From 2003-2013, the Ford Foundation granted $40 million to civil society NGOs in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, distributed via the New Israel Fund. In 2013, the Ford Foundation announced that funding to Israeli NGOs would end, citing changing priorities and a need to reevaluate “how best to contribute toward democracy and development in the region.”
- The Ford Foundation is a private grant-giving foundation whose stated goal is “to reduce poverty and injustice, strengthen democratic values, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement.”
- In 2021, total income was $3 billion; total expenses were $1.3 billion, of which $1.1 billion was disbursed as grants to NGOs.
Funding to Politicized NGOs
- The Ford Foundation has also provided grants to a number of highly biased and politicized NGOs active in the Arab-Israel conflict, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH), Center for Constitutional Rights, Oxfam, and Christian Aid. (See table below for further funding information.)
- While Ford Foundation states that it no longer grants funding to Israeli NGOs, Adalah has reported receiving NIS 1,770,218 in 2012-2018 from the Ford Foundation. In correspondence with the Ford Foundation, NGO Monitor was told that Ford has not funded Adalah since 2004.
- Adalah publishes an online “Discriminatory Laws Database” that claims to collect “text, analyses, and legal action for present and proposed discriminatory laws in Israel and the OPT [Occupied Palestinian Territories].” This deceptive list does not distinguish between laws and legislative proposals and refers to Zionism pejoratively. Furthermore, laws regarding the historic Jewish connection to Israel are labeled as discriminatory, including the use of symbols and the Hebrew calendar.
- In May 2018, Adalah and other Palestinian and American NGOs sent a letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to “Investigate Israel’s Use of Lethal Force in Gaza.” The letter accused Israel of using American weapons against Palestinian demonstrators and called to “halt any further assistance to all Israeli military units involved in these shootings.”
- In 2014, Adalah created the “Adalah Justice Project” (AJP), based in Boston, with the goal of transforming “American perception, policy and practice in Palestine/Israel into a human rights approach that guarantees historical justice and equality for all.” AJP is fiscally sponsored by the Tides Center (which is a Ford Foundation grant recipient).
- In 2018-2021, Ford Foundation granted $2.6 million to Human Rights Watch (HRW).
- HRW disproportionately focuses on condemnations of Israel and publications related to Israel often lack credibility. HRW has also been a leader in BDS campaigns, beginning with the 2001 NGO Forum of the UN Durban conference.
- HRW is a leader of demonization campaigns, including lobbying the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate Israeli officials, and leading BDS campaigns targeting banks, soccer clubs, and other businesses operating in Israel.
- In June 2021, HRW Israel and Palestine Director Omar Shakir participated in a conference, “Challenging Apartheid in Palestine: Reclaiming the Narrative, Formulating A Vision,” hosted by the Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University. Conference organizers and sponsors, as well as other participants, were linked to various terror groups, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
- In 2019-2022, Ford Foundation granted $6 million to Amnesty International.
- Amnesty disproportionately singles out Israel for condemnation, focusing solely on the conflict with the Palestinians, misrepresenting the complexity of the conflict, and ignoring more severe human rights violations in the region.
- In violation of its policy of “impartiality,” Amnesty employs numerous anti-Israel activists and BDS campaigners with well-documented histories of radical activism in the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
- Amnesty is a leader of a network of NGOs that promote artificial and manufactured definitions of apartheid to extend the ongoing campaigns that seek to delegitimize and demonize Israel. (Read NGO Monitor’s reports “False Knowledge as Power: Deconstructing Definitions of Apartheid that Delegitimise the Jewish State,” “Neo-Orientalism: Deconstructing claims of apartheid in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict,” and “Amnesty International’s Cruel Assault on Israel: Systematic Lies, Errors, Omissions & Double Standards in Amnesty’s Apartheid Report.”)
- In 2021-2022, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) was granted $1.3 million.
- CCR is active in lawfare suits against Israel and Israeli officials, promotes anti-Israel BDS campaigns; urges the U.S. government to stop providing military aid to Israel; presents an entirely biased and distorted view of the conflict and utilizes highly politicized rhetoric, accusing Israel of “war crimes,” “crimes against humanity,” and other such allegations.
- CCR has endorsed Congresswoman McCollum’s proposed legislation “to prevent United States tax dollars from supporting the Israeli military’s ongoing detention and mistreatment of Palestinian children.” The entirety of the proposed bill is premised on factually inaccurate claims from anti-Israel advocacy NGOs, including direct quotes from Defense for Children International -Palestine’s “No Way to Treat a Child” 2016 report and website.
