JERUSALEM (JTA) — A majority of Israelis believe reports by nongovernmental organizations are biased and damage Israel’s image, according to a new poll.
Some 89 percent of Israelis who responded to the poll said that human rights issues are very important, but 51 percent believe that NGOs favor the Palestinians and 19 percent think they are equally concerned with Israelis and Palestinians.
The poll was commissioned by the Jerusalem-based watchdog NGO Monitor and the Public Diplomacy Program at Bar-Ilan University’s Department of Political Science, and conducted by Keevoon Research.
It also found that some 83 percent of those questioned said that Israel is better at protecting human rights than other Middle Eastern countries, and 55 percent believed that Israel is also better at protecting human rights than Western countries.
"Human rights are clearly important to Israelis, but they also reject the ‘halo effect’ that hides the biases and other limitations in Amnesty, B’tselem, Machsom Watch and many more NGOs, and contribute to the demonization of Israel," said Professor Gerald Steinberg, NGO Monitor’s executive director and chair of the Department of Political Studies at Bar-Ilan University.
About 500 Jewish Israelis were questioned by telephone for the study, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5.
The poll was released Dec. 11 to coincide with a conference marking the 60th anniversary since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Genocide Convention.