The German federal government provides millions of euros to political advocacy NGOs in Israel and the Palestinian Authority, through a variety of frameworks, including German federal funding programs of the Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the German Federal Foreign Office, government-funded church aid, and independent development NGOs.
Officially, the funding is aimed at “combating poverty, securing food, establishing peace, freedom, democracy and human rights, shaping globalisation in a socially equitable manner, and preserving the environment and natural resources.” In contrast to these stated moral objectives, research reveals that German federal funding is allocated to, amongst others, organizations that promote anti-Israel BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) and “lawfare” campaigns, anti-Zionism, promotion of a “one-state” vision, antisemitism, and violence.
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Lack of Transparency
German federal funding frameworks are severely lacking in terms of transparency and public scrutiny. Selection processes, precise amounts, project evaluations, and sometimes partner organizations are not made publicly available. Precise amounts are only available for Israeli NGOs, which are required by law to report to the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits.
According to reports submitted by Israeli NGOs, in 2012-2015 alone, €4 million of German taxpayer money was allocated to 15 Israeli NGOs (this may be a partial amount, as not all Israel NGOs adhere to the submission requirements), 42% of which went to organizations that promote BDS and/or “one-state” visions.
Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Civil Peace Service:
The BMZ program Civil Peace Service (ZFD) “sends experts to international partner organisations in order to prevent the outbreak of violence without military action and to strengthen the force of civil society.” The program is entirely funded by BMZ.
- “Training for Peace and Human Rights”:
- Implementing German organization: Weltfriedensdienst (WFD); local partner organization: Al-Haq, a leader in the anti-Israel BDS and legal warfare campaigns. The Israeli Supreme Court has identified Al-Haq’s general director Shawan Jabarin as “among the senior activists of the Popular Front terrorist organization.” (The PFLP is a designated terrorist organization by the EU.)
- “Strengthening Nonviolent Initiatives”:
- Implementing German organization: KURVE Wustrow; local partner organizations: Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP) and Popular Struggle Coordination Committee (PSCC).
- CWP (2013-2015: NIS 1,320,109): Actively supports economic, cultural, and academic BDS. CWP officials have been photographed holding a flag of the PFLP terrorist organization. (Following a publication by NGO Monitor, this image was removed from CWP’s Facebook page.)
- PSCC (funding details unavailable): Has organized protests that have turned violent. PSCC’s Twitter activity repeatedly employs “martyr” rhetoric and boasts photos of demonstrators hurling rocks.
German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ):
The GIZ leads several projects in the West Bank, many in partnership with local NGOs. These projects are commissioned and paid for by BMZ.
- Building Scenarios Towards – Socioeconomic Development in East Jerusalem (ongoing): Co-implemented by GIZ and Israeli NGO PASSIA. In a 2015 publication PASSIA describes a wave of terror that begain in October 2015 as a “youth uprising” and refers to Baha Eleyan as a “Palestinian martyr.” Eleyan was one of two murderers to board a bus in Jerusalem in October 2015 armed with a gun and a knife, killing three and injuring seven. PASSIA denies any historical Jewish connection to Temple Mount and its Western Wall, claiming that “Zionists could not present any documentary evidence of Jewish claims to the Wall” and listing “Placing signs at the gates of Al-Aqsa Mosque indicating that they are the gates of the ‘Temple’” under “provocations.” PASSIA is also funded by the German political foundation Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.
- “Empowering Women Leaders in Government and Civil society in the Middle East” (2015-2019): Local Palestinian partner organizations include Miftah, which publishes articles accusing Israel of “massacre,” “cultural genocide,” “war crimes,” and “apartheid.” In 2013 Miftah published an article repeating an antisemitic blood libel, claiming that Jews kidnapped and murdered the children of Christians to use their blood as part of a religious ritual during Jewish holidays.
- “Media Sound and Light Program” (2013-2015):
- According to the website of Palestinian NGO Community Development & Continuing Education Institute (CDCE-I), this project, with CDCE-I as implementing partner, was part of the GIZ TVET (technical vocational education and training) program in 2013-2015.
- CDCE-I lists Ma’an News agency as a project partner. Ma’an News features analyses and commentary referring to terrorism as “resistance” and accusing Israel of “war crimes,” “genocide,” “massacres,” “human rights violations,” acting with “impunity,” and maintaining a “system of segregation and apartheid.”
Church aid frameworks:
Since 1962, BMZ is obligated under German law to provide financial support for the development work of church-aid organizations, with two church NGOs chosen as representatives – the Catholic Misereor and the Protestant Development Service (EED), today merged with Brot fuer die Welt (BfW).
According to data from the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits, 71% of total German funding to Israeli NGOs active in the Arab-Israeli conflict in 2012-2015 came from BfW/EED and Misereor.
- Zochrot (2012-2015: NIS 236,005): Campaigns for “right of return”; supports “one-state framework” and the elimination the Zionist State of Israel.
- Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) (Funded by Misereor in 2014 according to PCHR annual report, amount unspecified): Regularly describes Israel’s policies as “apartheid” and accuses Israel of “ethnic cleansing,” “war crimes,” and the “Judaization of Jerusalem.” Refers to indiscriminate attacks on Israeli civilians as “resistance” and described rockets that fall short of their Israeli civilian targets and cause injuries to Palestinians as “misuse of weapons.”
German Federal Foreign Office
- Human Rights Defenders Fund (HRDF) (NIS 99,436 in 2015): Executive Director Alma Biblash, the fund’s only documented paid employee, has referred to Israel as “racist” and “murderous,” as well as a “temporary Jewish apartheid state.” Biblash also supports BDS campaigns and promotes a Palestinian “right of return.”
- Physicians for Human Rights- Israel (PHR-I) (2014: NIS 551,226): Uses façade of medicine to advance a narrow political agenda and falsely accuse Israel of “war crimes.”
Political Foundations (Stiftungen)
German “politische Stiftungen” – political foundations affiliated with parliamentary parties – are funded by the Federal Ministry of the Interior, the Federal Foreign Office, and the BMZ in direct proportion to the seats held by the parties affiliated with them.
- Heinrich Boell Stiftung (HSL – affiliated with the Green Party):
- Partners with the Ma’an Development Center, which published “Boycotts, Divestment & Sanctions: Lessons learned in effective solidarity” (2009), a guide to grassroots and international BDS campaigns.
- HSL published a statement of solidarity with Palestinian NGO Al-Haq (see above), endorsing its attempt to prosecute Israel at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
- Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung (affiliated with Die Linke):
- Funds Zochrot (2013-2014: NIS 161,674) – see above.
- Partners with Applied Research Institute Jerusalem (ARIJ) (funding details unavailable): ARIJ supports anti-Israel BDS and employs rhetoric of “ethnic cleansing,” “transfer,” “land grab,” and “colonialization activities”, claims Israel is guilty of “excessive and disproportionate violations of every existing humanitarian code.”
- Partners with Bisan Center for Research and Development, a signatory to the Support Statement of Palestinian Feminists in Palestine and Diaspora published in February 2016, which accuses Israel of “colonial and racist oppression” and endorses BDS.
German Funding to Israeli NGOs
*Data taken from the Israeli Registrar of Non-profits
|NGO||Year||Donor||Amount (in NIS)|
|Who Profits-מי מרוויח||2015||Bread for the World- EED (Church aid group)||28,751|
|Who Profits-מי מרוויח||2014||Medico International||61,607|
|The Social TV-הטלוויזיה החברתית||2014||Rosa Luxemburg (Political Foundation)||21,995|
|Breaking the Silence-שוברים שתיקה||2014||Medico International (Funded in part by BMZ and German Foreign Ministry)||40,000|
|Breaking the Silence-שוברים שתיקה||2014||Misereor (Church aid group)||603,977|
|Zochrot-זוכרות||2014||Rosa Luxemburg (Political Foundation)||60,235|
|Zochrot-זוכרות||2013||Misereor (Church aid group)||123,684|
|Zochrot-זוכרות||2012||Misereor (Church aid group)||118,607|
|CWP-קואליציית נשים לשלום||2015||Kurve Wustrow||99,877|
|CWP-קואליציית נשים לשלום||2015||Bread for the World-EED (Church aid group)||84,550|
|CWP-קואליציית נשים לשלום||2014||Kurve Wustrow||563,783|
|CWP-קואליציית נשים לשלום||2014||Bread for the World-EED (Church aid group)||69,371|
|CWP-קואליציית נשים לשלום||2013||Kurve Wustrow||599,930|
|CWP-קואליציית נשים לשלום||2013||Bread for the World (Church aid group)||119,877|
|CWP-קואליציית נשים לשלום||2013||Medico International (Funded in part by BMZ and German Foreign Ministry)||47,800|
|Physicians for Human Rights-Israel||2014||Medico International (Funded in part by BMZ and German Foreign Ministry)||80,000|
|New Profile||2014||Bread for the World (Church aid group)||180,000|
|Comet-ME||2012||German Foreign Ministry and others||2,000,000|
|Bimkom||2013||Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)|
Federal Government Agency for International Cooperation
- Bread for the World and Money for Anti-Israel Propaganda (German) Alex Feuerherdt, Die Achse des Guten, January 1, 2016
- German Politician: Israel´s Security Fence is Worse Than Communist Berlin Wall Benjamin Weinthal, The Jerusalem Post, September 3, 2015
- "We Oppose Indiscriminate Criticism" translated from original German), Interview with Michael Borchard, Cicero Magazine, March 25, 2015
- "Germany Supports Modern Antisemitism" (translated from original German), Interview with Gerald Steinberg, Cicero Magazine, December 11, 2014