- In April-May 2018, CCR led a “Justice Delegation” to Israel and the West Bank claiming to provide a “better understand[ing of] the human rights situation in Israel and Palestine.” However, the trip met with Israeli and Palestinian organizations that promote a one-sided Palestinian narrative of the conflict, BDS, lawfare, and antisemitism, and some with alleged ties to terrorism.
- On May 14, 2018, the Justice Delegation released a statement accusing Israel of “settler colonialism and ethnic cleansing on Palestinian communities through blatantly obtrusive policies” as well as “structural racism and apartheid.
- In 2019-2022, various branches of Oxfam, including Oxfam America and Oxfam Mexico, received $14.3 million from the Ford Foundation.
- Oxfam consistently paints a highly misleading picture of the Arab-Israeli conflict, departing from its humanitarian mission focused on poverty. Most Oxfam statements erase all complexity and blame Israel exclusively for the situation, and these distortions and their impacts contribute significantly to the conflict.
- In March 2020, following criticism, Oxfam apologized for raising funds by selling copies of the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” a fabricated text that proclaimed an international Jewish conspiracy bent on world domination and accuses the Jews of controlling government, the economy, media and public institutions.
- In 2019-2022, Ford Foundation granted $18.7 million to the Tides Center.
- The Tides Center provides fiscal sponsorship for “social change leaders and ventures,” including funding to a number of NGOs that promote anti-Israel narratives, lawfare, and discriminatory BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns — including the Adalah Justice Project, Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC), and Palestine Legal.
- In 2015-2017, Ford Foundation granted $1.4 million to the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH).
- FIDH, which is funded by multiple European governments, is a major leader of BDS campaigns worldwide.
- FIDH supported campaigns including the BDS campaign against Orange (2015), promoted the EU product labeling guidelines, and participated in the NGO campaign at the UN Human Rights Council to establish a Commission of Inquiry targeting Israel following the 2014 Gaza War.
- In August 2016, Shawan Jabarin (General Director of Al Haq) was elected as FIDH’s Secretary General. Jabarin has been denied exit visas for Israel and Jordan on several occasions due to his alleged ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a designated terrorist organization by the U.S., EU, Canada, and Israel. According to the Israeli Supreme court, Jabarin “is apparently acting as a manner of Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde, acting some of the time as the CEO of a human rights organization, and at other times as an activist in a terror organization.”
- According to a 1995 Israeli submission to the UN, Jabarin was convicted in 1985 for recruiting members for the PFLP. Jabarin was also found guilty of arranging PFLP training outside Israel and was sentenced by Israeli courts to 24-months imprisonment, of which he served nine. In 1994, Jabarin was again arrested for alleged links and placed in administrative detention for six months. An Israeli statement to the UN notes that he “had not discontinued his terrorist involvement and maintains his position in the leadership of the PFLP.”
Ford Foundation/NIF Grantees (2003-2013)
- The Ford Foundation was among the main funders for extremist NGOs involved in the 2001 UN sponsored Durban conference, which crystallized the strategy of delegitimizing Israel as “an apartheid regime” through international isolation.
- As a result of the Durban conference, in October 2003, Congressmen Jerrold Nadler and Rick Santorum, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, launched a campaign to investigate the Ford Foundation’s funding of anti-Semitic and highly political anti-Israel NGOs. As part of the campaign, twenty members of Congress sent a letter to Ford Foundation President Susan Berresford asking her to “cease funding subversive groups.” In response, Berresford initiated a review in December 2003 and pledged that Ford would act to ensure that funds no longer went to “groups that promote or condone bigotry or violence, or that challenge the very existence of legitimate, sovereign states like Israel.”
- Following these new guidelines, from 2003-2013, the Ford Foundation managed the Ford Israel Fund which provided $40 million to Israeli civil society NGOs in partnership with the New Israel Fund. These funds came in the form of two $20 million grants; distributed to the NIF in 2003 and 2007.
- The Ford Israel Fund was shut down in 2013 due to changing organizational priorities and changing leadership among the Ford Foundation board.
- Ford Israel Fund grantees included Breaking the Silence, Adalah, B’Tselem, Bimkom, Rabbis for Human Rights, Mossawa Center, HaMoked, Physicians for Human Rights – Israel (PHR-I), and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI).
2018-2022 Funding to NGOs (amounts based on Ford Foundation’s “Grant Database“)
|Human Rights Watch (HRW)||$1,400,000||$1,200,000|
|Center for Constitutional Rights||$200,000||$1,100,000|
|Front Line – International Foundation for the Protection of Rights Defenders||$400,000||$300,000|