- Open Society Foundation’s (OSF) declared objective is “to work to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable and open to the participation of all people.” This is the basis for OSF’s often intrusive activities in both closed and democratic societies, including large scale funding of political NGOs.
- Founder George Soros has sharply criticized Israeli and American policies towards the Palestinians, specifically the refusal to accept the participation of Hamas in a Palestinian government. Soros has also accused AIPAC of “endanger[ing]” Israel’s existence, and has drawn comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany.
- In July 2017, Israeli MK Miki Zohar (Likud) introduced the “Soros Law,” named for Soros, aimed at “block[ing] donations to left wing organizations enjoying foreign funding.” According to the bill, “any person donating to organizations acting against Israel will not be allowed to donate to any organization or nonprofit association in Israel.”
- In 2020, total budget was $1.2 billion and “is organized under 7 regions and 10 themes.”
- $34.3 million was allocated to programs in the Middle East and North Africa.
OSF Funding to Political NGOs
- OSF has provided grants to a number of highly biased and politicized NGOs active in the Arab-Israeli conflict, including Al-Haq, Al Mezan, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty, B’Tselem, Breaking the Silence, Yesh Din, and others. (See table below for further funding information.)
- Many of these NGOs are part 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 Policy Papers “False Knowledge as Power: Deconstructing Definitions of Apartheid that Delegitimise the Jewish State” and “Neo-Orientalism: Deconstructing claims of apartheid in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.”)
- Both Al-Haq and Al Mezan have links to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a terrorist organization designated as such by the US, EU, Canada, and Israel.
- On October 22, 2021, the Israeli Ministry of Defense declared Al-Haq a “terror organization” because it is part of “a network of organizations” that operates “on behalf of the ‘Popular Front’.” Al-Haq’s General Director Shawan Jabarin has been linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a designated terrorist organization by the US, EU, Canada, and Israel.
- A number of Al-Mezan officials and employees are members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and Hamas. For more information on Al-Mezan’s PFLP ties, read NGO Monitor’s report “Al Mezan Center For Human Rights’ Ties to the PFLP Terror Group.”
- Other OSF grantees are the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and War on Want, two organizations that promote BDS campaigns against Israel.
- CCR is active in lawfare suits against Israel and Israeli officials (including Avi Dichter and Moshe Ya’alon); 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” and “crimes against humanity.”
- War on Want is a leader and mobilizer of anti-Israel BDS campaigns in the UK. It has accused the British government of “Arming Apartheid” and urged it “to implement an immediate two-way arms embargo to end all arms sales to and purchases from Israel.”
- On August 14, 2016, leaked documents from OSF were posted anonymously on the now-defunct DC Leaks. A number of these as yet unverified documents deal with OSF’s grants to political NGOs through its “Arab Regional Office (ARO) – Palestinian Citizens of Israel” department. Headed by Ammar Abu Zayyad, the ARO is one of a number of funding mechanisms for Israeli and Palestinian NGO’s in the OSF network.
- The list of ARO grantees (also in Appendix 1 below) showed that Open Society Foundation funded a number of Israeli NGOs, including some recipients that deny the legitimacy of Israel and Jewish sovereignty, and are involved in demonization campaigns.
- The 2013 NGO Monitor report “Bad Investment: The Philanthropy of George Soros and the Arab-Israeli Conflict” includes a number of Soros funding frameworks that are not included in the leaked documents, meaning that – if they are accurate – the actual funding is significantly higher than indicated by this leak.
- According to these documents, OSF provided $405,000 to Palestinian media outlet Wattan News from 2012-2014. In 2016, Wattan published a series of articles promoting virulently antisemitic content in the form of “anti-Zionism.” After inquiries were sent to OSF by Tablet magazine, the offensive content was removed from Wattan’s website, and OSF issued a condemnation and claimed that it is “putting in place procedures that such a serious lapse in editorial oversight will not take place again.” OSF did not state that it was withdrawing funding from Wattan.
- Amongst the leaked files are instructions on pressuring the EU to adopt product labeling policies touted by many NGOs as the first step to EU-sponsored BDS, and supporting Palestinian ascension to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
- In 2010, Open Society Foundation pledged $100 million to Human Rights Watch (HRW) over the course of 10 years.
