Jerusalem – Coinciding with UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s visit to Israel this week, NGO Monitor is releasing its new report on how the UK, with the EU and other governments, is funding a major anti-Israel lawfare project of an NGO (non-governmental organization) known as the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), whose activities seek to sabotage the integrity of legal processes in Israel.
“While some UK funding for NGOs supports efforts to achieve a two-state solution, a number of NGO grants are highly damaging and unjustifiable. From 2011-2015, the UK provided £6 million to NRC, one of the largest single grants to any NGO in the region, used to pursue legal cases aimed at influencing Israeli policies, lobby for international sanctions against Israel, and support international campaigns of demonization” stated Prof. Gerald Steinberg, President of NGO Monitor. “With this UK funding, the NRC also launched an international campaign targeting the Canadian judiciary.”
Evidence obtained by NGO Monitor shows that the NRC has financed at least 677 legal cases, a staggering number, as part of a strategy of trying “every possible legal measure to disrupt the Israeli judicial system…to increase the workload of the courts and the Supreme Court to such an extent that there will be a blockage.” Anti-Israel lawfare is closely connected to the wider demonization and BDS campaigns, which were adopted at the infamous 2001 NGO Forum of the Durban conference, seeking “the complete international isolation of Israel as an apartheid state.”
Steinberg continued, “The cases are absurd attempts to litigate some of the most controversial and highly disputed issues in the Arab-Israeli conflict. We know of no other examples in the world where democratic countries are engaged in such activity on a massive scale. This direct involvement of the UK and other government funders, via the NRC, stands in direct contradiction to efforts to negotiate peace, and to the ethical norms that govern relations between democracies.”
The UK, EU, Norway, and Sweden supplied NRC with over $20 million in 2011-2013 alone, to provide “evidence and analysis to form the basis for international pressure on Israel” and “provide more effective advocacy which would be more likely to result in changes in policy and/or practice.”
Moreover, according to internal UK documents, the NRC engages in a “low visibility policy,” obscuring its involvement in legal advocacy and political activities in Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Steinberg noted, “This suggests a deliberate attempt to prevent public scrutiny and to avoid accountability vis-à-vis donor state officials and the Israeli government. This is a fundamental violation of moral principles as well as basic requirements of good governance. Additionally, these activities may violate the terms of NRC staff members’ humanitarian visas in Israel.”
NGO Monitor’s report recommends that the UK and other governments immediately freeze all funding to NRC, pending independent and public inquiries into the decision making processes that authorized the NRC’s initiatives. Furthermore, they must engage with the Israeli government and civil society to develop guidelines and independent evaluation mechanisms on appropriate uses of taxpayer funding, ending all forms of lawfare and manipulative political advocacy outside the Israeli democratic process.
Click here to read the fact sheet: UK Funding for NGO Political Advocacy
Click here to read the full report: How the UK, EU, & Norway Fund NGO Lawfare vs. Israel