Sunday, March 12, 2006

NGO's: Above the law?

A serious problem has arisen in Israel with many NGO's (Non-Governmental Organisation's), in the guise of human-rights organisations thinking they are above the law. In a previous posting I described how attorney Nira Mashriki of the Tel Aviv prosecutor's office for civil matters wrote to a Jerusalem court: "The organization [HaMoked] does not deal with 'defending human rights' as it claims, but instead with defending the rights of Palestinians only. The organisation's activity is one-sided and it works in the interest of a group of people whose elected leadership is currently in a harsh conflict with the State of Israel and is undermining its existence."
Hamoked and other groups like B'Tselem are patently not 'human rights organisations' because they seem to only care about certain human rights and totally disregard others. They constantly ctiticise the Israeli government and army with barely a mention of the context for their actions.
However, what is worse is that they consider criticism directed at them to be un-democratic.
HaMoked director Dalia Kerstein filed a protest with Attorney-General Menachem Mazuz arguing that "attacks by the state on human rights organizations" and their legitimacy "pose a serious threat to democratic rule."
This is extremely dangerous, that someone brings a case to court against a certain organisation and the organisation deems this a "serious threat to democratic rule."
Why don't they just defend their actions in court? We must ask what these organisations have to hide by standing behind meaningless and dangerous statements like those made by Dalia Kerstein.

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