Posts Tagged ‘State department’

ALERT: IF true, unbelievable: Trump to declare Amnesty, HRW and other NGOs as antisemitic!

October 22, 2020

The normally reliable Jerusalem (By SARAH CHEMLA) reports on 22 Ocrtober 2020 that US President Donald Trump may declare major international Human Rights NGO’s Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Oxfam as antisemitic in a soon-to-be released State Department declaration, voicing that governments should not support them any longer. If the declaration happens, it is likely to cause an uproar among civil society groups and might incite litigation. Critics of the possible move also worry it could lead other governments to further crack down on such groups, according to Politico.

T’ruah, a rabbinic human rights organization that represents over 2,000 rabbis, responded to the allegation on Wednesday, saying that “any US government declaration that these groups are antisemitic for criticizing the Israeli government is ridiculous, and contributes to the silencing of Israel’s human rights defenders.” It continued, adding that “the Trump administration’s smear of these three human rights organizations is yet one more example of this administration’s disregard for democracy and human rights at home and abroad.” “In casting aspersion on longtime respected human rights organizations, the Trump administration joins an ignoble list of autocratic governments that have discredited, smeared and even banned their own internal human rights organizations,” T’ruah said.”Actions such as these damage US democracy by threatening the transparency necessary to protect human rights. Human rights and civil society groups play a prophetic role, even if their words may not be ones governments want to hear.”Israel is a state bound by international human rights law, like all other members of the United Nations, and like other countries can be criticized when it fails to live up to these commitments,” it said.”By falsely smearing human rights organizations as antisemitic, the Trump administration only makes it harder to counter actual acts of antisemitism when they happen, while simultaneously harming these organizations’ effectiveness in reporting on all countries’ human rights abuses – including those of the United States.” 

ACCORDING TO Politico, the declaration is expected to take the form of a report from the office of Elan Carr, the US special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism. It would declare that it is US policy not to support such groups, including financially (NOTE: AI and HRW do not accept government funding as a matter of policy!) , and urge other governments to cease their support.The report would cite such groups’ alleged or perceived support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which has targeted Israel over its construction of settlements on land Palestinians claim for a future state. The declaration is also expected to point to reports and press statements such groups have released about the impact of Israeli settlements, as well as their involvement or perceived support for a United Nations database of businesses that operate in disputed territories, Politico said. Contacted by Politico, the organizations named in the report denied any allegations that they are antisemitic. 
[In 2019, David Collier released a report into the work of Amnesty International after monitoring dozens of social media accounts maintained by the NGO and people who work for it, and concluded that the amount of hatred Israel receives is beyond any proportion, to a level that is, he said, antisemitic.“Targets are not chosen for their actions, but rather for their identity,” wrote Collier. “Persecuted Christians are blatantly ignored.”[see also: https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/asa-winstanley/how-racist-blogger-david-collier-infiltrated-labour-party]

However, some differ, see e.g.: https://www.jns.org/opinion/time-to-call-out-human-rights-groups-for-their-anti-semitism/

https://www.jpost.com/diaspora/antisemitism/trump-administration-to-declare-amnesty-human-rights-watch-oxfam-antisemitic-646535

https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/10/23/us-seeks-discredit-human-rights-groups

Espionage on Human Rights Defenders reaches further than Governments

April 13, 2014

In a very interesting post in Dissident Voice of 12 April, Binoy Kampmark picks up on the item I referred to on 9 April (https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/04/09/snowden-alleges-spy-agencies-have-targeted-human-rights-defenders/) about Snowden’s allegation that human rights defenders were also the subject of surveillance. He not only shows the discrepancy between the (rather positive) Guidelines on HRDs by the State Department and what NSA is actually doing, but also provides a link to a November 2013 report by Centre for Corporate Policy, a Washington, D.C. thinktank, titled “Spooky Business: Corporate Espionage Against Nonprofit Organizations,” which shows that aversion to dissent is endemic, and attracts birds of a feather in both government and corporate circles. According to the report, the precondition for such espionage is that the non-profit organisation in question “impairs or at least threatens a company’s assets or image sufficiently.” The targets are varied, including “environmental, antiwar, public interest, consumer, food safety, pesticide reform, nursing home reform, gun control, social justice, animal rights and arms control groups.

Irresistible: Espionage, Dissent, and NGOs | Dissident Voice.

US State Department sets out its actions to support Human Rights Defenders

March 10, 2013

On 8 March 2013 – probably timed to coincide with the debate in the UN Human Rights Council – the U.S. Department of  State published an overview of it support for Human Rights Defenders. It reads in part:

Protecting and supporting human rights defenders is a key priority of U.S. foreign policy. The Department’s objective is to enable human rights defenders to promote and defend human rights without hindrance or undue restriction and free from fear of retribution against them or their families. The work of these brave individuals and groups is an integral part of a vibrant civil society, and our investment in and support of them is likewise an investment in and support of the rule of law and democracy. Every day, around the world, many in civil society turn to us for assistance in emergency situations and to help them achieve longer-term goals that will make their countries more just and democratic.

After a short description of who are considered Human Rights Defenders and a quote from Hillary Rodham Clinton (as U.S. Secretary of State Krakow, Poland on July 3, 2010): When NGOs come under threat, we should provide protection where we can, and amplify the voices of activists by meeting with them publicly at home and abroad, and citing their work in what we say and do.” The webpage sets out the way in which the State Department protects and supports human rights defenders, including:
Read the rest of this entry »

Upcoming Human Rights Day event: web discussion on HRDs in USA

December 6, 2011

Note in your diary that you can join:

  • US Deputy Assistant Secretary Daniel Baer,
  • Doug Rutzen of the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law, and
  • Brian Dooley of Human Rights First

for a discussion about supporting human rights defenders and civil society. The event will be live-streamed on 15 December 2011 at 8:00AM (EST) and available through the CO.NX Portal: https://statedept.connectsolutions.com/hr

from: Upcoming Human Rights Day Events « humanrights.gov.