George Soros Off NGO Monitor’s Holiday List

by Kevin Jon Heller

Gerald Steinberg, the head of right-wing propaganda outlet NGO Monitor, is not happy about George Soros’ recent $100 million gift to Human Rights Watch:

In accepting a huge grant from George Soros, Human Rights Watch has spurned the public advice (and warning) offered nearly a year ago by its founder Robert Bernstein. Rather than grapple with the serious problems of credibility and bias, HRW Executive Director Kenneth Roth has cemented relations with Soros — a partisan ideologue who also supports, a controversial advocacy group.


The bias is indisputable: HRW’s publications on “Israel and the Occupied Territories” made up 28 percent of its total Mideast output in 2009.

Which makes it a fine fit for George Soros, whose own biases are well-established. In the Middle East, for example, his Open Society Institute exclusively supports advocacy groups that campaign internationally to undermine the elected governments of Israel — organizations such as Adalah, Peace Now, Breaking the Silence, Gisha and Yesh Din.

In extending his control over HRW, Soros seeks to increase its staff by 40 percent, reposition it as a major international player and restore its influence as an arbiter on universal human rights. But while his grant will alleviate the crisis caused by HRW’s declining income, it only deepens the moral crisis.

The fact that Steinberg attacks, a middle-of-the-road progressive organization, tells you all you need to know about his and NGO Monitor’s extremism.  But Steinberg’s claim that Soros is “extending his control over HRW” is truly laughable, given that — as I’ve documented before — NGO Monitor steadfastly conceals the source of its own funding.  We have no idea who controls NGO Monitor by funding it, and Steinberg is not about to tell us.  HRW, by contrast, has been nothing but open about Soros’ donation.

An NGO that claims to promote “transparency” that is completely non-transparent.  Moral crisis, indeed!

13 Responses

  1. (1) What the heck does “middle of the road progressive” mean?

    (2) Given that HRW is completely transparent about its funding, where I can I find a list of its donors, and how much they donate?

  2. Whoops, I clicked on your link, and I see that you answered my question: “Should HRW identify all of its donors and the amounts they have donated? Probably.”

    So not exactly “completely transparent.” Tranlucent? Partially opaque?

  3. Professor Heller,

    I have two questions for you.  First, do you remember the whole dialogue we had over HRW funding before?  Do you remember how there was an open question about HRW’s funding practices and how you graciously agreed to ask HRW a question about such practices and they refused to answer you.  That seems anything but transparent.  I actually was impressed that you were willing to admit that HRW would not answer your question ….

    I am also curious about your political spectrum.  If Move.on is middle-of-the road then where do you put the Truman National Security Project.  Are those guys a bunch of right wingers?

  4. JD and NSD,

    You are right that I overstated HRW’s transparency.  I’ve adjusted the post accordingly.


    I did not say that is middle of the road.  I said they were middle-of-the-road progressive.  I am not claiming they are centrists; I’m saying they are solidly in the middle of the spectrum of groups associated with the Democrats, which I think is fair. 

  5. Either way, in relation to the above comments, HRW is a lot more open and *a lot* less biased than NGO Monitor which, like UN Watch, is a lobby group with the agenda that Israel can do no wrong and even the mildest criticism is equated with anti-semitism.

  6. Response…Can you give us an idea what “progressive” is on the scale of political positioning so we can judge what “middle-of-the-road” might mean in that context?  And “associated with…”, does that mean they are associated with the Democrats by their own account or that the Dems agree that they are to be considered associated with them or is there no need for associative agrrement?

  7. Truly laughable? Try your own statement: “But Steinberg’s claim that Soros is “extending his control over HRW” is truly laughable, given that — as I’ve documented before — NGO Monitor steadfastly conceals the source of its own funding.”  Whether or not NGO Monitor’s funding is transparent does not undercut their claim that Soros is extending his control over HRW.  NGO Monitor may be right or wrong but your comment is irrelevant in that regard.

  8. Your hypocrisy claim is incorrect as well and essentially a red herring.  I’ve never understood NGO Monitor to claim that it presents unbaised, non-partisan/ideological opinions.  Rather, NGO Monitor investigates and criticizes those organizations that claim the mantle of non-biased observer, such as HRW.  As such, transparency by NGO Monitor is hardly necessary to their argument.

  9. HLS,

    So, you believe that as long as an NGO is openly biased, lack of transparency and hypocrisy are fine.  Good to know.

  10. First, I think its unfair to label Steinberg as an extremist simply because he points out that a ‘middle-of-the-road progressive organization’ has been controversial. (Anyone remember General Betray Us?). Your assertion that is in the middle of the progressive spectrum helps cement the idea that Soros has a clear partisan nature.

    I believe what the comments above are asking for is that if you want to disprove Steinberg’s claims about bias in HRW, and Soros’ potential influence, then give us counterfactual information. But saying that Steinberg’s own organization is biased and non-transparent does nothing to discredit the claim, it only discredits his organization in the same way. If you want to say it’s laughable that Steinberg could make such a claim, that’s fine. But it’s not accurate to say the claim itself is ‘truly laughable’

  11. KJH,

    I’m not NSD, and as usual you avoided the issue.  0 for 2. 

  12. For those not familiar with the (American?) usage of Progressive, they occupy a space to the left of the Democratic party as a whole on the political spectrum, more towards where a European Socialist Demcrat party would be, but still right of outright Communism.

  13. If that’s progressive, then are a  leftish progressive organisation, albeit one slightly hypnotised by Obama (one doesn’t imagine that this can last too long!).

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. There are no trackbacks or pingbacks associated with this post at this time.