NGO Monitor’s smear campaign against the Electronic Intifada

I don’t watch Fox News, I don’t read the Chicago Sun-Times, and I only visit CNN’s website to catch a glimpse of how lopsided the West’s perception of the Israel-Palestine conflict is. I get my news from the Electronic Intifada.

I’m aware of the anti-Arab bias inherent in most American news publications so I do my best to find alternative sources – sources so far removed from the American machine that they can effectively make public the Palestinian narrative; sources like the Electronic Intifada. But because the Electronic Intifada does what others don’t, it’s vulnerable to attacks by anti-Palestinian propagandists wishing to ruin the credibility of one of the world’s leading independent news publications. The most recent attack comes from NGO Monitor, and although I see it as nothing more than an underhanded attempt to defame and belittle honest journalism, I call on you to publically support the work that the Electronic Intifada does for you and for the Palestinian cause.

The Electronic Intifada is a very humble organization. It is understaffed and underfunded, yet with their very limited resources, its small group of world-class journalists, historians, analysts, and activists consistently put out the very essence of the Palestinian narrative. Allow me to put this in perspective. NGOs of the same caliber as the Electronic Intifada typically have enough funding for a lavish office space and the professional equipment necessary for work. An interview, for example, requires at least two high-definition cameras with microscopic microphones and lighting effects. On the other hand, an interview with the Electronic Intifada uses a single modest handheld camera and a compact tripod – the kind of materials we find stowed away in our basements. I saw this with my own eyes, and when I asked for the location of the organization’s main office, I was bluntly told that it didn’t exist. The Electronic Intifada truly works from the heart.

So why would such a non-threatening organization cause such an uproar? It’s simple really. According to Wikipedia, the Electronic Intifada aims to combat the pro-Israel spin its editors believe exists in mainstream media by promoting the reality of Palestine without any distortion or modification. Such a noble undertaking doesn’t require fancy equipment or spacious office buildings. Rather, it requires honest journalism which is something the far-right and conservative NGO Monitor isn’t yet used to seeing.

Notoriously affiliated to the Israeli military and many of its lawmakers, NGO Monitor operates under the same lopsided values present in American mainstream media accounts. But because the Electronic Intifada challenges these inherently distorted presentations of Palestine through the news, NGO Monitor took it upon itself to label the organization “anti-Semitic” in the hopes of discouraging its funding sources and silencing the work of its editors.

Unfortunately for NGO Monitor, its allegation is unsubstantiated. Nowhere on the site is there any reference to anti-Semitic sentiment. It simply has no place in the Electronic Intifada’s work. It is true that the organization is critical of Israel and its apartheid-like policies but this is not anti-Semitism; this is merely political dissent which is acceptable, even encouraged, in the name of democracy. If anything, the Israeli law that prohibits Arabs from purchasing land in the occupied territories or from traveling on certain highways is anti-Semitic since Arabs are Semites, too – a fact that even NGO Monitor often forgets.

The Electronic Intifada’s purpose is to reveal the truth to the masses, not to manipulate them into sympathy for a country dedicated to oppressing Palestinians to such an extent that it’s become indoctrinated into its law and custom. NGO Monitor’s allegations against the Electronic Intifada only mean one thing: the movement to conquer mainstream bias is growing in strength. When Israel itself feels threatened by a short-staffed independent media organization, we can all be sure that the Electronic Intifada is doing the right thing.

The Electronic Intifada is under attack and although the allegations are unsubstantiated, the organization needs your help now more than ever before. It costs money to keep the website going and even more money to challenge the American pro-Israel machine. I urge you, donate here and please keep this movement alive.

Sami Kishawi

— — —

Resources:

Why NGO Monitor is attacking The Electronic Intifada
Report, 30 November 2010

The Electronic Intifada Campaign: Help keep our reporting strong in 2011
Appeal, 8 December 2010

Appeal by Co-Founder Ali Abunimah
14 December 2010

Now we know why Israel is trying to shut down The Electronic Intifada.

Recently I wrote to you and other friends about the attack [or see below] on The Electronic Intifada by NGO Monitor, an extremist Israeli group that works with the Israel’s far-right government and wants to shut us down.

At a 9 December press conference at the Israeli Foreign Ministry, hosted by Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, the head of NGO Monitor said:

“… we also see this combination between a very powerful organization called the Electronic Intifada, and the people who are involved in that, a gentleman by the name of Ali Abunimah in particular, who appears on many, many campuses and frameworks, preaching the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions and one-state, eliminate-the-State-of-Israel solution…”

Of course NGO Monitor distorts the truth, and tries to misrepresent what we as a publication do and what I as an individual say, but they are right about one thing: we are powerful, because the original news and analysis published by The Electronic Intifada empowers activists all over the world who are working for justice, equality and respect for universal rights in Palestine.

We’re a small publication, standing up to the might of Israel and making a big difference by educating thousands of people every day.

I am privileged to work with an incredible editorial team, and The Electronic Intifada counts on dozens of first class reporters, writers and activists. We can do this work and withstand these attacks only because of the support of people like you. You make us powerful and Israel has noticed.

To remain strong and independent in 2011 we must raise $100,000 by December 31. We’ve already raised almost $30,000, but we still have a long way to go. Be powerful and make a tax-deductible donation today!

With thanks on behalf of The Electronic Intifada Team

Ali Abunimah

PS: You can read more about our campaign, and revisit some of the great articles that have made Israeli so mad! Donate Now.

There are 2 comments

  1. Adam X

    Electronic Intifada is not a group of “journalists” and it is not a “news” site.

    It was founded by a group of pro-Palestinian activists with a sole mission of trying to spread their particular message. EI allows no articles on their site unless they’re blatantly pro-Israel and anti-Israeli. And EI doesn’t even allow comments which are contrary to their viewpoint.

    Electronic Intifada is on par with camera.org and jihadwatch.com sites with the sole mission of showing how terrible extremists Muslims are.

    All three of these sites are sheer propaganda, and need to be treated as such.

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