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In the Media: Switzerland

Below is a compilation of articles highlighting NGO Monitor’s contributions to the broader conversation about NGOs, funding, and accountability in Switzerland.  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.

Kritik aus Israel an Schweizer Hilfe für palästinensische NGOs

Daniel Foppa,Tages-Anzeiger, March 16, 2016

At the invitation of the Switzerland-Israel parliamentary group, Steinberg lectured yesterday to around ten Swiss MPs, and explained how Switzerland spends tax money to support NGOs, which according to him openly employ antisemitic propaganda…As an example the political scientist mentioned the Human Rights & International Humanitarian Law Secratariat in Ramallah, which is receiving a total of 3.1 million Swissfrancs from the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) for 2013-2017. The FDFA confirmed the amount. The Secretariat in Ramallah supports, among others things, the BDS movement, which accuses Israel of apartheid against the Palestinians and calls for the boycott of Israeli products worldwide. The Secretariat also supports the organization Badil in the West Bank, which questions the right of Israel to exist with antisemitic cartoons that glorify violence. Such Badil posters for example, show a hook-nosed Jew with sidelocks crushing a Palestinian child, or the map of the state of Israel crushed by a fist.

Vincent Chebat on Radio Shalom (French)

March 14, 2017

NGO Monitor researcher Vincent Chebat was interviewed on Radio Shalom, discussing the passing of a motion in the Swiss Parliament that would end all direct and indirect funding to groups that promote antisemitism and BDS.

Consistently eradicating the use of taxpayer money for racism, antisemitism and incitement of hatred

Auditur Online, March 14, 2017

For instance, Switzerland either directly or indirectly supports the following NGOs with some millions of Swiss francs: Badil, Addameer, Al-Haq, Al Mezan, Breaking the Silence, Gaza Community Mental Health Programme, Adalah, Zochrot and Israel Social TV. These organizations promote and carry out boycotts and sanctions against Israel; incite hatred of Israel and conduct juridical warfare, anti-Zionist and racist campaigns; call for the destruction of the state of Israel; and even, in some cases, have direct ties to terror organizations.

The Swiss Parliament Pulls the Plug on BDS

Gerald M. Steinberg, Times of Israel, March 8, 2017

This situation has now changed, and on Wednesday, the Parliament voted (111 to 78 with 4 abstentions) to “amend the laws, ordinances and regulations so that Switzerland can no longer subsidize, even indirectly, development cooperation projects carried out by NGOs involved in racist, antisemitic or hate incitement actions, or in BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) campaigns.” This is not the final word – the Swiss Council of States (the upper house that represents the different cantons) will consider this issue in May.

No money for Israel-boycott (German)

Dominik Feusi, Basler Zeitung, March 9, 2017

The Nationalrat has approved a motion by SVP MP Christian Imark, that would compel the Bunderat to refrain from funding to organizations that promote racism, antisemitism and agitation.

Parliament: Switzerland shouldn’t fund antisemitic NGOs any longer (German)

Audiatur, March 8, 2017

Imark had asked for no public funding to be given to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) involved in “racist, anti-Semitic and harsh actions, or BDS campaigns ( ” boycott, disinvestment, and sanctions ” ). He justified his advance by repeatedly revealing “doubtful connections” between Israeli and Palestinian NGOs who were “directly or indirectly taxed with Swiss taxpayers”. According to Imark, therefore, there is reason to believe that “the funds from Switzerland are used for campaigns that do more harm than good for peace.”

European Harbinger in War against BDS (Hebrew)

Ben-Dror Yemini, Yediot, March 9, 2017

The change occurred thanks to the thorough work of NGO Monitor. The president of the organization, prof. Gerald Steinberg, and Olga Deutsch, met a few months ago with a group of Swiss MPs in the Swiss Capital of Bern. They showed them a presentation detailing the activities of Swiss-funded groups that included, among others, incitement to antisemitism, denial of Israel’s very right to exist, support of the “right of return” and a “one-state” solution.

Swiss Legislature Passes Bill to Stop Funding for Boycotts of Israel

Benjamin Weinthal, The Jerusalem Post, March 9, 2017

Olga Deutsch, director of the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor’s Europe Desk, told The Jerusalem Post: “Today’s positive developments in Switzerland mark a milestone in seriously countering BDS campaigns, antisemitism and hatred, by equating them in the motion. The motion sets an important precedent. NGO Monitor was instrumental in providing details to Swiss decision-makers regarding their government’s funding of organizations that oppose official Swiss foreign policy, such as NGOs that propagate anti-normalization, BDS, and one-state frameworks.”

