Our Mission Statement
The community of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) has become extremely
powerful and influential, particularly with respect to human rights related
issues and the Arab-Israeli conflict. Their reports, protests and lobbying
activities have a dominant impact, particularly in the United Nations as
well as on the policies adopted by many governments.
Until recently, however, these NGOs, which receive significant financial
support from generous donors, philanthropic institutions, and government
budgets, have not themselves been subject to independent and critical
analysis. NGO Monitor, therefore, was founded to promote accountability,
and advance a vigorous discussion on the reports and activities of
humanitarian NGOs in the framework of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
NGOs vary widely, not only in nature and quality, but also in their apparent
motivations. Their power to “do good” is matched by their power to
misrepresent. Unlike democratically elected governments or publicly traded
companies, no systematic framework exists for holding NGOs to rigorous
standards of accountability for the statements and reports they produce. In
some situations, established NGOs that claim to pursue “universal
humanitarian goals” enjoy a ‘halo effect’ that grants immunity from detailed
scrutiny or criticism. In other cases, the assumption that their motives are
pure, and politically, as well as ideologically neutral, inhibits critical
The vast resources at the disposal of these self-proclaimed humanitarian
NGOs allows for large staffs who produce an immense volume of reports, press
releases and media interviews, turning them into primary sources for
journalists, researchers, and government policy makers. The amplifying
effect of these public pronouncements has often framed the terms of public
discourse and strongly influences the crafting of policy. NGOs are in a
dominant position to offer the supply to meet the demand for quick and
focused information on what Prof. Irwin Cotler has called “the new secular
religion of human rights”.
However, as NGO Monitor has revealed, in many cases, the established
humanitarian NGOs produce reports and launch campaigns that stand in sharp
contradiction to their own noble mission statements claiming to uphold
universal human rights values. Selective morality, as evidenced in the
obscuring or simply the removal of context alongside highly misleading
reporting, often through incomplete images, have made widespread gross
distortions of the humanitarian dimension of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
The aim of NGO Monitor is to provide information and analysis, in order to
challenge such interpretations and the perceptions that have been built up
by fostering a comprehensive debate on these critical issues.