- The governments of Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland pledged approximately $16 million to be distributed by the NGO Development Center (NDC) in 2010-2013.
- With this funding, NDC renewed its support for BADIL, an NGO that rejects the Roadmap for Peace and has published antisemitic cartoons on its website. However, in May 2011, the Swiss media and the Jerusalem Post reported that the governments “froze [BADIL’s] funding stream” because of the cartoon.
- NDC funding also continues for Al Haq, despite the alleged ties between the NGO’s general director and the PFLP terror organization, as well as its role in attempts to have Israeli leaders arrested for “war crimes.”
- NDC promotes rejectionism, encouraging its NGO grantees to reject “any normalization activities with the occupier, neither at the political-security nor the cultural or developmental levels” (emphasis added).
- Contrary to the foreign policy of the donor countries, NDC funds eight NGOs promoting boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns aimed at isolating Israel internationally.
- NGO Monitor has not received responses from the governments of Denmark, Sweden, or Switzerland, on the findings of this report. The Netherlands Representative Office responded that a forthcoming statement is being prepared by the Dutch government.
In 2008, Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland established the Human Rights and Good Governance Secretariat (HR/GG Secretariat) run by the NGO Development Center (NDC) in Ramallah. These governments have pledged a new round of funding for 2010-2013.
Information on the relationship between the governments and the NDC is unclear and contradictory: In one place on its website, NDC states, “The final decision on all matters relating to the Secretariat lies with the donors” (emphasis added). Elsewhere, however, local NDC officials appear to assume the leadership role, “(T)he donors entrusted NDC again to manage the second phase of the HR/GG Secretariat for the period May 2010 to June 2013” (emphasis added).
Officials from the Dutch government told NGO Monitor that the four donor countries are behind the awarding of grants to NGOs and are in principle also overseeing the projects. The NDC is the administrative body only, but NDC personnel are also involved in the daily activities of the Secretariat.
From July 2008 through December 2009, the HR/GG Secretariat and NDC distributed $6 million to 25 NGOs on behalf of the four governments. These governments have pledged an additional $16 million (approximately) for 2010-2013, and more than $8 million has already been earmarked for Israeli and Palestinian NGOs in 2010-2012.
NDC “facilitated,” funded, and encourages its NGO grantees to adopt the “Palestinian NGO Code of Conduct,” which demands that Palestinian groups reject “any normalization activities with the occupier, neither at the political-security nor the cultural or developmental levels” (emphasis added). This rejectionist stance is incompatible with promoting peace. Officially, NGOs receiving grants from the HR/GG Secrateriat are not formally obligated to sign this document.
NGO Monitor’s report, “Promoting Israel’s Isolation: Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands Funding for NDC and NGOs,” details the radical political agendas of many of the NDC-funded NGOs from the first round of funding.
Before publication of this report, NGO Monitor asked officials from the representative offices of Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland to comment on the research. The governments of Denmark, Sweden, and Switzerland did not respond to NGO Monitor’s inquiries. The Dutch Representative Office in Ramallah referred to an expected statement by the Dutch Foreign Minister on Dutch funding in general. As of publication of this report, the statement was not yet available.
Analysis of new HR/GG grants 2010-12:
In the past, the HR/GG has supported NGOs that advance BDS (boycotts, divestment and sanctions) campaigns to isolate Israel.
Between 2010 and 2012, $1,912,000 will be channeled to NGOs actively promoting BDS. Grantees include BDS proponents such as:
Two additional NGOs, ARIJ ($40,000) and Miftah ($110,000), have been accepted as new grantees despite their participation in BDS campaigns. (See analysis of each NGO below.)
In contrast, all of the four donor countries reject the boycott of Israel. Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal responded to reports on Dutch funding for organizations involved in BDS: “Let me stress that I share your concerns about the so-called BDS activities.”
The HR/GG has increased funding to B’Tselem, Musawa, HaMoked, Adalah and Gisha. In addition, radical political NGOs such as BADIL and DCI-PS have also been awarded increased funding for 2010-2012.
Decreased and unchanged funding:
The HR/GG continues its support for PCHR, Al-Dameer, ICAHD, ACRI, Bimkom, PCATI, Al Mezan and Al-Haq. Over the past few years, the governments of Norway, the Netherlands, and Canada have ended their direct funding for Al-Haq. However, the NGO continues to receive funding from the Netherlands via the HR/GG.
