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NGO Monitor Special Edition 22 April 2004

Summary of EU Funding of Politicized NGOS

Main Findings:

  • The EU, as well as individual member states, provides large funds to numerous non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that are deeply involved in political activities under the banner of humanitarian and human rights. Despite the use of taxpayer funds, NGOs are generally not subject to the norms of accountability and transparency, and constitute a significant "democratic deficit".
  • A major portion of this EU funding goes to NGOs that are active in the Arab-Israeli conflict.
  • The evidence demonstrates a clear and consistent bias in EU funding for politicized NGOs that ignores the context of terrorism and conflict, and are among the leaders in the demonization and delegitimation of Israel (the "new anti-Semitism").
  • The EU funds a number of self-proclaimed human rights organizations that advocate the standard Palestinian position in the conflict with Israel, and ignore the background of Palestinian violence and the context of Israeli policies. When many EU funded NGOs mention terrorism, it is marginalized, and not reflected in action items.
  • In contrast to the Ford Foundation, which has suspended funding for some NGOs involved in these activities, is investigating others, and has appointed a special investigator for this issue, the EU and the European governments continue to avoid this issue. (NGO Monitor 8 January 2004)
  • EU human rights NGOs have consistently ignored the issue of anti-Semitism, including physical attacks, incitement, and hate literature, such as the propagation of the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion."
  • Illustrations:

  • The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN), linked to the Euro-Mediterranean Project, is one of the leading promoters of political attacks against Israel. In October 2002 the EMHRN called for the 'total or partial suspension of the EU Association Agreement with Israel." The rationale given was "Israel's indiscriminate, excessive and disproportionate use of force....Willful killings, arbitrary executions and targeted assassinations." By ignoring the campaign of mass terror to which Israel was responding, and engaging in a highly partisan political campaign, the EMHRN has violated the basic norms of human rights organizations. For details and many other examples, see http://www.ngo-monitor.org/archives/infofile.htm#euro
  • The European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) provides 553,132 to I'lam, which routinely violates its mission statement promising "unbiased and democratic standards" to "empower the Palestinian residents of Israel". This organization uses highly biased and politicized language regarding Israel, and its claims regarding the Israeli press are extremely misleading. It is inappropriate for the EU to fund this highly biased organization and its activities. (EU Funds for NGOs Misused - NGO Monitor Sept. 2003) (In contrast, EIDHR does not fund any activities in Syria or Egypt.)
  • EIDHR also funds Adalah, whose widely publicized reports consistently use terms like "war crimes" and "crimes against humanity" in reference to Israeli responses to terrorism, and is a leading proponent of the pro-Palestinian political agenda. (Adalah and the Impact of Legal-based NGOs in the Arab-Israeli Conflict) The organization was also prominent in drafting many of the accusations of 'apartheid' and 'institutional racism' in Israel for the NGO Declaration that was issued in parallel to the World Conference against Racism in Durban in September 2001.
  • In 2004, EIDHR has designated 4 projects aimed at Israeli Arab citizens and Palestinians, but notably, has no projects in Syria, Egypt, Jordan, or Lebanon.
  • The EU is a major source of funding for B'tselem, whose reports alleging Israeli human rights abuses fail to consider the context of terrorism and the need for effective responses. In addition, while claiming to be a human rights organization, B'tselem devotes most of its activities and resources to a specific political agenda, and is closely connected to the most blatant anti-Israel political organizations such as PCHR and Miftah. In this way, the EU is assisting in the exploitation of human rights claims for highly partisan and political objectives. (B'tselem: The Ambiguous Boundary between Public Education and Political Activism - NGO Monitor Oct. 2003)
  • EU funding for UNRWA is often redirected to finance highly political NGOs, such as Ard el Atfal and Ard Al Insan. This is a blatant violation of UNRWA's mandate.
  • The EU Commission Office in Israel and the Finnish Embassy have funded (without public disclosure) Physicians for Human Rights - Israel, whose highly politicized and demonization activities and reports have led the Israeli Medical Association to end all cooperation. (Physicians for Human Rights Color Pamphlet Contradicts its Own Mission Statement - NGO Monitor Jan. 2003 & Physicians for Human Rights - Israel: Exploiting Human Rights for Political Goals - NGO Monitor April 2004)

    The EU Commission Office in Israel has funded (without public disclosure) the Israeli Committee Against House Demolition, a highly politicized anti-Israeli NGO, whose reports also ignore critical legal and political contexts, and make claims that are unsupported or false, as detailed and analyzed in The Global Epidemic of Illegal Building and Demolitions: Implications for Jerusalem.

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