The European Commission (EC), the executive branch of the European Union, allocates funding to NGOs in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza via the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (NGO Monitor analysis can be found here), Partnership for Peace (NGO Monitor analysis can be found here), the Anna Lindh Foundation, and other frameworks.
NGO funding is a central component of EU foreign policy, portrayed as helping to stabilize societies and ensure peace in the EU’s neighboring regions.
In contrast, some of the NGOs funded by the EU use human rights as a façade to promote political agendas contrary to the EU’s stated policy for the resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict. This includes campaigns calling for anti-Israel BDS (boycotts, divestment, and sanctions), using inflammatory rhetoric to delegitimize the state of Israel, and opposing a two-state solution.
Oversight for NGO projects is severely lacking. For instance, an independent evaluation of a major EU-funded project on “Abolition of the Death Penalty” found that “information gathered from files and interviews with EC staff show weak monitoring by EC staff and poor knowledge of what projects are actually about, particularly at the Brussels level.”
There is also a complete absence of transparency and accountability. Project evaluations are not released, making it impossible to independently verify that projects achieve their stated goals and reflect the foreign policy objectives of the EU. (In response to requests from NGO Monitor, the EC provided a disk of documents with most details deleted.)
Additionally, NGOs and NGO projects are selected for EU funding by unknown officials in local EC offices. They may have close connections to the NGOs that receive funding, a clear conflict of interest, or are guided by ideological considerations. Despite requests from Members of European Parliament (MEPs) and NGO Monitor, the names and backgrounds of the decision makers have not been released.
Limited information on grants to NGOs is available on the websites of the EU Technical Assistance Office in East Jerusalem and the Delegation of the EU to Israel in Tel Aviv.
- Media Impact on EU Court Case, January 27, 2013
- Analysis of the European Commission’s answer to MEP Essayah, NGO Monitor Reports, December 20, 2010
- Analysis of European Parliament Plenary Session September 8, 2010: "Draft bill on Israeli NGOs", September 9, 2010
- Prof. Gerald Steinberg’s Prepared Remarks to the European Parliament SubCommittee on Human Rights, June 23, 2010
- EIDHR: Additional European Funding for Mideast Conflict Groups, March 16, 2010
- Lawsuit against European Commission on transparency and accountability
- Analysis of EC Response on Funding for Political NGOs, NGO Monitor Reports, November 30, 2009
- EC´s Partnerships for Peace 2007-8 NGO Grantees: Funding Conflict under the Façade of Peace, NGO Monitor Report, April 6, 2009
- Partnerships for Peace? An analysis of the European Commission's NGO funding under the PfP Program, NGO Monitor Report, December 18, 2008.
- Europe's Hidden Hand: NGO Monitor study on EU funding for political NGOs in the Arab Israeli conflict
- Minutes of Selection Committee meeting for NGO funding "in support of the Middle East peace process", (leaked document), September 29, 1999