Ended funding from the previous round:
In the new round, the HR/GG no longer funds the political advocacy NGOs, Yesh Din, Breaking the Silence, Ma’an Development Center, Physicians for Human Rights – Israel (PHR-I) and PNGO (see NGO Monitor’s previous reports for details on these NGOs).
NGOs funded by the Human Rights / Good Governance Secretariat 2010-2012
Adalah submitted a legal opinion to a Spanish court in support of a PCHR case to have seven Israeli officials arrested for “war crimes.” It published “Occupation, Colonialism, Apartheid?: A re-assessment of Israel´s practices in the occupied Palestinian territories under international law,” its “Democratic Constitution” demands that Israel recognize “the right of return of Palestinian refugees,” and it declares that the State of Israel should no longer be Jewish, but a “democratic, bilingual and multicultural” state, and immigration of Jews would not be permitted unless for “humanitarian reasons.”
Al Haq ($134,000)
General Director Shawan Jabarin has been denied exit visas by Israel and Jordan on account of his alleged ties to the PFLP terrorist organization (a group most known for airline hijackings; the assassination of Israeli tourism minister, Rehavam Ze’evi; and the March 2011 brutal murder of a sleeping Israeli family, including three small children). The Israeli Supreme Court in June 2007 referred to Jabarin as a “Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde,” a human rights worker by day and a terrorist by night. NDC and HR/GG Secretariat officials have not clarified what steps they have taken to insure that its funding is not used to promote PFLP activities.
Al Haq is active in using inflammatory rhetoric in its activities. For instance, in the publication “Racial Discrimination and Apartheid in the Israeli-Palestinian Context,” Al Haq falsely claims that “Israel’s practices and policies vis-à-vis the Palestinians constitute apartheid.”
Al Haq is also a leader of campaigns to have Israeli officials arrested for “war crimes” in Europe. In September 2009, Al Haq and Al Mezan filed for an arrest warrant in the UK against Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, alleging that “Barak committed and/or ordered, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions.” The petition was rejected by the British court the same day it was filed. Al Haq has also filed a criminal complaint in the Netherlands against the Dutch firm, Riwal, for “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity.” A 2008 civil case filed in Canada against a Canadian corporation for complicity in alleged Israeli “war crimes” was dismissed by the courts.
It is an active participant in BDS campaigns.
Al Mezan’s activities reflect a radical anti-Israel agenda, including promoting claims of “Israeli war crimes,” “apartheid,” “ethnic cleansing,” “criminal aggression against civilians,” “Israeli massacres,” and “slaughtering civilians.” The organization also offensively employs Nazi and Holocaust rhetoric, referring to Israeli “incit[ement]” to “holocaust (genocide).” Al Mezan has joined the lawfare movement, partnering with Al-Haq in September 2009 in an attempt to arrest Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak in the UK.
Applied Research Institute Jerusalem (ARIJ) ($40,000)
ARIJ is a member of the Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Coalition and supports boycotts. It employs the rhetoric of “ethnic cleansing,” “transfer,” “land grab,” and “colonization activities” in the institution’s publications, including those funded by the EU.
Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) ($50,000)
ACRI uses terms like “apartheid,” Israeli “institutionalized racism” (at the Sabeel conference), and presented a position paper to members of the Knesset that claims that “to define the State of Israel as a ‘Jewish State’ in an obligatory article in the constitution is problematic.” ACRI also accuses Israel of “collective punishment” in Gaza and claims that the security barrier is a “violation of international law.”
BADIL was founded to promote a so-called Palestinian “right of return.” In 2010 it signed a document explicitly rejecting the Roadmap for Peace and the Arab Peace Initiative, in sharp contradiction to the goals and policies of its government sponsors.
BADIL has also published antisemitic cartoons on its website, as well as imagery promoting a one-state solution and denying Israel’s right to exist (see Appendix).
In April 2011, following the killing of Italian citizen Vittorio Arrigoni by Palestinian radicals, an author for the BADIL magazine, Al Majdal, stated: “Sadly, this crime portrayed the worst possible image of Palestinians… Of course, there is no doubt that Israel maybe behind it” (emphasis added).
