On November 1, 2012, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) distributed its monthly newsletter, which included a description of the NGO’s “financial collapse.” According to ICAHD founder Jeff Halper, this was “due to over-dependency on a few major donors…given the limited pool of funders willing to step out and support such an outspoken group.”
As a result of the financial difficulties, ICAHD faces eviction from its offices, and co-director Itay Epshtain (formerly of Amnesty-Israel) has announced that he will leave the organization. Halper indicated that ICAHD would focus on grassroots fundraising, as opposed to “applying to large and bureaucratic donors.”
ICAHD’s main donors have included the European Union; the governments of Denmark, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Sweden via NDC; Spain; Trocaire (Ireland); UN Development Programme; World Vision; and Mennonite Central Committee. While ICAHD’s statement did not specify which funding had been cut, a highly controversial €169,661 grant from the EU expired in June 2012. (It appears, based on the publically available information, that ICAHD has not filed the required annual reports with the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits since 2007.)
ICAHD’s extensive difficulties demonstrate the degree to which political advocacy NGOs are dependent institutionally on what some funders refer to as “project support.” Although these government donors often claim that their money does not fund NGO salaries, travel, public relations, and offices, this is clearly incorrect.
NGO Monitor also notes that despite the funding crisis, on November 4, Epshtain traveled to Amman, Jordan in order to contribute to the demonization of Israel through false claims before the UN Fact-Finding Mission on Israeli Settlements. In keeping with the 2001 NGO Durban strategy, ICAHD’s statement called for “the criminalization of Israeli officials that perpetrate settlement and related policies and practices”; named Prime Minister Netanyahu, Defense Minister Barak, Justice Minster Neeman, Chief of General Staff Ganz, and other officials as “Israeli duty-bearers” that are allegedly “responsible for perpetrating policies and practices that may constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity”; and proposed an invented crime against humanity “prolonged and indefinite occupation.”