Amb. Standley’s letter to the editor, in response to the op-ed article by Yitzhak Santis from NGO Monitor, is an important addition to the ongoing discussion European funding for political advocacy NGOs, but contains some significant distortions:

  1. Amb. Standley denies that the extensive EU funding for Israeli political NGOs is “secret,” citing “the ‘List of Projects’ page on the website of the Delegation of the European Union to the State of Israel.” Indeed, this list is a step in the right direction for EU transparency. However, all EU protocols, summaries and evaluations regarding the massive funding for NGOs on this list remain highly classified, on the entirely false grounds of “public security.” The inherent contradiction between Amb. Standley’s words and this EU practice is glaring. 
  2. According to Amb. Standley, “…the EU supports human rights and peace projects all over the world.” Indeed, the EU and individual governments fund NGOs in other democracies, but the scale of involvement in Israeli civil society and the secrecy of the processes have no parallel. 
  3. “EU funding has no connection whatsoever with the so-called Durban Strategy…” Unfortunately, the evidence clearly demonstrates the opposite: EU-funded NGOs (such as ICAHD, noted in the original article but unmentioned in the response) are leaders of the BDS and lawfare campaigns, which are at the core of the Durban Strategy promoting demonization and political warfare. These NGOs were also central to the discredited Goldstone report, which was integral to the Durban Strategy. (See also Prof. Robert Wistrich, Holocaust Remembrance Day — a somber anniversary.) 
  4. Amb. Standley refers to “€78 million for 236 projects, the overwhelming majority of which do not appear on NGO Monitor’s black list…” This partial multi-year total excludes numerous additional frameworks in the EU and member states plus Norway and Switzerland.  NGO Monitor’s estimate of €100 million annually for political advocacy groups related to Israel is a reasonable estimate. 
  5. The reference to “NGO Monitor’s black list…” is out of place.  As an independent research organization, NGO Monitor does not maintain a “black list”; we provide much needed and systematic documentation on the activities of political advocacy NGOs.  If the EU and independent governments were fully transparent and allowed open debate, our reports would not be necessary.

Additional articles and analysis on this issue can be found here.

Prof. Gerald M. Steinberg
President, NGO Monitor