israel's Supreme Court.  In brief, they're major players.

So it comes as a bit of a shock to read in the April 6 edition of the New York Times an article by Jerusalem correspondent Isabel Kershner that depicts these groups as seriously threatened by critics who have turned the tables and now demand from them greater transparency and accountability ("Israeli Rights Groups View Themselves as Under Siege -- Advocates speak of a hostile climate as Israel's leaders fight charges of war crimes" page A6).

This reminds me of the boy who killed his parents and then cried for being left an orphan.  Kershner and the New York Times, however, don't see it that way.  After all, they wouldn't want to question groups whose Israel-bashing pronouncements they regularly publish as true gospel.  Ergo, this piece by Kershner that takes at face value their complaints of "an atmosphere of harassment" and a "climate of repression" -- just because their agendas and funding are coming under closer scrutiny.

In this battle for public opinion in Israel and abroad, Kershner resolutely lines up with Israel's critics.

For example, she quotes Human Rights Watch as charging that Israel's government is "waging a propaganda war" to discredit human-rights groups.  Yet, she conveniently overlooks the fact that when it comes to Human Rights Watch, there's no need for outsiders to discredit it.  Human Rights Watch discredited itself last summer when it sent a delegation to Saudi Arabia on a fund-raising mission, telling its well-heeled Saudi hosts that it's doing its best in battling "pro-Israel pressure groups in the United States, the European Union and the United Nations."

Needless to say that Kershner makes no mention of the financial link between wealthy Saudis and Human Rights Watch.  That Human Rights Watch would troll for money from one of the most repressive societies in the world that disrespects the basic rights of gays, women and practitioners of other religions somehow fails to interest Kershner and the New York Times.  Never mind the Saudi connection:  To the Times, Human Rights Watch remains an impeccable source.

In contrast, Kershner shows no such solicitude for an Israeli group, called Tirtzu, which charged that 92 percent of anti-Israel claims in the UN's Goldstone report were provided by16 private groups financed by the New Israel Fund.  Kershner disposes of that finding by dismissively calling Tirtzu an "ultra-Zionist" organization -- a label that places it squarely outside the ideological orbit of the New York Times.  (The only Zionists who get a kosher label from the Times apparently are "post Zionists.")

Finally, Kershner readily reveals that NGO Monitor, which has exposed vast financial backing of anti-Israel groups by European governments, is funded by American Jewish philanthropists.  But she shows no such interest in identifying funding sources for Israel-bashing groups from the European Union, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland and other European countries.

Just the opposite.  In her zeal to protect Israel's detractors, Kershner avers that "the most alarming sign to rights advocates was a preliminary vote in Parliament supporting a bill that called for groups that received support from foreign governments to register with Israel's political parties' registrar, which could change their tax status and hamper their ability to raise money abroad."

Imagine that!  No democratic country in the world has the chutzpah to finance opposition groups in another democratic country, except when Israel is the target.  Would Spain, for example, tolerate the U.S. government funneling taxpayer money to Basque separatists?  Still, Israel has no intention to stop the flow of vast sums from European governments to denigrate and delegitimize the Jewish state.  It only might want to insist on greater transparency and accountability of who pays the anti-Israel piper.

But that's anathema to the New York Times -- a self-professed champion of transparency and accountability.  Albeit a bit selectively.

RECENT VIDEOS