- The German federal government provides millions of euros to political advocacy NGOs in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza through a variety of frameworks, including the Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the German Federal Foreign Office (MFA-AA), government-funded church organizations, political foundations, and independent development NGOs.
- Germany is a global leader in providing development aid (referred to as “cooperation” in Germany) and was the second largest bilateral donor in 2017 (after the US), providing $24.7 billion in official development assistance. Yet, Germany’s development aid system is largely non-transparent.
- Officially, German 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.” However, German federal funding is allocated to, among others, organizations that promote anti-Israel BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) and “lawfare” campaigns, anti-Zionism, a “one-state” vision, antisemitism, and violence.
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 2016-2017 alone, approximately €7 million of German taxpayer money was allocated to 26 Israeli NGOs;1 46% of this went to organizations that promote BDS and/or “one-state” visions.
- The multiplicity of German funding frameworks for NGOs results in “double dipping” – in which an organization is funded by more than one framework during the same timeframe, often for very similar activities.
- Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and Federal Foreign Office (AA) are both involved in Germany’s development cooperation, with each apparently responsible for varying areas of policy. However, overlap does exist, specifically in the areas of crisis prevention and conflict resolution.
- Germany provides funding to a select group of highly interconnected NGOs that share board members and are part of the same umbrella groups and networks. These NGOs also conduct evaluations for and provide information to the government, yet there is no indication that external actors conduct independent evaluations of the NGOs’ effectiveness or provide outside input. This close-knit relationship results in a closed echo chamber that grants the NGOs immense influence in a way that does not necessarily reflect public interest or democratic norms.
- The Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MFA-AA) are the primary federal authorities responsible for managing German development policy.
- These ministries are only responsible for the political aspects of international aid, with the actual implementation of projects being outsourced to state-owned limited liability companies and NGOs. This decentralized system makes it nearly impossible to follow the flow of taxpayer money.
Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
- BMZ is the primary federal authority managing German development policy work. BMZ does not implement development projects, but rather dictates policy and works to encourage economic development through international partnerships and cooperation.
- In 2019, BMZ’s budget was €10.2 billion. Of this, approximately €1.2 billion was directly allocated to “civil society and business groups and institutions.”
- According to BMZ’s website, in 2016, Germany’s development aid to the “Palestinian Territories” was €85.7 million.
- BMZ’s three German implementing partners are German Society for International Cooperation – GIZ (see below), the German development bank KFW (see below), and Engagement Global (see below). These partners are each responsible for implementing overlapping aspects of the Federal Government’s development policy projects.
- BMZ has provided funding to the Applied Research Institute Jerusalem (ARIJ) and Miftah. (See Appendix 1 below.)
- ARIJ is among the leaders of the political warfare against Israel, seeking to further BDS (boycotts, divestment and sanctions), false accusations of Israeli “apartheid” and “racism,” and support for a Palestinian “right of return” that is inconsistent with a two-state vision.
- Miftah regularly promotes “resistance” (a euphemism for terror attacks) and glorifies terrorists. Miftah also utilizes anti-Israel rhetoric, such as accusing Israel of perpetrating “massacres,” “cultural genocide,” “war crimes,” and “apartheid.”
Federal Foreign Office (MFA – Auswärtiges Amt)
- The MFA is responsible for activities related to humanitarian and emergency aid.
- In 2019, the MFA’s budget was €5.8 billion. The MFA does not publish data on its project work in foreign countries. MFA only lists two of its implementing partners on its website, “ifa zivik programme” (see below) and the “Federal Office of Administration.” The MFA has also provided funding to a number of highly biased and politicized NGOs active in the Arab-Israel conflict including Gisha, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I), Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS), and World Vision (see Appendix 1 below for further funding information).
- The MFA also funds German political foundations, including Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, and German and international NGOs such as Medico International. Each of these groups then distributes funds to local partner NGOs.
German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ)
- GIZ, one of the world’s largest development agencies, leads several projects in the West Bank, many in partnership with local NGOs. These projects are commissioned and paid for by BMZ.
- In 2019, GIZ received €1.9 billion in German government funding.
