Today, on June 28, 2017, in the Spanish Parliament in Madrid, NGO Monitor and ACOM presented their joint report highlighting Spanish funding for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that carry out political warfare campaigns against Israel. At this event, MK Yair Lapid, Chair of the centrist Yesh Atid party, encouraged his counterparts in Spain to take steps to prevent government funding for such organizations, many of which support BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns against Israel, incite to violence, and/or promote antisemitism. Some of these groups also have alleged ties to terrorist organizations.
MK Yair Lapid stated during the proceedings at the event in Parliament, “I am here to deepen the understanding of the Spanish leadership – that the anti-Israel BDS movement supports terror and pushes peace between Israelis and Palestinians further away. We will work with our friends in the government and opposition to end continued funding, which originates with Spanish taxpayers who oppose terror with all their hearts, for pro-BDS groups.”
Olga Deutsch, Director of NGO Monitor’s Europe Desk, added, “For years, NGO Monitor has warned of the European funding processes that enable NGO antisemitism, incitement, and BDS. MK Lapid understands the seriousness of our findings, and we thank him for contributing to this important dialogue with his fellow parliamentarians in Spain.”
NGO Monitor and ACOM’s research reveals that Spanish funding to politicized NGOs is widespread and highly decentralized, correlating to several levels of governance in Spain. In total, politicized funding designated for NGO activities in the Arab-Israeli conflict amounted to over €5.1 million in 2015 alone, with the largest centralized donor being the Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID).
Several Palestinian beneficiaries of direct funding from the Spanish government have ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a terrorist organization designated as such by the US, EU, Canada, and Israel. The PFLP has been involved in suicide bombings, hijackings, assassinations, and other violence targeting civilians. Additionally, a number of Spanish NGOs receiving government funding support BDS campaigns that target Israel economically, culturally, and academically, and collaborate with Palestinian NGOs associated with the PFLP terrorist organization. Beyond waging delegitimization campaigns against Israel, these NGOs often promote libelous claims that echo antisemitic themes or endorse violence against civilians, as documented in our report.
Deutsch concluded, “Our event in Spain follows important debates and policy changes in Switzerland, Denmark, and Norway. Our local partners, including ACOM in Spain, have been instrumental in these successes.”