There are two answers. First, Palestinians think knowledge of these connections would tarnish their sympathetic image as weak, suffering victims. Second, it is valuable to have international organizations wearing the mask of impartial observers while lending their authority to Palestinian claims. Knowing the degree of Palestinian control over them would destroy this useful fiction.
It is this mask of impartiality that Finkelstein tore aside, revealing for a brief moment the tip of an iceberg—the Europeans, Americans, even Israelis who follow Palestinian “marching orders” while pretending to be free Western agents of truth and morality.
The buck, Dr. Finkelstein, does not stop at the one-man Ramallah NGOs or the international organizations that support them. The same “10,556,454 Palestinian civil society organizations” that you say represent “absolutely nothing” are the source of every report you have ever quoted in your attacks on Israel. And the facts show that we should trust them just as much as you do when it comes to their self-portrayal.
The Soviets named the country’s only legal newspaper Truth (Pravda). Soon enough, everyone knew you could find no truth in Truth. In the Mideast, human right activists do the same disservice to the idea of human rights.
Ran Baratz, a Ph.D. in philosophy, is the executive director of the Tikvah-Bar Ilan summer program in political thought, economics, and strategy.
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