Monitoring NGO Monitor — 18 Days and Counting

Monitoring NGO Monitor — 18 Days and Counting

It’s been 18 days since I asked NGO Monitor to provide the same detailed accounting of their funding that they demand of the human-rights groups they so regularly malign and demonize.  Readers will be shocked — shocked! — to know that the organization has ignored my request, in keeping with its profoundly hypocritical approach to funding.

In the meantime, of course, Gerald Steinberg continues to criticize others for doing precisely what NGO Monitor does:

European democracies are spending tens of millions of euros, pounds and krona to manipulate Israeli society and politics. This largely hidden European money that funds so-called “civil society” organizations, like B’Tselem, Yesh Din, Ir Amim, the Public Committee Against Torture, Peace Now and dozens more, is undermining Jewish sovereignty and the right to determine our own future.

The hypocrisy would be pathetic if it wasn’t so dangerous.  What is NGO Monitor hiding?  All we can do is speculate.

Meanwhile, the clock continues to tick.

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Gerald Steinberg

Mr. Heller — the anger and vitriol in your posts suggests that NGO Monitor’s criticism of superpowers like HRW and Amnesty have made you and the high priests (Ken Roth, for example) nervous. But the ramblings of an oped writer will not save your faith. Instead, you should acknowledge the problem and read NGO Monitor’s detailed and systematic research reports. In particular, given your self-interest, I recommend the 50-page Experts or Ideologues: Systematic Analysis of Human Rights Watch. You will find numerous examples of s inconsistencies, false claims and double standards, wrapped in a facade of “research”, legal rhetoric, and a culture of secrecy (HRW’s gag order on Garlasco is the latest example). HRW, Amnesty, etc. are responsible for cynically trashing the moral universal principles embodied in the 1948 Declaration of Human Rights. In contrast, NGO Monitor was founded to speak truth to their power.

Patrick S. O'Donnell

NGO Monitor is dedicated to smearing the reputation of long-standing and necessary human rights organizations because it cannot bear to see publicity in the international community and global civil society about Israel’s historical human rights record. In other words, it would rather have the state of Israel’s legal and political perspective (and those outside the state who subscribe to that perspective) dominate any discourse on human rights and international humanitarian law when it has to do with the state of Israel. In effect, this means Israel as an “ethnocratic state” (Oren Yiftachel) trumps the domestic characterization of Israel as a parliamentary democracy (which is why non-Jews in the state of Israel are not afforded and cannot claim the same rights as Jewish citizens).  In Lisa Hajjar’s words, “The Israeli state exercises its sovereign prerogative of domestic authonomy over the content and character of law to privilege Jewish individuals over non-Jews and to prioritize Jewish national collective interests,” such interests being constrained in definition and practice by a bloated and undemocratic conception of national security that crowds out, hence routinely eliminates, the legal and political space conducive to meaningful respect for and implementation of human rights norms and international humanitarian law, that is, as those norms and… Read more »


I think the near-hysterical response from Gerald Steinberg tells you everything. It has all the hallmarks of a conspiracy theorist.

M. Gross
M. Gross

Is there some particular NGO Monitor press release attacking an organization based on who funded them that started this?

John Turner
John Turner

NGO Monitor does not set itself up as moral judge of the whole world as the “human rights” organizations do. So asking for their contributers names is a specious arguement trying to deflect attention.

John Turner
John Turner

The “human rights” organizations going to Saudi Arabia and using their attacks on Israel and Israels’ backers as a plus to get donations says it all. These groups are anti-Israel.
P.S. And it is really bad form.


[…] Jon Heller at Opinio Juris says NGO Monitor should practice what it preaches when it comes to transparency about donations from government funders. The dialogue in comments on […]

Louis Frankenthaler

NGO Monitor is part of the self anointed and despondently messianic monitoring/watching mechanisms that have come into existence in Israel and the US.  They include Israel Academic Monitor and the foot soldiers of the Israeli movement for monitoring and repressing dissent, Im Tirtzu. In the US there are the likes of Campus Watch and others.   (AND let me say from the outset that I do not bemoan their existence they make life and discourse that much more interesting and challenging. They continue to act as very virulent reminders of with what it is we need to contend. They also remind me of my college days in the US, when those of us in different progressive and radical coalitions were consistently confronted with groups like YAF, Young Americans for Freedom, who were always sure to tell us that we were thinking incorrectly, calling us unpatriotic… traitors, subversives, etc. So, we are used to it. Even when these groups single out human rights defender activists, such as the Public Committee Against Torture’s executive director, and inaccurately describe the NGOs’ activities we remain steadfast). The issue is to define what is they seek to do.  Steinberg’s use of “neocolonialism” (in the Jerusalem Post) to… Read more »

Gerald Steinberg, NGO Monitor

Reposted without the typos;
Frankenthaler’s post is little more than ideological bombast from the 60s. Indeed, many NGO officials are still living in this semi-mythical past, when human rights were so much simpler, or so it seemed, and the good guys were peasants who lived in jungles and were bombed by B-52s.Moving on to the present, it doesn’t take a psych degree to realize that Heller, Frankenthaler, etc. are throwing mud wrapped in pseudo-moral rhetoric because they rightly fear losing their bully pulpits and the unchecked power. Despite this screaming, critical debate and analysis have finally come to the NGO world — the “halo effect” of the 60s is gone, and their facade of selective morality and credibility has been exposed.



I appreciate that NGO Monitor should be open, but then again, does anyone actually doubt that it is an organization funded by Jewish and pro-Israel groups?

The question, then, is so what?  NGO Monitor tracks NGOs for bias against Israel.  This is an inherently partisan goal.  To deflect accusation of a purportedly nonpartisan NGO by demanding the same standards of a definitionally partisan organization seems to do little more than admit that the NGO is likewise a partisan organization.