The organization uses inflammatory rhetoric, violating the EU guidelines on antisemitism, such as referring to “the Zionist project to establish the state of Israel as a racist colonial entity” (emphasis added).
In 2007, BADIL published a strategy document aimed at antagonizing Jews, advocating efforts to “[e]nlist journalists to organize a targeted campaign to expose the lies of AIPAC and the Anti-Defamation League and to expose the Jewish and Zionist community's double standards regarding Nakba & Occupation.”
Badil is a leader in the international BDS movement.
Bimkom seeks to “strengthen democracy and human rights in the field of planning,” which has encompassed criticizing Israel’s planning procedures and trying to “retroactively legalize illegal construction in Arab neighborhoods” of Jerusalem. Although it claims to work with both Jewish and Arab populations, all campaigns and key projects address Palestinian and Arab communities. Bimkom regularly responds to events outside its stated mission and participates in political action unrelated to planning rights, such as petitioning against “collective punishment” in Gaza and accusing the Israeli army of targeting Palestinian medical teams and ambulances. The organization was part of an NGO coalition that submitted several statements to the Goldstone Mission that were incorporated into the Goldstone Report.
This NGO “acts primarily to change Israeli policy in the Occupied Territories,” a political objective. While widely considered Israel’s premier human rights organization, B’Tselem has faced serious criticism for its misrepresentations of international law, inaccurate research, skewed statistics (including casualty lists), and selective coverage of violations against Israelis. As with the global campaign against Israel’s security barrier, B’Tselem was at the forefront of labeling Israeli responses to terror from Gaza as “collective punishment.” B’Tselem also claimed that Israel violated international humanitarian law in Gaza in 2008 by using “excessive and disproportionate force,” failing to distinguish between civilians and combatants, and using “prohibited weapons.” Reports alleging human rights violations often lack credibility.
Defence for Children International – Palestine Section (DCI-PS) ($639,000)
DCI-PS claims to be dedicated to “promoting and protecting the rights of Palestinian children.” It uses the language of demonization, including falsely accusing Israel of “targeting unarmed children.”
The NGO advocates for issues beyond children’s rights, including promoting a return of descendants of Palestinian refugees into Israel, lobbying for international sanctions against Israel, and appearing before the United Nations Human Rights Council to accuse Israel of “war crimes.” DCI-PS published a poster referring to Israeli security measurements as “a central pillar of the Apartheid-like system of discrimination in place in these areas.” DCI-PS is also active in BDS campaigns.
During and after the Gaza War, DCI-PS was part of the network of political advocacy NGOs promoting the unsupported allegation that the vast majority of Palestinian casualties were civilians. On April 14, 2010, DCI-PS published a list alleging that 352 children died “as a direct result of Israel's military offensive,” even though several of these individuals were actually involved in combat. DCI-PS’s figures were further discredited in November 2010, when Hamas Interior Minister Fathi admitted that 600-700 Hamas members were killed in the Gaza fighting – more than double the number of combatants published by the NGOs.
Gisha promotes claims of Israeli “collective punishment” and that Gaza remains “occupied” under international law despite the 2005 Israeli disengagement. It also claims that Israel is under a legal obligation to grant “freedom of movement” within Israeli territory to Gaza residents. It produced a widely viewed YouTube animation funded by the UK government that attacks Israel’s Gaza policy while minimizing the thousands of Palestinian rocket attacks targeting Israeli civilians.
Miftah is run by Hanan Ashrawi. At the virulent 2001 UN Durban Conference NGO Forum, Ashrawi addressed the conference claiming that “I come to you today with a heavy heart leaving behind a nation in captivity held hostage to an ongoing Nakba, as the most intricate and pervasive expression of persistent colonialism, apartheid, racism, and victimization.”
Its website is a forum for the demonization of Israel and “disseminate[s] the Palestinian narrative and discourse globally.” During fighting in Gaza, Miftah condemned Israeli “atrocities” and “massacres,” invoking the strategy in Jenin (2002). An opinion piece on January 8, 2009 declared, “Israel has opened the gates of hell to the Palestinians,” and denounced defense of Israeli actions as “scandalous fabrications.”
