- The Swedish government funds numerous Israeli and Palestinian NGOs through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), the Embassy in Tel Aviv, the Representative Office in Ramallah, and the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat, and indirectly by outsourcing to Swedish church groups and aid organizations such as Diakonia.
- In 2015, Sweden provided at least $16.1 million to NGOs involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Organizations receiving Swedish funding lead campaigns and political activities that are inconsistent with Sweden’s policies to promote peace and a two-state framework in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Some groups have also used antisemitic rhetoric and have apparent links to terror organizations.
- Revealing a lack of transparency, millions of dollars are disbursed to “unspecified” projects, including over $37 million dollars from 2012-2016.
- Overall funding from Sweden was over $54 million for 131 activities in 2015.
Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat
- Sweden, together with the governments of Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, and the Netherlands, compose the joint funding mechanism of the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (the “Secretariat”). This funding mechanism has a projected budget of $17.6 million over four years. The funds are managed by the Institute of Law at Birzeit University (IoL-BZU) in Ramallah and a European multidisciplinary consulting company, NIRAS.
- Sweden has committed $4,713,504 (2013-2017) to the IHL Secretariat and is the lead donor of the project. The IHL Secretariat received $1,186,338 in 2015 and$1,559,790 in 2014 from SIDA. [In 2016, the IHL Secretariat received an additional $1 million from Sweden for core funding.]
- The IHL Secretariat funds highly politicized NGOs that engage in “lawfare” against Israeli officials and companies that do business with Israel, promote BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns, advance a “1948 agenda,” exploit the false “apartheid” analogy to demonize Israel, and even promote antisemitic propaganda.
- The Secretariat funds Al-Haq and Addameer, both of which have alleged ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), recognized as a terrorist organization by the U.S., EU, Canada and Israel.
- NGO Monitor has extensively documented numerous concerns relating to the IHL Secretariat.
Click for a compilation of articles highlighting NGO Monitor’s contributions to the broader conversation about NGOs, funding, and accountability in Sweden. These include blogs and op-eds written by NGO Monitor and staff, as well as articles citing NGO Monitor, or otherwise relevant to our mission.
- In 2015, Sweden directly provided at least $16.1 million to NGOs involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Organizations receiving Swedish funding lead campaigns and political activities that are inconsistent with Sweden’s policies to promote peace and a two-state framework in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Some groups have also used antisemitic rhetoric and have apparent links to terror organizations.
Direct Swedish funding1 to NGOs Active in the Arab-Israeli Conflict
|NGO Development Center||$1,864*||---||$1,245,655|
|Islamic Relief Worldwide (Sweden)||$1,576,371||$606,634||$1,165,165|
|Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP)||$743,451||$937,207||$976,949|
|Palestinian Medical Relief Society||$1,151,620||$1,127,021||$1,316,835|
|Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)||$594,032||$588,557||$601,429|
|Diakonia||$2,964,259, of which IHL: $583,099||$2,515,037, of which IHL: $474,535||$2,281,819, of which IHL: $438,338|
|Swedish Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) via Swedish Council of Churches||$874,648||$711,803||$-16,032|
|Kvinna Till Kvinna||$1,331,245||$1,065,720||$1,647,515|
|Church of Sweden||664587||$540,445||$575,374|
|The Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR)||$437,324||$355,901||$355,901|
|Pingst formerly Swedish Pentecostal Movement (PMU)||---|
|Swedish Mission Council South||$280,422||$133,445||$1,013,192|
-Swedish Cooperative Centre
|Save the Children||$875,132||$552,228||$416,796|
*As predecessor to the Secretariat
In addition, Ir Amim submitted documentation to the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits that it received 417,479 NIS from the Swedish MFA in 2014. This information is not provided on Sweden’s aid transparency website.
- Islamic Relief Sweden received $1,576,371 in 2015 and $1,184,381 in 2014 from SIDA.
- Islamic Relief Sweden is part of Islamic Relief Worldwide and was founded by The Islamic Association in Sweden.
- On June 19, 2014, Israel’s Defense Minister declared Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) to be illegal, based on its alleged role in funneling money to Hamas2, and banned it from operating in Israel and the West Bank. Hamas is a designated terror organization by Israel, the U.S., EU, and Canada. According to news reports, the decision was made after “the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), the coordinator for government activities in the territories, and legal authorities provided incriminating information against IRW.”
- In November 2014, the United Arab Emirates banned IRW as terror organization.
- In January 2016, HSBC Banking group in the UK severed ties with IRW over terror funding fears.
- NRC received $588,557 in 2015 and $665,316 in 2014 from SIDA. In 2014, SIDA contributed 4 million SEK to an NRC program in the West Bank and Gaza; SIDA provided 7% of the NRC’s overall funding in 2014. NRC also receives funding from Norway, the UK, and the EU.
- NRC supports politicized “Litigation of public interest cases …through Israeli courts and international mechanisms” in 2016. Previously, NRC funded over 4,000 cases and legal interventions in Israeli forums.