Switzerland Funds NGOs that Call for Israel’s Destruction

Benjamin Weinthal, The Jerusalem Post, March 6, 2017

“Parliamentary oversight over and investigation of Swiss government funding of these anti-peace NGOs is very important,” said Olga Deutsch, director of the European desk of NGO Monitor. “Other countries are doing the same and the Swiss MPs can set an example. It is clear that the millions of Swiss francs going to NGOs, including hate groups through secret processes, cannot continue.”

With Swiss tax money against Israel (German)

Dominik Feusi, Basler Zeitung, February 23, 2017

The million loan for the particularly controversial “Human Rights Secretariat” in Ramallah was even boosted last December by 700,000 Swiss francs. Until 2010, Switzerland also financed questionable organizations directly. This office has served as a camouflage organization since 2013, so that Western countries can lead uncontrolled money to anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic organizations. This impression is gained by those who are closer to the organization.

Switzerland – Silence over the millions for BDS organizations (German)

Alex Feuerherdt, audiatur-online, February 2, 2017

“The “Secretariat” mainly functions “as a money distribution machine,” says Heumann, which means that it transfers the revenues to Palestinian and Israeli NGOs. According to NGO Monitor, more than half of these organizations support the BDS campaign, among them big money receivers Badil, Al-Haq and Addameer, all of which are among the leading organizations in the anti-Israel boycott movement.”

Citant des “intérêts diplomatiques”, la Suisse ne donne pas ses données sur le financement du BDS (French)

JTA, The Times of Israël, January 30, 2017

« La demande de NGO Monitor pour les informations sur l’allocation des fonds aux associations de défense des droits de l’Homme a été rejetée par le ministère suisse. »

Citing National Interests, Switzerland Withholds Data on Funding for BDS Groups

Cnaan Liphshiz (JTA), Forward, January 27, 2017 (Also see , Jerusalem Post, Jewish press, Times of Israel, Jewish Calgary)

““Those most effected by the funding, including Israelis, Palestinians and Swiss taxpayers, should be able to see how these crucial decisions are made, and how this money is being spent,” Shaun Sacks, NGO Monitor’s Europe desk researcher, wrote in a statement about the Swiss ministry’s refusal to disclose documents.”

Swiss Government Hides Information on Millions for BDS-Funding Framework

The Jewish Press, January 26, 2017

“The Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) has denied requests from a Swiss resident and from NGO Monitor to provide public information about Swiss government funding to the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (the IHL Secretariat), a Ramallah-based framework that distributes 56% of its budget to NGOs that advocate for BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns against Israel.”

Silent about High Wages (German)

Pierre Heumann, Die Weltwoche, January 26, 2017

“The question remains open, however, why is Information on the use of funds to human rights organizations in the foreign policy interests of Switzerland and why is the information covered up, is it a question of waste?”

Switzerland refuses to provide information on funding BDS organizations (Hebrew)

Gidon Dokov, nrg, January 24, 2017

‘A Swiss resident and non-profit organization NGO Monitor filed a request to the Switzerland’s Foreign Ministry for financial reports on anti-Israeli organizations such as “Al-Mezan” and left-wing groups as “B’Tselem” and “Breaking the Silence.” But they were told that” declassification could harm Switzerland’s foreign policy.”’

Switzerland refuses to disclose financial aid to anti-Israel NGOs (French)

Shraga Blum, LPH Info, January 24, 2017

“In the name of freedom of information, Swiss citizens and NGO Monitor have filed an application with the federal authorities to obtain reports on financial assistance to foreign NGOs. But the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) categorically refused. Reason: “The disclosure of such a report would be detrimental to the interests of Switzerland in the sphere of its international relations”.”

Switzerland and Hamas – the NGO Angle

NGO Monitor, January 17, 2017

The Swiss government is again reportedly directly involved in reconciliation efforts between Fatah and Hamas. This is not the sole example of the Swiss government partnering with anti-Israel NGOs to legitimize Hamas.

European Funded NGOs linked to PFLP Terror Network, IBA News (Hebrew)

NGO Monitor, November 22, 2016

Report from IBA News based on NGO Monitor research, European Funded NGOs linked to PFLP Terror Network

Swiss Parliament to Discuss Funding for Anti-Israel NGOs

NGO Monitor, May 26, 2016

In a monumental development, the Swiss government is scheduled to discuss a motion demanding their government prevent Swiss funding to NGOs that promote antisemitism, racism, hate speech and BDS.

Correspondence with Swiss Ambassador Regarding Funding of B’Tselem

NGO Monitor, March 06, 2016

Swiss Parliament debates NGO Funding and links to BDS following meeting with Prof. Steinberg

NGO Monitor, Der Bund, May 03, 2016

Professor Gerald Steinberg’s visit to Bern led to a motion being introduced in the Swiss parliament regarding the funding of organizations that promote BDS campaigns.

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