BDS IN THE PEWS
March 19, 2014
- The British government provides millions of pounds annually, through direct and indirect funding processes, to highly politicized NGOs (non-governmental organizations) that operate in the UK, Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza.
- The funds are provided to Palestinian and Israeli NGOs through two frameworks:
- The Middle East and North Africa Conflict Pool (MENA CP), managed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for International Development (DFID), and the Ministry of Defense. This framework includes the Strategic Programme Fund and the Conflict Prevention Pool.
- The Bilateral Programme Budget (BPB) is managed locally, usually through the Embassy in Tel Aviv or Consulate in Jerusalem, and provides funding for small-scale NGO projects.
- UK funding is generally aimed at “support[ing] efforts to achieve a two-state solution, that sees a viable Palestinian state existing in peace and security alongside Israel.” The specific objective for the MENA CP funding is “to improve the environment to make a successful peace process more likely to happen or, in the absence of such a process, reduce the likelihood of severe and widespread violence.”
- In correspondence with NGO Monitor, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) stated: “The UK Government does not support the BDS movement,” and “we have been very clear that the boycotts movement is not productive... it could be deeply corrosive.”
- In contrast to these objectives, the British government partners with and supports NGOs that undermine peace efforts and increase tensions. For instance, some UK-funded organizations pursue partisan and divisive agendas, are heavily involved in “lawfare” and BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) campaigns, and employ the rhetoric accusing Israel of “apartheid,” “ethnic cleansing,” and “war crimes.”
UK Projects in the West Bank and Gaza: Limited Transparency
- Information on projects funded by the Department for International Development (DFID – “UK Aid”) is available in a projects database. However, local NGO recipients, which receive UK funds via international organizations, appear anonymously as “civil society organizations / NGOs.” (“Supplier Name Withheld”). Additionally, details on grants to Palestinian NGOs no longer appear on the website of the British Consulate in Jerusalem. NGO Monitor emails to the Consulate received no response.
- NGO Monitor has also identified examples of NGOs that claim to receive money from DFID, but do not appear on the DFID website. For instance, Medical Aid for Palestine (MAP) lists DFID as a donor in its 2012 Annual Review (pg. 20), but is not included in the DFID database beyond a project that ended in 2010.
Israeli and Palestinian NGOs funded by the UK
- B’Tselem: Visual Impact: Deterrence, Accountability and Public Awareness; £60,000 in 2012-2013; £30,000 in 2011-2012; £135,000 in 2010-2011.
- Breaking the Silence: €74,434 in 2010-2011.
- Gisha – £50,000 in 2012-2013.
- Yesh Din: £200,000 in 2012-13; £36,000 in 2011-2012; £350,755 in 2008-2011.
- Ir Amim: Exposing and Challenging Settlement in the Heart of East Jerusalem; £33,391 in 2011-2012; £127,850 in 2008-09.
- Terrestrial Jerusalem: €52,000 in 2012-2013; £15,000 in 2011-12; €30,000 in 2010-2011. Peace Now: Settlement Watch; £80,000 in 2012-2013; £100,000 in 2011-12; €93,000 in 2010-2011; Settlement Watch – Uplift £40,000 in 2011-2012.
- Shatil (NIF): Housing Rights in Akko – £40,000 in 2011-2012; Housing Rights in Lodd – £20,000 in 2011-2012.
- Arab Centre for Arab Planning – £19,810 in 2011-2012.
- The Abraham Fund: €26,288 in 2011-2012.
- No Legal Frontiers: €30,000 in 2010-2011.
- Defence for Children International – Palestine Section (DCI-PS) – ₤12,300 from MENA CP in 2010-2011.
- Holy Land Trust (HLT) – ₤10,000 from MENA CP and ₤5000 from Bilateral Program Budget in 2010-11.
- International Peace and Cooperation Center (IPCC) – €405,800 from MENA CP in 2011-2012 and ₤400,030 in 2010-2011.
- Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) – ₤85,397 from MENA CP and ₤69,907 in 2010-2011 from the Strategic Programme Fund.
UK funding for Norwegian Refugee Council
- The DFID has provided the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) with two grants totaling £6 million (FY10/11-14/15) for an extensive legal advocacy project targeting Israeli policy in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
- This massive DFID funding, which is in turn transferred by NRC to Israeli and Palestinian NGOs, is being used to pursue hundreds of legal cases aimed at influencing Israeli policies, to lobby for international sanctions against Israel, and to support international campaigns of demonization.
- As of May 2013, UK funding financed 677 cases that received “full legal representation at the relevant court/administrative body.”
- The information available on the British government’s Development Tracker website reflects limited transparency. Details on the NGO recipients of funding disbursed by NRC are “withheld.” Additionally, NRC’s “low visibility policy” suggests a deliberate attempt to prevent public scrutiny and to avoid accountability vis-à-vis the Israeli democratic process.
Indirect funding for political advocacy NGOs (2013)
The British government also provides indirect funding to Israeli and Palestinian NGOs via British aid organizations, such as Christian Aid and Oxfam GB, which channel government funds to local NGOs.
- UK Funds Attempt to Sabotage Israel's Judicial System: Norwegian Refugee Council's $20 Million Project Initiates 677 Cases, NGO Monitor Press Release, March 11, 2014
- UK Funding for NGO Political Advocacy, NGO Monitor Factsheet, March 11, 2014
- Analysis of UK government funding for Israeli and Palestinian political advocacy NGOs: 2008-2011, NGO Monitor Reports, April 22, 2011
- Freedom of Information decision on funding for Mideast NGOs, UK Information Commissioner's Office, March 14, 2011
- NGO Monitor's submission to the International Development Committee Inquiry on the Humanitarian and Development situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, March 20, 2008
- NGO Monitor Submission to the House of Lords Sub-Committee C (Foreign affairs, Defence and Development policy) Inquiry into “The European Union and the Middle East Peace Process”, March 14, 2007
- Aluf Benn, British embassy funding Israeli NGO study on impact of separation fence, Haaretz, February 6, 2007
- UK parliamentary select committee on International Development discusses NGO Monitor's evidence on Christian Aid and UK funding for NGOs that work in Israel and with Palestinians." (Hear recording at 1hr 2min 28 secs)
- NGO Monitor’s Submission to the International Development Committee Inquiry on Development Assistance and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, October 12, 2006