Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) accredited by the United nations are promoting antisemitism worldwide, according to a new report released earlier this month.
The report, compiled by Human Rights Voices and the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust, accuses the UN of “enabling groups to spread hatred, encourage terrorism, and promote the destruction of the Jewish state from the world stage.” It suggests that the U.S. and other democracies cut UN funds that support hatred.
The report begins by noting that “NGOs must operate in conformity with, or promote, the UN Charter” in order to qualify for UN accreditation, which includes the ability to participate in UN forums. Yet many NGOs violate that charter by calling for the destruction of Israel. And, the report argues, they use antisemitism to do so.
That antisemitism is not limited to anti-Israel activism — though much of that rhetoric qualifies as antisemitic, and violates the UN Charter in itself, the report argues.
Rather, some of the antisemitism of UN NGOs is explicit. It includes, for example, conspiracy theories about Jewish (or “Zionist”) control of the media, a theory openly espoused by the Meezaan Center for Human Rights, which is accredited by the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). It also includes explicit (and false) analogies between Israel today and Nazi Germany, which both minimize the horrors of the Holocaust and deny legitimacy to Jewish self-determination.
One organization, World Vision, was directly involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the report alleges, through its branch director, who was caught by Israel “spending tens of millions of dollars supporting Hamas terror operations and gravely jeopardizing the well-being and lives of Palestinian women and children.” No action has been taken by the UN since then, the report notes, adding that World Vision still retains its accreditation and its ability to participate fully in UN NGO activities.
Much of the hatred involves singling out Israel for unique criticism and condemnation (itself a form of unjust discrimination and hence anti-semitism). The report is replete with examples of UN-accredited organizations demonizing Israel in malicious terms, often combining both anti-Israel and classic antisemitic elements in statements, cartoons and other media.
For example, the ECOSOC-accredited (and rather ironically-named) International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (EAFORD), declared:
…[O]ur world is now faced with the emergence of a new type of nazism…Zionism, with its inhumane ethnic, racist principles, with its devilish schemes which generate chaos all over the world, with its dangerous plans to dominate,…with its beastly octopus which has almost a decisive role in directing the policies of the greatest countries in the world, cannot be viewed as a threat to this region alone, but to the whole world…It is depressing that European resistance to Nazi racist policies and occupation should have been hailed and glorified, while Palestinian resistance is described as terrorism.
The result of excessive and vigorous antisemitic rhetoric and anti-Israel activism by UN-accredited NGOs, the report implies, is to place millions of Israelis and Jews in grave danger, to perpetuate regional conflict, and to undermine the UN’s credibility.
The full report — available here — identifies four major forms of antisemitism among UN-accredited NGOs:
I. Inciting Hate or Encouraging Antisemitism
The UN accredits and associates with NGOs that espouse antisemitism. The antisemitism takes various forms: demeaning remarks about Jews, abhorrence of the presence of Jews or so-called “Judaization,” minimizing the Holocaust, claiming antisemitism is feigned or grossly exaggerated, appropriating the language of Jew-hatred, Jewish history and experience of antisemitism including the Holocaust and applying it to Arabs, analogizing Israelis to Nazis, denying that anti-Zionism or the denial of the right of Jewish self-determination is a form of antisemitism, and equating Zionism with racism (see also Section III).
II. Condoning or Justifying Violence
The UN accredits and associates with NGOs that condone or justify violence against Jews either inside or outside of Israel. The violent programmatic takes various forms: the reference to killers as martyrs, support for armed or violent struggle or resistance, and the effort to justify violence by focusing on alleged causes of terrorism.
III. Demonizing the State of Israel
The UN accredits and associates with NGOs that demonize or incite hatred of Israel, hate that in turn encourages violent extremism and terrorism. The demonization takes various forms including: maintaining Zionism or the right of self-determination of the Jewish people is a form of racism, asserting Israel is an apartheid state, claiming that Israeli Jews are conspiring to destroy Muslim holy sites, charging Israel with extreme crimes – racism, massacres, atrocities, state terrorism, torture, experimenting on prisoners, targeting children, and alleging Israel is guilty of the worst human rights violations known to humankind –genocide, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity.
IV. Delegitimizing the State of Israel and Seeking the Destruction of the Jewish State
The incitement to hate, the demonization of Israel, and the support for violence has a goal: the destruction of the state of Israel. Sometimes this goal – wiping a Jewish state off the map – is camouflaged, but some UN accredited or associated NGOs are quite clear about their intentions. The UN, therefore, accredits and associates with NGOs that espouse the destruction of a UN member state. This call takes various forms: objections to the creation of Israel, denying a Jewish presence in historic Palestine, rejecting a Jewish historical and religious connection to the land, references not to Israel but to an entity called “Israel/Palestine,” putting references to Israel in quotation marks, images of “Palestine” as all of Israel, calling for a one-state solution, and demanding an alleged “right of return” that would terminate a Jewish state demographically. They also include boycott, divestment or sanction campaigns seeking the economic strangulation of Israel, intending to destroy the viability of Israel on multiple levels, and attempting to fracture the international relationships necessary for the survival of the Jewish state.
The hatred propagated by these UN-accredited organizations is often linked to the UN itself. As the report explains:
UN-accredited NGOs are able to secure meeting space within UN buildings to sponsor speakers, mount exhibits, and screen films, all within immediate proximity to the world’s press. … NGOs can speak at important UN meetings and have their words translated and broadcast globally via UN webcasts, which are then archived for the public, researchers, and students from elementary schools to college campuses.
UN-accredited NGOs can submit written statements to UN bodies that are assigned official UN symbol numbers, posted on UN websites, and archived in searchable formats for the global community. More recently, UN websites have started linking directly to NGO websites, greatly enhancing traffic to the NGO websites and the promulgation of the NGOs’ messages. UN-accredited NGOs are also invited to attend negotiating sessions and decision-making forums, thereby gaining access to the world’s diplomatic corps, with the attendant opportunities for influence.
The activities of these NGOs, the report argues, violates the terms under which many of them were accredited. The report notes that many groups have been accredited even though their involvement in hateful propaganda was already well known.
The report’s release comes just before a meeting Wednesday at the UN about antisemitism worldwide. The meeting is being sponsored by Israel, the US, Canada and the European Union — not by the United Nations itself.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, is available from Regnery through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.