- GIZ has provided funding to Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), Ma’an Development Center, Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO), Miftah, Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees (PARC), Culture and Free Thought Association (CFTA), and the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP). (See Appendix 1 below for further funding information.)
- UAWC is identified by Fatah as an official PFLP “affiliate,” and by USAID-engaged audit as the “agricultural arm” of the PFLP. According to academic scholar Glenn E. Robinson, UAWC was founded in 1986 by “agronomists loosely affiliated with the PFLP.”
- In May 2018, Ma’an Development Center employee Ahmad Abdallah Aladini was killed in the violence on the Gaza border. Aladini was a “comrade” of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a terrorist organization designated as such by the US, EU, Canada, and Israel. According to the PFLP, Aladini was active against the “Zionist aggression on the Gaza Strip.”
- In March 2018, a number of GIZ employees were found to have been spreading antisemitism and anti-Israel propaganda on social media. Their statements included comparisons between Israel and the Nazis, blaming the downfall of Arab leaders on a “Hebrew spring” and depicting Israel as a two-headed monster. As a result, GIZ conducted a number of internal investigations, and one individual was terminated from their position.
KFW Development Bank
- KFW is owned by the German government and is legally considered a “public law institution.”
- KFW raises funds on the capital market and distributes them among foreign countries on behalf of the German government.
- In 2019, KFW received €2.6 billion for its role in Germany’s bilateral development cooperation.
- KFW has funded Ard El Insan, an NGO Gaza-based group with alleged ties to Hamas, to “Protect Children’s Health in Blockaded Gaza.”
Civil Peace Service (ZFD)
- ZFD is a consortium of nine German NGOs including Action Committee Service for Peace (AGDF), Association for Development Cooperation (AGEH), Bread for the World-EED, EIRENE – Ecumenical Peace Service, Forum Civil Peace Service (forumZFD), German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), KURVE Wustrow, peace brigades international (pbi), and World Peace Service (WFD).
- ZFD “sends experts to international partner organistions in order to prevent the outbreak of violence without military action and to strengthen the force of civil society.”
- In 2019, ZFD’s budget was €55 million.
- ZFD has provided funding to a number of highly biased and politicized NGOs active in the Arab-Israel conflict including Al-Haq, Youth Against Settlements, Combatants for Peace, Holy Land Trust, Parents Circle Families Forum (PCFF), and Society of St. Yves. (See Appendix 2 for further funding information.)
Institute for International Cultural Relations (ifa)
- ifa describes itself as the “oldest intermediary organisation for international cultural relations.”
- In 2018, ifa’s budget was €26 million.
- ifa has provided funding to Breaking the Silence, Ir Amim, and Gisha. (See Appendix 1 for further funding information.)
- Medico International has received funds from Germany through the German Federal Foreign Office (AA) and German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
- Funds highly politicized Israeli and Palestinian advocacy NGOs, including Who Profits, Adalah, Breaking the Silence, Physicians for Human Rights – Israel (PHR-I), Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), The Freedom Theater (TFT), and Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS). (See Appendix 1 for further funding information.)
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), which has since merged with Brot fuer die Welt (BfW).
- According to data from the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits, 54% of total reported German funding to Israeli NGOs active in the Arab-Israeli conflict in 2016-2017 came from BfW/EED and Misereor.
- MISEREOR is the official aid framework of the Catholic Church in Germany.
- MISEREOR has provided grants to a number of highly biased and politicized NGOs active in the Arab-Israeli conflict, including: Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), Yesh Din, Breaking the Silence, Zochrot, and HaMoked. (See Appendix 1 below for available financial information.)
- In January 2017, as a member of the church umbrella organization CIDSE’s Palestine-Israel Working Group, MISEREOR released a report, “No Place Like Home: A Reader On The Forced Internal Displacement Of Palestinians In The Occupied Palestinian Territory And Israel,” that was designed as a tool to lobby the European Union. The report calls for European “concrete action” and “promoting accountability” against Israel in order to “address the Israeli policies which are the root causes of displacement.”
- Brot für die Welt-Evangelischer Entwicklungsdienst (BfW-EED) is the official aid framework of the Protestant Church in Germany.
