The Israeli Knesset (Parliament) recently hosted a conference in which a right-wing Israeli settler-led organization presented a ‘report’ claiming that virtually all of the world’s major non-governmental organizations (NGOs) ‘lack credibility’ and are engaged in ‘political warfare’ against Israel because they have called for an investigation of the Israeli army’s conduct during last year’s invasion of Gaza.The NGOs in question include renowned human rights groups Amnesty International, Christian Aid, Oxfam, Trocaire , Finn Church Aid, Diakonia and Cordaid. These groups all participated in publishing a report on the one-year anniversary of the Israeli invasion of Gaza entitled ‘Failing Gaza: No rebuilding, no recovery, no more excuses”.

Yisrael Harel, the co-founder of the Israeli right-wing organization ‘NGO Monitor’, is an Israeli settler who lives on illegally seized Palestinian land in the West Bank. His organization claims to monitor the world’s non-governmental organizations for anti-Israel tendencies. Harel is also Chairman of the Institute for Zionist Strategies, and a founder of the Gush Emunim settler movement, described by the US Library of Congress as “a right-wing ultranationalist, religio-political revitalization movement…The major activity of Gush Emunim has been to initiate Jewish settlements in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip.”

The group presented a paper called ‘Trojan Horse’ to the Israeli Knesset in a recent conference. In the paper, NGO Monitor challenged Israeli peace groups, in addition to international organizations, saying, ‘NGOs wield very significant political and legal power in Israel, particularly through their use of the language and frameworks of human rights and humanitarian assistance to the Palestinians. These NGOs are also a major and often hidden channel for external influence in Israeli foreign and security policies. By using the generous resources made available by the external donors, the Israel-based NGO network is able to promote particular political ideologies, and to oppose the policies of the democratically elected government on many issues. This hidden foreign intervention infringes on the sovereignty and independence of Israel by unbalancing the political process, and interfering with the policies of the elected government and the mainstream Zionist majority.’ The report failed to examine or mention the hundreds of millions of dollars provided by foreign interests, many from the US, to support right-wing Israeli settler groups, and the $6 billion in US government aid provided to Israel to support its military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

International and Israeli analysts say that the dependence on such right-wing ideological organizations as ‘NGO Monitor’ indicates the increasing isolation and paranoia of the Israeli government, which continues to be unwilling to investigate the incidents of war crimes in Gaza detailed in various reports, and refuses to allow international monitors access to conduct investigations of its army’s conduct.