- A lawyer affiliated with the NRC program stated that the objective of these cases are an attempt to “try every possible legal measure to disrupt the Israeli judicial system… as many cases as possible are registered and that as many cases as possible are appealed to increase the workload of the courts and the Supreme Court to such an extent that there will be a blockage.” (emphasis added)
- Diakonia received $1,684,600 in 2015 and $2,964,258 in 2014 from SIDA.
- Of this, $474,535 in 2015 and $583,098 in 2014 went to the Diakonia International Humanitarian Law (IHL) program.
- Diakonia does not reveal how much it provides to local Israeli and Palestinian organizations.
- Several organizations funded by Diakonia also receive Swedish funds via the Secretariat (“double dipping”).
- Diakonia supports settlement boycotts and accuses Israel of “collective punishment,” “war crimes,” and “violations of international humanitarian law (IHL),” ignoring Hamas terror attacks against Israeli civilians and Israel’s legitimate right to self-defense.
- The Swedish Council of Churches received $711,803 in 2015 and and $874,648 in 2014 for EAPPI. Sweden sends about 20 Ecumenical Accompaniers (EAs)on the EAPPI program annually. After a 3-month trip to the region, the EAs are meant to return to their home countries and promote BDS and other forms of anti-peace activities.
- EAPPI consistently demonizes Israel, making accusations of “apartheid,” “war crimes,” and “Bantustans”; calls the security barrier, which has saved countless lives from suicide bombings, “evil.”
- Kvinna Till Kvinna received $1,065,720 in 2015 and $1,331,245 in 2014 from SIDA, as part of a total committed amount of $3,994,227 (2014-2016). While the organization claims to promote women’s rights and empowerment, it funds some of the most highly biased and politicized NGOs active in the Arab-Israeli conflict.
- Kvinna till Kvinna funds Coalition of Women for Peace, a leading advocate of BDS, and Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), which regularly describes Israel’s policies as “apartheid” and accuses Israel of “ethnic cleansing,” “war crimes,” and the “Judaization of Jerusalem.”
- The Church of Sweden received $540,445 in 2015 and $664,587 in 2014 from SIDA.
- CoS endorses and promotes the Kairos Palestine document. This document calls for BDS (boycotts, divestment, and sanctions) against Israel and denies the Jewish historical connection to Israel, as well as ignores the extreme harassment and violence committed by Palestinians against Christians.
In addition, SIDA funded the following evaluations. These evaluations reflect conflicts of interest in which consultant fees were paid to former employees of NGOs that receive SIDA funding.
- “Research to better promote human rights in Israel/Palestine” program received $8,886 in 2016 (as of April 21, 2016), $42,397 in 2015 and $15,066 in 2014.
- “Study of effectiveness of core funding to CSOs in the field of Human Rights and IHL in the oPt – Study of effectiveness of core funding to CSOs” received $57,950 in 2015.
- This evaluation was conducted by four members, one of whom appears to have worked for Diakonia, and another a board member of Zochrot.
Some of the organizations listed above transfer funds to local Israeli and Palestinian NGOs. Information here is based on submissions made to the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits.
|Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI)||2014||Diakonia||235,956||Educational activity on international humanitarian law|
|Oxfam||36,229||Analysis of two law systems in Area C|
|B'Tselem||2015||Diakonia||182,780||International humanitarian law project|
|Bimkom||2015||Norwegian Refugee Council||40,180||Submit objections regarding planning in Area C|
|2014||66,075||Bedouin planning rights in Area C|
|69,671||Create tools to promote planning rights in Area C and East Jerusalem|
|95,956||Assisting in area planning|
|Coalition of Women for Peace||2015||Kvinna till Kvinna||104284||Women and economic discourse|
|53,716||Economic Activism and Training for Activity|
|Gisha||2014||Norwegian Refugee Council||776,283||Promoting the freedom of movement in the Palestinian territories|
|HaMoked - Center for the Defense of the Individual||2015||Norwegian Refugee Council||285,581||Defending freedom of movement of Palestinians|
|200,456||Defending residency in East Jerusalem for Palestinians|
|2014||950,605||Defending Palestinians human rights in the occupied territories|
|Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I)||2015||Diakonia||218772||Promoting health rights of residents in the West Bank and the public activity of the NGO|
|2014||81,240||Promoting health rights of all groups living under Israeli control and promoting the public activity of the NGO|
|274,211||Project to advance the right to health of residents in the West Bank and Gaza + Mobile clinic and medical seminars, Project to improve the conditions of incarceration and advance the right to health in prisons|
|Yesh Din- Volunteers for Human Rights||2015||Norwegian Refugee Council||132,855||Lands project and Law enforcement|
|289,538||Law enforcement project on Israeli citizens, Jerusalem project|
|313,100||Law enforcement project and Jerusalem|
|2014||341,608||Lands project and Law enforcement|
- Is there a connection between Swedish Aid and Hamas Institutions? Tobias Peterson, The Jerusalem Post, April 27, 2015