Interchurch Organization for Development Cooperation (ICCO) - Netherlands
- ICCO no longer lists Israel, the West Bank, or Gaza on the list of countries it operates in or on its list of projects. According to its 2016 Annual Report, Jordan is the only country in the Middle East in which ICCO operates.
- Claims to be an “independent civil society organizations that do[es] not hold on to any political party or political movement.”
- ICCO’s 2010 Guidelines on Lobby and Advocacy announce: “In ICCO’s view, the Dutch government ought to be playing a more active role in putting pressure on the government of the state of Israel.” ICCO has therefore “decided to focus its lobby and advocacy efforts” on “trying to influence the Dutch government directly, targeting key officials responsible for policies on the Middle East,” “targeting the Christian community in the Netherlands via the Olive Tree Campaign,” and “exerting pressure on Dutch companies that profit from the occupation.”
- Following the loss of MSFII funding, a Dutch government poverty reduction grant framework, ICCO’s funding to Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza decreased significantly.
- Donors include: Netherlands (MFA, Dutch Embassy), Australia (AusAid), European Union, United States (USAID), United Nations (Food and Agriculture Organization), Kerk in Actie (Netherlands), and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
- In 2016, ICCO received €19.6 million from the Dutch government and €592,253 from the European Union.
- While ICCO does not list NGO grantees in its financial documents, NGO Monitor research reveals that grants have been provided to a number of highly biased and politicized NGOs active in the Arab-Israeli conflict, including: Breaking the Silence, Who Profits, Coalition of Women for Peace, Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, Zochrot, and B’Tselem. According to their reports to the Israeli Registry of Non-profits, ICCO has not provided funding to these NGOs since 2016. (See table below for available financial information.)
- Following parliamentary discussions and NGO Monitor reports, ICCO significantly decreased transparency regarding activities in the Mideast and its funding for highly politicized Israeli, Palestinian, and international partner NGOs.
- Supports the Kairos Palestine document, which calls for BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) against Israel; denies the Jewish historical connection to Israel in theological terms; and rationalizes, justifies, and trivializes terrorism, calling it “legal resistance.” In October 2011, ICCO representatives met with Kairos Palestine officials to discuss “ways of promoting the document.”
- In an article, “Painful Conclusions” (published July 29, 2013), ICCO consultant Jonathan Huseman quotes from Dutch-Palestinian politician and ICCO advisor Arjan el Fassed’s book saying, “It looks like apartheid, it smells like apartheid, it feels like apartheid, but the world does not want to see it that way. Because if this is apartheid, this has huge implications for how governments will deal with this conflict.”
- ICCO, along with PAX Netherlands and Oxfam Novib (and Cordaid until January 2016), formed the organization United Civilians for Peace, which advocates for BDS campaigns against Israel and partners with highly politicized NGOs.
- In April 2016, Amin Abu Rashed, reportedly a Hamas operative, participated in a workshop organized by UCP on “Gaza/Palestine.”
- As a member of UCP, ICCO was a signatory to the 2015 Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA) joint agency briefing paper titled, “Charting a New Course: Overcoming the Stalemate in Gaza,” misrepresenting international law and distorting legal terminology to place primary blame for the 2014 Gaza war on Israel. The paper omits Hamas rocket attacks against Israeli civilians, as well as terror tunnels running beneath the border into Israel. The paper further encourages contact with Hamas, stating: “Restricted contact can undermine humanitarian access and implementation of humanitarian programmes…”
- In December 2013, UCP issued a statement supporting a boycott against the Israeli water company Mekorot stating “Mekorot is an Israeli national company that is involved in the Occupation of Palestine and in discrimination of Palestinians in Israel. Mekorot pumps water from Palestinian underground aquifers and supplies it to illegal Israeli settlements… This does not only cause for an imbalance in the water supply between Israelis and Palestinians, but also raises the issue of looting natural resources and excessive Israeli water use, including in the settlements. Mekorot is therefore involved in activities that are quite possibly in violation of human rights and humanitarian law.”
Ties to Electronic Intifada
- In November 2010, NGO Monitor revealed that ICCO had transferred Dutch government funds to Electronic Intifada (EI) (known amount of €200,000 between 2006-2010). Dutch FM Uri Rosenthal told the Jerusalem Post, “I will look into the matter personally.”