HaMoked accuses Israel of “war crimes,” with only a token reference to Hamas’ “sporadic” rocket fire against Israel civilians. It called the Gaza war a “punitive operation” and promoted the unverified claim that “[m]any prisoners… were held in pits in the ground… apparently dug by the army.” During the Gaza war, HaMoked distorted international law to criminalize Israeli actions, falsely claiming that “phosphorous and cluster bombs” are “illegal weapons prohibited by International Humanitarian Law.” HaMoked has also compared Israel to “totalitarian countries.”
In 2006, Israel’s State Prosecutor asserted that HaMoked’s “self-presentation as ‘a human rights organization’ has no basis in reality and is designed to mislead.”
Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) ($76,000)
ICAHD is a radical NGO that utilizes “apartheid” and “ethnic cleansing” rhetoric and supports the BDS movement. ICAHD head Jeff Halper regularly refers to the Israeli “matrix of control,” claiming that a bi-national state is the only remaining option resulting from Israel’s “futile attempt to impose an apartheid regime.” ICAHD’s website promotes a “campaign against apartheid,” and accuses Israel of “state terrorism.” Halper has claimed that Israel “wants to enclose [the Palestinians] in a little Bantustan-type state.” ICAHD refers to the demolition of illegally built houses as “discriminatory discourse” and “racist measures.”
While the majority of Musawa’s activities appear to focus on securing “the independence of the [Palestinian] Judiciary and the legal profession,” in December 2008, it publicized a statement accusing the “Israeli occupying forces” of “malicious intent to inflict as many casualties as possible.” The Musawa executive director has also written a letter to PA President Mahmoud Abbas asking him to support the “prosecution of Israel‘s leaders for war crimes in the international courts” to “bring Israeli leaders and army officials to justice.”
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights ($425,000)
PCHR is a Gaza-based NGO headed by Raji Sourani that promotes inflammatory rhetoric against Israel and is highly active in UN frameworks, promoting its narrative.
During the Gaza War, PCHR published daily accusations of “collective punishment” and “indiscriminate killing and continued systematic destruction of all the Palestinian institutions and civilian facilities in the Gaza Strip,” and blamed the “international donor” community for “bankrolling the occupation” and of “complicity in Israeli violations of international law.” It refers to Palestinian deliberate rocket attacks on Israeli civilians as “resistance.”
PCHR alleged that almost 70% of all casualties in the Gaza War were civilian, including two senior Hamas military leaders, an unsubstantiated claim that was repeated in the media and in the Goldstone report. PCHR’s figures have been independently disproven by several sources.
PCHR is a leader in the “lawfare” strategy of exploiting the universal jurisdiction statutes to bring cases against Israeli political and military officials for “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity.” PCHR has filed lawsuits in the UK, Switzerland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the US.
In 2008, PCHR filed a lawsuit in Spain seeking the arrest of seven Israeli military officials for the targeted killing of Hamas military leader Salah Shehade – responsible for the murder and injury of hundreds of Israeli civilians, including dozens of women and children. As part of its case strategy, PCHR routinely alleges false claims about the Israeli courts and military justice system, which have been rejected by the Spanish Supreme Court and by Judge Mary McGowan Davis, who headed the Goldstone Follow-up Committee.
Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) ($33,000)
PCATI engages in highly political activities, including supporting the arrest and prosecution of Israeli officials in European courts. Along with PCHR, Adalah, and Al Haq, PCATI has lobbied the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to open investigations against Israeli officials. PCATI also signed a petition to the Spanish government opposing the “resolution that limits the exercise of universal jurisdiction of the Spanish courts” – a law that had been exploited against Israeli officials. CEO Ishai Menuchin is a vocal proponent of these politicized cases, writing, “it is appropriate that they be investigated and that justice be served with their perpetrators in different courts.”
An official from the NGO testified in Geneva before the Goldstone Committee, where they referred to Israel’s “unacceptable collective punishment” and to Palestinian “martyrs.” Similarly, PCATI’s submission to the UN’s Committee Against Torture accused Israel of “deliberate and indiscriminate” attacks on “civilians and civilian objects,” even though the organization openly admitted that these topics “do not per se fall under the [Torture] Convention.”
Appendix - Posters published by BADIL
2010 Al-Awda Awards: Second place
2007 Al Awda Awards submission
2) Promoting one-state solution:
2010 Al-Awda Awards: 3rd place
2010 Al Awda Awards: 3rd place