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Swedish Funding for Politicized NGOs Active in the Arab-Israeli Conflict

NGO Monitor October 06, 2014

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  • The Swedish government funds numerous Israeli and Palestinian NGOs through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), the Embassy in Tel Aviv, the Representative Office in Ramallah, and indirectly by outsourcing to Swedish aid organizations such as Diakonia and Kvinna till Kvinna. 
  • One of Sida’s “overall objectives” for funding in the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict is “Promot[ing] peacebuilding and the peace process.” However, as NGO Monitor’s research has shown, many NGOs receiving Swedish funding do not have a record that demonstrates competence to carry out this objective.
  • Additionally, Sweden, together with the governments of Switzerland, Denmark and the Netherlands, compose the joint funding mechanism of the Human Rights and International Law Secretariat (the “Secretariat”). This funding mechanism has a projected budget of $17.6 million over four years. The funds are managed by the Institute of Law at Birzeit University (IoL-BZU) and a European multidisciplinary consulting company, NIRAS. (See here for more on the Human Rights and International Law Secretariat).
  • In March 2014, the Secretariat announced $10.5 million in pooled funding, over three years, for 24 Israeli and Palestinian NGOs, including many groups that engage in legal warfare against Israeli officials and companies that do business with Israel, promote BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns, advance a “1948 agenda” (rejecting a state of Israel in any form and regardless of boundaries), use explicitly antisemitic imagery and language, and exploit the false “apartheid” analogy to demonize Israel. For more details on these groups, see “Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat: Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.”
  • On August 2, 2014, the “Secretariat” announced additional funding supporting “current and future documentation and investigation efforts by CSOs [civil society organizations] for the purposes of assisting and supporting national and international mechanisms” such as the UN Human Rights Council’s investigation headed by William Schabas, and the campaign to open cases against Israelis in the International Criminal Court. 
  • Many NGOs receiving Swedish government funding oppose a two-state formula, disapprove of peace efforts, promote BDS efforts and lawfare cases against Israeli officials, and engage in antisemitic activities.
  • Diakonia, which received SEK 390 million from Sweden in 2013, regularly exploits legal rhetoric to demonize Israel, accusing Israel of "war crimes," "collective punishment" and "violations of international law."
  • The Church of Sweden, which received SEK 192 million from Sweden and the EU in 2013, endorses and promotes the Kairos Palestine document. This document calls for BDS (boycotts, divestment, and sanctions) against Israel and denies the Jewish historical connection to Israel, as well as ignores the extreme harassment and violence committed by Palestinians against Christians.

Swedish funding via Diakonia, Kvinna till Kvinna and SIDA

NGO Destructive Activities Funding Swedish Funding Framework
CWP- Coalition of Women for Peace Leader of boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaigns

50,230 NIS (2012)

47,322 NIS (2013)


Kvinna til Kvinna

AIC- Alternative Information Center Rejects the existence of a Jewish state; supports BDS 1,440,000 SEK Diakonia
PNGO- Palestinian Nongovernmental Organizations Network Opposes peace talks; supports BDS

Not disclosed

Not disclosed



Badil Leader of BDS campaigns; rejects the existence of a Jewish state; engages in antisemitic activities Not disclosed Diakonia
Sabeel Supports a one-state framework; leader of BDS campaigns; uses antisemitic theology rhetoric 711,000 SEK Diakonia


Examples of Swedish funding recipients:
Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP), which describes  itself as “a feminist organization against the occupation of Palestine and for a just peace,” is a leader of boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaigns, particularly via the “Who Profits” campaign it initiated. The “Who Profits” website serves as an “online database and information centre,” initiated “in response to the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) on Israel...” CWP officials have been photographed holding a flag of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – an EU-recognized terrorist organization responsible for numerous attacks against civilians. (After NGO Monitor informed CWP’s funders of this image, it was removed from CWP’s Facebook page.)
Alternative Information Center (AIC) “strongly opposes ‘normalisation’, – meaning cooperation and positive interactions between Israelis and Palestinians. Founder and head, Michael Warschawski  has said that “one has to unequivocally reject the very idea (and existence) of a Jewish state, whatever will be its borders,” and has written that “Peace, or, better, justice, cannot be achieved without a total decolonization (one can say de-Zionisation) of the Israeli State.
Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO) is a Palestinian NGO umbrella organization comprising 92 Palestinian NGO member organizations. PNGO is one of the leaders of the political warfare campaign against Israel, and maintains a radical anti-peace agenda. In July 2013, PNGO opposed resumed negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians, in part because progress in the peace process harms boycott efforts.
Badil was founded to promote a Palestinian “right of return” and is a leader in international BDS campaigns. 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 also holds annual “right of return contests” in which it has published antisemitic cartoons on its website, as well as imagery promoting a one-state solution and denying Israel’s right to exist. After the antisemitic cartoons were publicly revealed by NGO Monitor, Switzerland froze the funding for this NGO.
Sabeel supports a “one-state” framework for the Arab-Israeli conflict, meaning the elimination of Israel as a Jewish state.  Its “Vision for the Future” states, “The ideal and best solution has always been to envisage ultimately a bi-national state in Palestine-Israel… One state for two nations and three religions.” (emphasis added). The organization issued a paper, “Sabeel’s Call for Morally Responsible Investment, A Nonviolent Response to the Occupation,” calling on churches to “to divest/disinvest from companies and corporations that do not respond and comply with morally responsible investment and business practices.” Sabeel uses antisemitic deicide imagery against Israel and consistently disparages Judaism as “tribal,” “primitive,” and “exclusionary.” 

Sweden Essentials:


Secretariat Funding Provides Backbone for NGO Contributions to the UN Report on Gaza, NGO Monitor Report, June 24, 2015

Human Rights and International Law Secretariat, NGO Monitor factsheet, February 8, 2015

Sweden Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report, NGO Monitor Report, February 25, 2015

Is there a connection between Swedish Aid and Hamas Institutions?, Tobias Peterson, The Jerusalem Post, April 27, 2015

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