- Named after Bavarian politician Hans Seidel; affiliated with the Christian Social Union (conservative), predominantly active in Bavaria.
- In 2013, had a budget of €61 million and received €48 million from the German Federal Parliament.
- The Foundation provides no formal report on spending in the region; has local partners involving NGOs, projects, and conferences, including political activities with Shatil and the Abraham Fund.
- Several partners promote Palestinian “anti-normalization policies”, BDS campaigns, and a delegitimizing narrative against Israel, including I’lam and Palestinian Wildlife Society.
- Active on three issues, broadly defined: shared society, strengthening of pluralism; democratic participation, promoting citizens’ political engagement; and regional cooperation, fostering venues of Israeli-Palestinian cooperation.
Politicized NGOs funded by Hans Seidel Foundation
- I’lam – Founded in 2000, I’lam’s stated mission is to “[harness] the right to freedom of expression and the strength of the media to advance a more democratic, open and just society.” I’lam uses a high politicized language to demonize Israel, promotes boycott campaigns, and engages in political advocacy against Israel.
- Publishes reports claiming to monitor Israeli media – Palestinian casualties in violent conflict are labeled “martyrs” (p. 2); organizes events promoting Palestinian terrorism as “resistance” and boycotts against Israel.
- Advances the Nakba narrative, delegitimizing and demonizing Israel; see 2014 publication “The Palestinian Nakba in the Israeli Public Sphere Formations of Denial and Responsibility”. According to I’lam, “the practical meaning of the Nakba undermines the moral and ethical foundation of Zionism and, hence, of the State of Israel. It also implies the acknowledgment of stains of guilt for the deliberate process of ethnic cleansing the traces of which are still evident today” (p. 84).
- Palestinian Wildlife Society – The organization’s stated mission is “The conservation and enhancement of Palestinian biodiversity & wildlife.” In contrast, the Palestinian Wildlife Society is active in promoting BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) against Israel.
- Palestine Wildlife Society is member of PENGON (Palestinian Environmental NGOs Network), which exploits its environmental mission in order to delegitimize Israel, including claims that Palestinian environmental problems are due to Israel’s occupation.
- In 2005, Palestine Wildlife Society joined the call for a comprehensive boycott of Israel.
- Shatil – the Israel-based arm of The New Israel Fund (NIF).
- NIF grantees include highly political NGOs such as Adalah, B’Tselem, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, Rabbis for Human Rights, and Yesh Din.
- During the 2014 Gaza conflict (on July 21, 2014), these NIF-funded organizations sent a public letter to Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein alleging “serious concern of severe violations of international humanitarian law, and specifically the laws of war…at the level of offensive policy and the rules of engagement.” (emphasis added)
To Richard Asbeck, Resident Representative of HSS in Israel and the Palestinian Territories, from NGO Monitor
Mar 20, 2015
please excuse my late response. I was, indeed, out of the country and then very much taken by a delegation visit of a German parliamentarian.
As for your request for a meeting, I would like to draw your attention to the effect of your report on “German Funding for Political Advocacy NGOs Active in the Arab-Israeli Conflict”. Respectively, the German political foundations have explained to you, why we regard any further interaction as a futile effort.
To Dr. Wolf, Respresentative of HSS, from Prof. Gerald Steinberg, President of NGO Monitor
Mar 25, 2015
Dear Dr. Wolf,
I am writing to you regarding the activities of HSS in Israel. NGO Monitor, an independent research institute which I head, has recently completed a detailed analysis of HSS political activities as part of our ongoing reports on government-funded NGO campaigns, including in Germany, related to the Arab-Israeli conflict. These reports are available at
As a courtesy and to insure accuracy, we offered to meet with Richard Asbeck, HSS director in Israel in order to discuss this report. He rejected our offer, as shown in the email below. In addition, at a recent conference at Hebrew University at which I was not present, Mr. Asbeck made false claims in an attack on me, demonstrating an attempt to silence independent analysis of these activities.
It is my understanding that HSS has an agenda that includes dialogue with civil society and understanding between different perspectives. This behavior appears to be inconsistent with this agenda.
I would appreciate your response to these issues, and repeat my offer to meet with officials from HSS.
Professor Gerald M. steinberg