BDS IN THE PEWS
Interchurch Organization for Development Cooperation (ICCO) - Netherlands
November 03, 2011
- Website: http://www.icco.nl/en/home
- Founded in 1964
- Mission: “to work towards a world in which people live in dignity and prosperity, a world where poverty and injustice are no longer present.”
- Goals include “working for democracy and peace” and lobbying “policy makers.”
- In 2010, received €88.8 million in Dutch government funds, representing 85% of its €103.5 million budget. It also receives money from the European Union (€5.3 million, an additional 5%) and the Dutch postcode lottery (€900,000 in 2009).
- Pursues a highly prejudicial approach to the Arab-Israeli conflict, including a distorted narrative, “In Israel, human rights violations have been taking place for a long time. In 1948, when Israel was created unilaterally…” (translated from the original Dutch by NGO Monitor).
- Uses government funds to support groups and projects that are active in BDS campaigns, including Coalition of Women for Peace, BADIL, Electronic Intifada (EI), and Defense for Children International – Palestine Section (DCI-PS). Also works with the World Council of Churches (WCC), a leader in anti-Israel church divestment campaigns.
- Website is neither consistent nor transparent. The English and Dutch sites present different lists of partner NGOs and projects and, with one exception, there is no information on funding provided to local NGOs (Following criticism, ICCO revealed the scope of its funding for EI).
- Examples of ICCO’s partners and projects in Israel:
- Ittijah – one of the most radical Israeli-Arab groups, was an ICCO partner until the end of 2010. In 2003-2004, ICCO provided the group with over €125,000. In January 2011, Ittijah Director Ameer Makhoul was sentenced to nine years in prison for spying on behalf of the Hezbollah terrorist organization. In a joint press release, ICCO, Oxfam NOVIB, and Cordaid attacked the legitimacy of the Israeli justice system for convicting Makhoul, despite substantial physical evidence and though he “took responsibility for his actions.”
- Alternative Information Center (AIC) – funded for a “Democratization and conflict transformation” project. AIC provides political commentaries via its website, promotes boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS), and organized the “Apartheid Law Seminar.” Co-founder Michael Warschawski asserts that “one has to unequivocally reject the very idea (and existence) of a Jewish state, whatever will be its borders” (the Haifa Conference for the Right of Return, June 2008). Has accused Israel of “ethnic cleansing.”
- Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP) – for its “Who Profits From the Occupation” BDS project, a website which identifies corporations to target with anti-Israel divestment and boycotts. CWP regularly uses demonization rhetoric, such as referring to the security barrier as “The Apartheid Wall.”
- ICCO’s Middle East Program Officer Mieke Zagt appeared on the radio show “This Week in Palestine” in April 2010 to discuss the “numerous successes” by the BDS movement in Europe. Zagt has previously endorsed anti-Israel boycotts, including participating in a 2009 conference organized by AIC and others titled “United In Struggle Against Israeli Colonialism, Occupation, and Racism.”
- 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