A commenter on my post “The anti-Israel ‘Rights & Democracy’ funded by Canadians” takes exception to my label of the Rights & Democracy organization as an NGO and as anti-Israel. And so I quote John Flag (emphasis mine):
Uhm, Rights & Democracy was created by Parliament, reports to Parliament and its President and Board are appointed by government, therefore it’s NOT an NGO! Rights & Democracy does not call itself an NGO, if you read its website. It is an independent, non-partisan, PUBLIC institution. Only people like you call it an NGO, which is completely misinformed. Do a little reading yourself, Natasha, beyond the misinformed rants of Beryl Wiseman (sic) and Ezra Levant. Without knowing anything about R&D, they label its staff haters of Israel because they support human rights for Palestinians. Such an allegation is, quite frankly, appalling.
First: the NGO issue
This comes from Rights & Democracy’s website:
Rights & Democracy has consultative status (Category II) with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, and is on the International Labour Organization’s Special List of NGOs.
And this is from NGO Monitor:
Montreal-based NGO, the ICHRDD was founded by an Act of the Canadian Parliament, and annually receives over C$4 million from the Canadian government. It presents itself, however, as an independent and non-partisan organization.
The link provided by the NGO Monitor goes directly to the Rights & Democracy splash page:
Second: The anti-Israel claim
Mr. Flag claims that I get all my decision-making information only from Ezra Levant and Beryl Wajsman (not Wiseman, as Flag calls him). I guess he included Wajsman, as I posted two links to articles here and here, one of them written by Wajsman.
Actually there are a number of other sources, but here’s one: Ending demonization, the Canadian way.
However, for many years, on the issue of Israel, this group discarded these principles by supporting the anti-Israel demonization process, including providing funds to radical Palestinian NGOs whose work demonizes and delegitimizes Israel. Two recipients, Al-Haq and Al Mezan, are among the leaders of the BDS and “lawfare” campaigns.
And once again from NGO Monitor:
ICHRDD’s campaign to promote “democratic institutions in developing areas” has been used to justify a strongly pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel political agenda. The organization has approved funding grants for a number of projects conducted by very politicized recipients, including the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group and the International Women’s House in Hares.
In both its funding decisions and its public statements, the organization shows an almost-total disregard for the terrorist activities of Palestinian groups against Israelis, as well as the human rights abuses perpetrated by the Palestinian Authority and the terrorist groups against Palestinians. Moreover, the ICHRDD takes radical and explicitly partisan positions on political issues that are widely understood to be the subject of permanent-status negotiations between the parties. As a consequence, the ICHRDD not only fails to fulfill its mandate with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but also undermines its status as an objective and responsible representative of Canadian civil society in all of its many and worthwhile endeavors.
To summarize my own thoughts on the organization inappropriately named (IMO) Rights & Democracy: other groups recognize them as an NGO; on their own website, they apparently confirm that designation and accept it (I could find no disclaimer stating that the NGO designation was incorrect). By Rights & Democracy’s own actions, they are both radical and partisan, showing a definite anti-Israel bias. So to Mr. Flag, you can dress your duck up and call it a swan; it still quacks like a duck.