BDS IN THE PEWS
Irish Government Funding for Political NGOs Involved in Anti-Israel Campaigns
October 11, 2012
- Irish Aid, Ireland’s assistance program for developing countries, funds Israeli, Palestinian, Irish, and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Claiming to “promote coherence across the full range of Irish government policies on issues such as agriculture, trade, the environment and fiscal matters,” in reality, Irish Aid funds many NGOs that participate in anti-Israel activities. The same is true for Trócaire, a church-based humanitarian aid framework that also receives government funds.
- Palestinian and Israeli political NGOs directly funded by the Irish government include: Al Haq, Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), Gisha, Bimkom, Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI), Miftah, Alternative Information Center, and Yesh Din. Some of these groups are active in BDS (boycotts, divestment and sanctions) campaigns; anti-Israel campus activities; and lawfare against Israeli officials, IDF soldiers, and corporations. These NGOs also receive indirect Irish funding estimated at millions of NIS.
- Irish-funded NGOs involved in lawfare (partial list):
- Yesh Din (331,200 NIS in 2010-2011) – In addition to involvement in lawfare and the discredited Goldstone Report, this group continues to promote false allegations regarding Israeli “war crimes.” For instance, in December 2011 Yesh Din published a report that falsely claims that the IDF military police and military advocate general corps “fail” in their duty to investigate IDF soldiers. The purpose of this report is to undermine the Israeli military justice system, thus reinforcing the justification for filing “war crimes” cases in European and international tribunals.
- Al Haq ($186,689 in 2009) – Al Haq is a leader in anti-Israel lawfare campaigns, seeking to prosecute Israeli officials, and to damage Israeli political and business ties with other countries. The group attempted to secure an arrest warrant for Defense Minister Ehud Barak in the UK (2009), and filed a civil suit against a Canadian corporation for allegedly “aiding, abetting, assisting and conspiring with the State of Israel” to commit “war crimes” (2008). Al Haq also filed a suit for judicial review of UK export licenses to Israel (2009). This lawsuit was designed to circumvent the British legislative process and UK foreign policy in order to secure a judicially imposed embargo of all British “aid or assistance (military or otherwise) to Israel.” The group also suggested “flooding the [Israeli Supreme] Court with petitions in the hope of obstructing its functioning and resources.” Shawan Jabarin, Al Haq’s General Director, has been denied exit visas by both Israel and Jordan for his alleged ties to the PFLP terror organization. On July 7, 2008, the Israeli Supreme Court noted that Jabarin is “among the senior activists of the Popular Front terrorist organization.”
- Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) ($226,167 in 2006-2009) – Has tried to have Israelis arrested in England, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, and New Zealand. In the U.S., the group has filed for punitive damages against Israeli officials and companies doing business with Israel. All of PCHR’s cases have been dismissed in the preliminary stages. On April 8, 2010, PCHR published “The Principle and Practice of Universal Jurisdiction: PCHR’s Work in the occupied Palestinian territory,” advancing allegations of Israel’s “violations of international humanitarian law,” “war crimes,” and “culture of pervasive impunity.” After the 2009 Gaza War, PCHR officials met ICC officials in Hague to “explore different avenues to bring justice to the victims of serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.” PCHR regularly refers to indiscriminate attacks on Israeli civilians as “resistance” and rockets that fall short of their Israeli civilian targets and cause injuries to Palestinians as “misuse of weapons.”
- The Irish Foreign Minister has stated that the government is “opposed to proposals for trade sanctions or boycotts against Israel.” In contrast, several NGOs that receive Irish government funding are active in BDS (boycotts, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns.
- Ireland also indirectly funds a number of politicized Israeli and Palestinian groups through Irish and British NGOs and foundations. Christian Aid and Trócaire are the two main conduits of this indirect funding for radical NGOs, some of which support a “right of return,” reject the two state solution, and inflame the conflict.
- In October 2012, Trócaire started a campaign lobbying the EU “to end trade with illegal Israeli settlements.” Repeating standard Palestinian allegations, Trócaire claims settlement goods are “produced on the back of house demolitions, land confiscation, racial segregation and military occupation.”
- Garry Walsh, Trócaire’s “OPT/Israel Programme Officer” who is active in this campaign, is the former National Coordinator for Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
- Trócaire’s campaign is accompanied by a report titled “Sustaining Injustice: EU trade with Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories” (September 2012). The report includes misleading and distorted data, lacks context, and is based on unreliable NGO publications.
- For instance, Trócaire claims that “hundreds of thousands of Palestinians suffer from a severe water shortage throughout the summer…Settlements restrict and exploit Palestinian natural water resources..” These biased accusations and accompanying statistics are taken from a report published by the Quaker Council for European Affairs, which does not cite any source for them. Both reports completely ignore the central factors in water problems in the West Bank: the Palestinian Authority’s documented mismanagement and incompetence in implementing projects; water losses due to theft and poor maintenance in Palestinian-controlled areas; and the PA’s failure to develop new water sources.