In light of the tensions between Israel and Belgium over the latter’s funding and ties to political advocacy NGOs (non-governmental organizations), NGO Monitor, a Jerusalem-based research institute, notes the following:
- The Belgian government funds a number of political Belgian NGOs, which in turn transfer taxpayer funds to groups tied to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terror group.
- These include Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P), Health Work Committee (HWC), Union of Health Work Committees, and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC). All are either directly affiliated with the PFLP or have a substantial presence of employees and officials connected to the terrorist group. (The PFLP is designated as a terrorist organization by the EU, US, Canada, and Israel and is involved in suicide bombings, hijackings, and assassinations, among other terrorist activities targeting civilians.)
- Belgian funding to Israeli and Palestinian NGOs is provided through Belgian NGOs, such as the Catholic group Broederlijk Delen, Oxfam, and other frameworks that receive large-scale government funding from the Directorate-general Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid (DGD).
- According to its 2015 annual report, the Development Cooperation of Belgium provided €8.4 million to the West Bank and Gaza. The majority of this funding went to UNRWA (€6.25 million) and the remainder to Oxfam and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), the latter of which is involved in abuse of the Israeli court system and received $1.3 million from Belgium in 2015.
- In addition, the Belgian justice system has been repeatedly exploited by activists seeking to level false “war crimes” allegations against Israeli officials. Most recently, former Israeli FM Tzipi Livni faced such a “lawfare” campaign. A Belgian organization Association Belgo – Palestinienne was the first to publicly release information that Tzipi Livni will be arrested upon arrival in Belgium and has been directly funded by the Belgian government since 2005 (€102,136 in 2015).
Prof. Gerald Steinberg, President of NGO Monitor, commented: “Belgium has allowed a culture of radical anti-Israel activism and antisemitism to fester within its borders. So it is not surprising when we see funding that, perhaps inadvertently, ends up in the hands of groups with ties to the PFLP, or when extreme elements exploit the Belgian justice system to harass Israeli officials.”