- In January 2011, Minister Rosenthal had a “frank and open discussion” with ICCO, noting that EI’s activities are “directly contrary to Dutch government policy.” The Minister dismissed ICCO claims that its funding of EI comes from private donations as “disingenuous.”
- ICCO refused to change its policy and defended support for BDS and EI as “a peaceful and legal way to push for an end to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.”
- ICCO promotes BDS efforts in a number of ways. In contrast, in a Dutch Foreign Ministry press release, then Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal stated that supporting boycotts targeting Israel is in “direct contrast to Dutch policy.” Likewise, “calls for boycott do not contribute” to “Dutch efforts…with regard to the peace-process.” In addition, the Dutch government “is not in favor of a ban on the import of goods from settlements or measures leading to a boycott of these goods.”
- Attempts to justify BDS initiatives, which immorally single out Israel, as a “peaceful and legal way of trying to end [the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories].”
- In 2012, ICCO joined a coalition of 22 European NGOs in producing a report, “Trading Away Peace: How Europe Helps Sustain Illegal Israeli Settlements,” which repeats the BDS agenda and calls on the EU and national governments to wage political warfare through various forms of economic sanctions on Israel.
- Partners with and uses government funds to support groups that are active in BDS campaigns, including Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP), BADIL, Electronic Intifada, Al-Haq, Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI), Defense for Children International – Palestine Section (DCI-PS), Addameer, and others. Also works with the World Council of Churches (WCC), a leader in anti-Israel church divestment campaigns.
- Member of the ACT Alliance, a coalition of 144 churches and church-related organizations.
- The ACT Alliance promotes demonizing rhetoric against Israel, international boycotts, divestments and sanctions (BDS) campaigns, and the Kairos Palestine document that calls for BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) against Israel; denies the Jewish historical connection to Israel in theological terms; and rationalizes, justifies, and trivializes terrorism, calling it “legal resistance.”
- Advocacy goals include contributing “to a global discourse on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that addresses the consequences of occupation, promotes access of individuals to resources, and ultimately brings an end to the occupation” and targeting “Christian communities on the International level…by stressing Christians’ suffering in the Holy Land and seek to preserve Christians presence in Palestine.”
- Supported the EU’s decision to label products exported from Israeli communities over the 1967 ceasefire line, calling it “an important measure towards ensuring continued, full and effective implementation of existing EU legislation.”
- In May 2018 released a statement “condemn[ing] the killing of Palestinian people on their own land” following the Great March of Return. The petition ignores the violent nature of the protests, which have consisted of an organized armed attack on the Israeli border and IDF positions, attempts to destroy and breach the border fence, and sustained arson, rocket, and mortar attacks on Israeli civilian communities.
- Member of ACT Palestine Forum, a coalition of ACT Alliance Members that cooperates in Israel and the West Bank and Gaza under the Act Alliance network.
- Urges “various forms of boycott of settlement products,” falsely accusing Israel of denying “Palestinians their fundamental rights of freedom, equality, and self-determination through military occupation.”
- In March 2018, published “Water in the Gaza Strip,” which promotes the false allegation of Israeli water discrimination against Palestinians. ACT Palestine Forum ignores evidence that Israel provides Palestinians in the West Bank with more water than required under the Oslo framework and that poor management by the PA of infrastructure, waste, and theft of up to 50 percent of supplies in some Palestinian areas. In so doing, ACT Palestine Forum manipulates and distorts water and land issues in order to portray Israel as a brutal regime.
- Published a February 2013 Advocacy Paper, “The ‘Permit Regime’ and Israeli Attacks on Palestinian Freedom of Worship,” falsely alleging that “Under Israeli military occupation, repression has become the worst of history compared to that of South Africa. It’s a sophisticated form of social, economic, political and racial discrimination, strangulation, and genocide, incorporating the worst elements of colonialism and apartheid as well as repressive dispossession, displacement and state terrorism to separate Palestinians from their land and heritage, deny them their rightful civil and human rights, and gradually remove or eliminate them altogether. The ID/permit system is one of many elements designed to make greater Israel an ethnically pure Jewish state.”
2012-2016 Grants Donated
Amounts according to quarterly reports submitted to the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits. (Amounts in NIS)
|Breaking the Silence||150,337||146,875||153,541|
|Coalition of Women for Peace||163,100||382,400||286,800|
|Public Committee Against Torture in Israel||234,515|
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