When confronted by evidence of funding for NGOs with agendas or values that contradict EU policy, the EU’s recurring response is that it “funds projects submitted by NGOs, in line with [the] EU’s fundamental principles and values, but not NGOs themselves.”
This is a misleading justification at best, because project funding inevitably is used for overall organization and activity expenses – and, as determined by the EU’s own Court of Auditors – budgets are fungible. But its absurdity is highlighted when an EU-funded project blatantly contradicts EU policies, after being manipulated to fit a beneficiary’s political agenda.
In particular, the EU’s Partnership for Peace (PfP) program funds such a project, implemented by Palestinian NGOs Applied Research Institute Jerusalem (ARIJ) and Land Research Center (LRC), and Israeli group Kerem Navot. As reported by the PfP, the project is titled “Addressing Israeli Actions and its Land Policies in the oPt [sic]” and it “monitors, analyses and documents all Israel’s actions and land policies in Palestine, with the aim to disseminate the collected information to key stakeholders, and advocate for a better environment for peace.”
Notably, the PfP program is designated for joint projects involving Israeli as well as Palestinian organizations, meant to “build trust and understanding between societies in the region.”
However, the EU-funded website dedicated to the project, launched by ARIJ and LRC, tells a very different and disturbing story:
Monitoring Israeli Colonizing activities in the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza is a joint project between the Applied Research Institute in Jerusalem (ARIJ) and the Land Research Center (LRC). The project, funded by the European Union, aims at inspecting and scrutinizing Israeli colonizing activities in their different forms in the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza, and to disseminate the related information to policy makers in the European countries and to the general public (emphases added).
Contrary to the EU’s project description, rather than “all Israel’s actions and land policies” ARIJ and LRC solely monitor “Israeli colonizing activities,” seeking to influence “policy makers in the European countries and (to) the general public” rather than “key stakeholders.”
Neither “a better environment for peace,” nor the Israeli partner organization Kerem Navot are mentioned.
Furthermore, the ARIJ project website features blatant propaganda and allegations such as “Throughout the years of occupation of the Palestinian territory, Israel has engaged in excessive and disproportionate violations of every existing humanitarian code” (emphasis added) and refers to the Israel Defense Force as the “Israel occupation Forces.” Using an EU-funded website as a platform, ARIJ and LRC revise (or invent) history, claiming that “The State of Israel was founded on approximately four-fifths of Palestine, taking more land than the United Nations’ 1947 Partition Plan had proposed,” and that “During and after the 1948 War, a transfer policy was carried out and four out of every five Palestinians in the area inside Israel became refugees.” This “historical” summary omits the context of an Arab rejection of the partition plan and an Arab-initiated war against Israel, and falsely alleges an Israeli “transfer policy.”
Particularly ARIJ has received significant EU funding for many years and consistently engages in anti-Israel political warfare. In the funding for this “project”, the EU is contributing to conflict, and not to peace.
Is this really the kind of project European taxpayers want to be funding?