Becca Wertman
Canadian-Israeli living in Jerusalem.

Top NGO Obsessive Moments of 2018

Throughout the holiday season, it is traditional for organizations to give thanks to their supporters. NGO Monitor would therefore like to dedicate our annual countdown of top non-governmental organization (NGO) moments to the groups that provided us with such incredible free advertising this year! These organizations and their supporters demonstrated that our work is having huge impact in increasing oversight and transparency in the international aid process.

  1. Swedish government-owned magazine hails NGO Monitor’s role in calling for a review of government aid to Palestinian NGOs. Apparently 10 articles were not enough for the Swedish government owned magazine OmVärlden, which published 23 articles (!!!) attacking NGO Monitor, because “NGO Monitor is behind the requirements for the review of aid to Palestine.” Indeed, NGO Monitor has for years called on governments to carefully review funding to NGOs active in the Arab-Israeli conflict, and institute best practices of transparency and oversight to ensure funding is not provided to groups with ties to terror and those that promote hatred and antisemitism. While the rest of the articles contain innuendo, factual inaccuracies, and, most alarming, antisemitic motifs reminiscent of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (spider web, conspiracy theories), we appreciated this shout out.
  2. Senior Official at B’Tselem Highlights NGO Monitor Impact. Sarit Michaeli, who regularly (and we mean obsessively) blames NGO Monitor for various terrible developments, actually praised our organization in the Norwegian news outlet She stated, “NGO Monitor has changed the debate. They have succeeded in persuading the public and politicians that foreign public funding is by definition a problem, while private funds… are okay.” She’s right! There is a big difference between governmental and private funding. We just happen to believe that democratic governments should not bankroll groups that fail to promote peace and human rights …
  3. And so does HaMoked’s Jessica MontellMontell tweeted, “Here’s a well-known secret about @ngomonitor: their database of donors is the best…. I use it every week. Thanks for your help NGO Monitor!” It was so nice of her to tag us and recognize what a great resource our database of over 200 NGOs active in the Arab-Israeli conflict is for all!
  4. ACRI also pointed out that we question governments that fund anti-Israel groups. An international relations official at the Association for Civil Rights Israel (ACRI), stated that “they [NGO Monitor] personally contact the donors and ask, ‘why are you funding anti-Israel organizations?’” Guilty as charged. We also ask them to clarify why they are funding demonization and antisemitism when their policy states they support human rights, peace, and a two state framework.
  5. Shawan Jabarin, General Director of Al-Haq, was not happy when NGO Monitor notified his funders of his terror connections. Jabarin stated that “NGO Monitor paints me everywhere as a terrorist.” Well, maybe we should have used a more literary term, like when the Israeli High Court referred to him as acting “as a manner of Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde, acting some of the time as the CEO of a human rights organization, and at other times as an activist in a terror organization.” (See here.)
  6. “Steinberg…has been very effective. He has in fact swayed European donors to believe that what [rights groups] are doing is corrupt or who knows what.” Said an anonymous official featured in an article in New Jersey Jewish News. Thanks! We like our boss too!
  7. Palestinian NGOs and Palestinian Authority officials go after NGO Monitor …and the way our research impacts on their funding. A Palestinian newspaper reported on a meeting between Palestinian Authority officials and Palestinian civil society leaders in Ramallah. The article stated that “It is necessary to draw attention to NGO Monitor – what is it and who supervises this institution? Who finances it? What is the nature of its connections with the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office? What is its function and objectives, and what is the Palestinian role in dealing with it?” You know you could just ask.
  8. Human Rights Watch’s Sarah Leah Whitson gets NGO Monitor on Al Jazeera! In an interview on Al Jazeera discussing human rights in Saudi Arabia, Human Rights Watch’s Sarah Leah Whitson accuses the interviewers of “borrowing your talking points from NGO Monitor.” Thanks, as always, for your continued obsession with us and the resulting free advertising!
  9. Buzzfeed removes NGO Monitor’s “Top NGO Obsessive Moments of 2018” post. NGO Monitor’s 2018 Buzzfeed post about NGOs obsessing over NGO Monitor in an attempt to tarnish our image and silence us, was ironically removed from Buzzfeed…in an attempt to silence us! Our account was also deleted. We can’t make these things up.
About the Author
Becca Wertman-Traub is the Director of Research at the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), the advocacy agent of the Jewish Federations of Canada. currently works as chief of staff for a Canadian venture capital firm in Israel. She previously worked for Member of Knesset Michal Cotler-Wunsh as her Political Aide in Knesset and formerly served as managing editor and was responsible for the Canada portfolio at NGO Monitor, a Jerusalem-based research institute. Born in Vancouver, Canada, Becca earned her BA in international relations from the University of Southern California and her MA in political science from Columbia University. Her articles have appeared in The Hill Times, The Province, The Georgia Straight, The Post Millennial, The Jerusalem Post, Canadian Jewish News, Algemeiner, and The Tower.
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