BDS IN THE PEWS
Interchurch Organization for Development Cooperation (ICCO) - Netherlands
April 01, 2014
- Website: http://www.icco-international.com/int/
- A Dutch church-based organization, founded in 1964.
- Mission: to “work towards a world in which people can live in dignity and well-being, a world without poverty and injustice.”
- Claims to be an “independent civil society organizations that do[es] not hold on to any political party or political movement.”
- ICCO’s Guidelines on Lobby and Advocacy announce: “In ICCO’s view, the Dutch government ought to be playing a more active role in putting pressure on the government of the state of Israel.” ICCO has therefore “decided to focus its lobby and advocacy efforts” on “trying to influence the Dutch government directly, targeting key officials responsible for policies on the Middle East,” “targeting the Christian community in the Netherlands via the Olive Tree Campaign,” and “exerting pressure on Dutch companies that profit from the occupation.”
- Funding: Receives large scale funding from the Dutch government; the Dutch government also views ICCO as an important partner in the Middle East.
- In 2012, the Dutch Government provided ICCO with €82 million (84% of total budget). ICCO also received €5,310,874 from the EU, meaning approximately 90% of ICCO’s budget is from government entities.
- Partners with and uses government funds to support groups that are active in BDS campaigns, including Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP), BADIL, Electronic Intifada, Al Haq, Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI), Defense for Children International – Palestine Section (DCI-PS), Addameer, and others. Also works with the World Council of Churches (WCC), a leader in anti-Israel church divestment campaigns.
- Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP): CWP is a leader of BDS campaigns, particularly via the “Who Profits?” online database (now an independent organization), which identifies targets for boycotts, divestments and sanctions against Israel. CWP officials have been photographed holding a flag of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – an EU-recognized terrorist organization responsible for numerous attacks against civilians.
- Al Haq is a leader in the anti-Israel “lawfare” campaign, regularly submits politically motivated reports to the UN Human Rights Council and other international bodies, and was an active participant in the 2001 Durban World Conference against Racism, which adopted the strategy of promoting the complete international isolation and demonization of Israel.
- Zochrot seeks to “raise public awareness of the Palestinian Nakba [catastrophe]” and the right of return. This agenda is equivalent to calling for the elimination of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. Zochrot also accuses Israel of “ethnic cleansing,” “forcible displacement" and "dispossession."
- Following parliamentary discussions and NGO Monitor reports, ICCO significantly decreased transparency regarding activities in the Mideast and its funding for highly politicized Israeli, Palestinian, and international partner NGOs.
- Despite inquiries and objections from the Dutch government regarding ICCO’s funding for Electronic Intifada, one of the most virulent platforms for promoting anti-Israel rhetoric, ICCO stated that it did not change its policy of funding the group.
- Attempts to justify BDS initiatives, which immorally single out Israel, as a “peaceful and legal way of trying to end [the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories].”
- In 2012, ICCO joined a coalition of 22 European NGOs in producing a report, “Trading Away Peace: How Europe Helps Sustain Illegal Israeli Settlements,” which repeats the BDS agenda and calls on the EU and national governments to wage political warfare through various forms of economic sanctions on Israel.
- Supports the Kairos Palestine document, which calls for BDS against Israel and denies the Jewish historical connection to Israel. On October 2011, ICCO representatives met with Kairos Palestine officials to discuss “ways of promoting the document.”
- In an article, “Painful Conclusions” (published July 29, 2013), ICCO consultant Jonathan Huseman quotes from Dutch-Palestinian politician and ICCO advisor Arjan el Fassed’s book saying, “It looks like apartheid, it smells like apartheid, it feels like apartheid, but the world does not want to see it that way. Because if this is apartheid, this has huge implications for how governments will deal with this conflict.”
- Economic Cooperation or Economic Warfare?, Jody Sieradzki, The Jerusalem Post, December 8, 2013
- Dutch Support for BDS Campaigns: ICCO, NGO Monitor Factsheet, December 5, 2013
- Analysis of Dutch Government Funding for Israeli and Palestinian Political Advocacy NGOs, NGO Monitor Reports, October 5, 2011
- Indirect Dutch Government Funding: ICCO and Cordaid support for radical NGOs, NGO Monitor Reports, June 27, 2011