- In June 2017, BfW-EED issued a press release in which it stressed “For Bread for the World any promotion ends with the denial of Israel’s right to exist, calling for the boycott of goods from Israel, or promotion of antisemitism” (NGO Monitor translation). Contrary to this claim, BfW funds radical and politicized NGOs that promote BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) and “lawfare” campaigns against Israel, including Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP), Who Profits, and Al-Haq (see Appendix 1 for further funding information).
- Bread for the World “administer[s]” the World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI). According to Bread for the World, “Bread for the World supports this EAPPI program with ecclesiastical funds, with a contribution to the shared costs of the Geneva office and the cost of preparing and posting 10-15 volunteers from Germany.”
- EAPPI sends volunteers to the West Bank to “witness life under occupation.” Upon completion of the program, the volunteers return to their home countries and churches where many engage in anti-Israel advocacy, including advocating for BDS campaigns in churches, comparing Israel to apartheid South Africa and Nazi Germany, and other delegitimization strategies.
Political Foundations (Stiftungen)
- There are six political foundations in Germany, each affiliated with a political party: Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (Social Democratic Party – SPD), Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (Christian Democratic Union of Germany – CDU), Hans-Seidel-Stiftung (Union parties – CSU), Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung (Free Democratic Party – FDP), Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung (Green Party), and Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung (The Left). Political foundations have representative offices in foreign countries where they carry out projects in cooperation with local partner organizations. (See Appendix 1 for further funding information.)
- Friedrich Ebert Stiftung funds and partners with PASSIA, Women’s Affairs Technical Committee (WATC), Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO), and Mossawa.
- Heinrich Boell Foundation funds and partners with +972 Magazine, Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), Al Qaws, Ir Amim and Molad.
- Rosa Luxemburg Foundation funds and partners with Bimkom, Combatants For Peace, Kerem Navot, Mada al-Carmel, Mossowa, Negev Coexistence Forum, Sadaka Reut and The Social TV.
- In 2019, these political foundations received €319 million in government funds. Political foundations receive funding from the Federal Ministry of the Interior, the MFA-AA, and BMZ. The amount of funding received is dependent on the number of seats the party has in parliament (i.e. the more seats a particular party has, the more government funding that party’s political foundation will receive).
Appendix 1: German Funding to Israeli and Palestinian NGOs (amounts in NIS unless specified)
2016-2017 amounts based on NGO annual financial reports; 2018-2019 amounts based on quarterly financial reports submitted to the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits.
Appendix 2: ZFD Projects in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza
|Project||German Implementing Organization||Local Partners|
|“It can be done different: unite youth and establish peace education” (2017-2020)||AGEH||College des Frères Bethlehem, Combatants for Peace, Deutscher Verein vom Heiligen Lande, Holy Land Trust, House of Grace, Kairos Palestine, Latin Patriarchate I Vicariate for Hebrew Speaking Catholics, Parents Circle Families Forum, The Catholic Human Rights Society of St. Yves|
|“Aiming for the goal: Young people in refugee camps are learning alternatives to hatred and violence” (2014-2021)||GIZ||Wukala’ al Wi’am|
|“To show alternatives: creative methods for constructive ways” (2014-2019)||GIZ||GHIRASS Cultural Center, Madaa Silwan Creative Center, Muntada - The Arab Forum for Sexuality, Education, and Reproductive Health, Palestinian Child Center, Yafa Cultural Center|
|"’Politics of small steps’: Encounter creates trust” (2017-2020)||forumZFD||Ajyal, Combatants for Peace, Conflict Lab - Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, Fateh Youth Movement, HaNoar HaOved VeHaLomed, Hashomer Hatzair, Heartbeat, Independant Youth Union, Moreshteinu, Young Labour Young Meretz|
|“Strengthening Nonviolent Initiatives” (2017-2020)||Kurve Wustrow||Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP), Youth Against Settlements|
|“Steady drops: training and theater provide youth with non-violent alternatives” (2013-2020)||WFD- World Peace Service||Al-Haq, Yes Theater and Guidance and Training Centre for the Child and Family (GTC)|
- 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