Public Interest Investigations (Spinwatch), a British based research group, released on Monday, 13 July 2015, a report on Israel’s attempt to mislead the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
The report, titled How Israel attempts to mislead the United Nations: Deconstructing Israel’s campaign against the Palestinian Return Centre, reveals an organised network of key Israeli intelligence centres as well as think-tanks and civil society organisations supporting the campaign to affect the ECOSOC member states.
Spinwatch concludes that, “The allegations against the PRC are hearsay. The oft cited report by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, which reportedly has links with the Israeli military, does not provide any concrete evidence, lacks citations, self-admittedly relies on circumstantial evidence, erases political diversity in PRC activities and focuses on individuals not actively affiliated with the organisation. Two particular groups are currently active in the public campaign against the PRC at the United Nations: UN Watch and NGO Monitor. Both are funded by right-wing pro-Israel and Islamophobic groups in the US.”
The Palestinian Return Centre (PRC), an NGO based in London, was granted special consultative status at the UN’s ECOSOC by the Committee on Non-Governmental Organisations on 1 June 2015. Since then, Israeli government officials and affiliated civil society organisations have actively lobbied ECOSOC members to reverse this decision, based on Israel’s allegation that the PRC is affiliated with Hamas.
Spinwatch’s brief study examines the Israeli-led campaign against the PRC, critically analysing the ‘intelligence report’ that is cited by Israeli officials and related civil society organisations as justification for linking the PRC with Hamas.
“We find that the allegations in this report are based on circumstantial evidence and remain unproven,” states the report.
Written by Dr. Sarah Marusek and Prof. Davd Miller, this study also uncovers that a network of pro-Israel and anti-Muslim groups in the United States are funding the civil society organisations campaigning against the PRC. These groups, including charities, think tanks and media, are not disparate and unrelated to each other; they are connected through key individuals, share funders and uncritically reproduce the same Israeli government views.
The report states that, “The PRC is a non-governmental organisation registered in London that is dedicated to finding a solution for Palestinian refugees in accordance with international and humanitarian law through organising conferences, events, delegations and published materials, working with Palestinians alongside UN and government officials.”