- In 2008, Soros pledged $750,000 over three years to J Street. J Street concealed this funding for many years, until The Washington Times revealed it in 2010. Following this expose, J Street addressed the “myth” that “George Soros founded and is the primary funder of J Street,” claiming that it would be “very pleased to have funding from Mr. Soros.”
- OSF runs a program titled “Palestinian Rule of Law Awards” to provide scholarships for law students from the West Bank and Gaza to study in the United States and Central European University. As of 2022, the program has funded over 60 law students.
- OSF has published articles by B’Tselem, Al-Haq, Breaking the Silence, Adalah, and Gisha as part of its “Grantee Spotlight” page.
- In October 2016, Shawan Jabarin, the director of Al-Haq, promoted the decision to label all products from Israeli communities built over the 1967 ceasefire line adopted by the EU, ostensibly calling for the eventual boycott of all Israeli products.
- In June 2016, OSF shared a report entitled “The Occupation’s Fig Leaf: Israel’s Military Law Enforcement System as a Whitewash Mechanism” prepared by B’Tselem. The report claims that “Palestinians have been living under an Israeli military regime that has wrongfully killed, injured, and abused them.”
- OSF granted an unknown amount of money to the political activist Michael Sfard to write his book, The Wall and the Gate: Israel, Palestine, and the Legal Battle for Human Rights. Sfard is involved in highly political NGOs (many of them getting money from OSF) and campaigns against Israel, including lawfare.
- In February 2018, OSF hosted the book launch with Sfard and Jill Jacobs, the executive director of T’ruah, discussing “Has a generation of legal action against the occupation actually served to bolster its legitimacy?”
- The “Open Society Justice Initiative,” which claims to “foster accountability for international crimes, combat racial discrimination… address abuses related to national security and counterterrorism.” was asked by Adalah to “prepare a memorandum for the UN Human Rights Council’s follow-up Fact-Finding Committee” (to the “Goldstone Report”). The resulting report alleged that “the Israeli investigations to date have not complied with international or comparative standards,” and that delays “violate international law and taint the independence and effectiveness of any subsequent inquiry.”
Funding to NGOs
All grant information was taken from the Grant Database on Open Society Foundation’s website.
Grantee Amount Award Date
+972 Magazine $300,000 2019-2021
Adalah $500,000 2020
Al-Haq $800,000 2020-2023
Al Mezan $600,000 2019-2022
Al Qaws $120,000 2020-2022
Amnesty USA $30,000 2020-2022
Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) $100,000 2020-2022
B'Tselem $420,000 2019-2021
Breaking the Silence $200,000 2019-2021
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) $100,000 2020
Center for Constitutional Rights $350,000 2020
Education for Just Peace in the Middle East-U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation $300,000 2018-2020
EuroMed Rights $1,500,000 2018-2021
Euro-Mediterranean Foundation of Support to Human Rights Defenders (EMHRF) $240,000 2020-2022
European Council on Foreign Affairs (ECFR) $136,304 2019
European Middle East Project (EUMEP)
Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP) $140,000 2020
Gisha $180,000 2020-2022
Grassroots Jerusalem $100,000 2019-2021
Human Rights Watch $75,000 2020
I'Lam $100,000 2020
International Commission of Jurists $593,000 2020
Ir Amim $140,000 2020-2022
Kayan $275,000 2020-2022
Mada al-Carmel $200,000 2019-2021
Middle East Children's Alliance (MECA) $400,000 2020-2022
New Israel Fund $500,000 2020
Organisation Mondiale Contre la Torture (OMCT) $910,000 2020-2022
Physicians for Human Rights - Israel (PHRI) $200,000 2020
Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) $50,000 2020
Rights Forum $25,000 2020
Telos Group $350,000 2018-2020
War on Want $358,469 2020-2021
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom $200,000 2019-2021
- The Truth about George Soros James Kirchick, Tablet, November 18, 2018
- Révélations sur la nébuleuse de Soros : Il finance au moins 14 ONG anti-israéliennes, il est « l’artisan de toutes les révolutions des 25 dernières années Europe Israel News, March 2, 2017
- Connoisseur of Chaos Stefan Kanfer, City Journal, Winter 2017
- A Soros Plan, A Marginalized Israel Eli Lake, Bloomberg, August 16, 2016
- George Soros and his Minions Target the Middle East Forum Middle East Forum, August 16, 2016
- George Soros-Funded West Bank University Has a Disturbing Discrimination Policy Sharona Schwartz, The Blaze, September 29, 2014