In May 2020, France (Agence Française de Développement [AFD]) authorized an €8 million grant to the anti-peace Palestinian group NGO Development Center (NDC), to manage a project titled “Action for East Jerusalem’s Identity and Resilience (AJIR).”
NDC is soliciting proposals for the project, and therefore the identity of the NGO grantees is currently unknown.
This grant appears to echo a narrative similar to those of other European Union funded projects in Jerusalem that aim to “protect the Palestinian identity of the city.”
NGO Development Center (NDC)
NDC is a “Palestinian non-profit, non-governmental organization supporting Palestinian NGOs and their representative entities to more effectively respond to the needs of the most disadvantaged groups in Palestinian society.” NDC is highly politicized, promoting discriminatory BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns and rejecting normalization with Israel.
- NDC “facilitated” and funded the 2008 “Palestinian NGO Code of Conduct,” which demands that Palestinian groups reject “any normalization activities with the occupier, neither at the political-security nor the cultural or developmental levels.”
- In 2013, NDC published “A Strategic Framework to Strengthen the Palestinian NGO Sector” (2013-2017) document funded by AFD that outlines “strategic objectives” of Palestinian NGOs and includes as “Programs/Projects/Activities”: “BDS Campaign[s]”; “Campaign[s] for Academic and Cultural Boycott”; “Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign[s]”; “Anti-normalization Campaign[s].” (See screenshot below.)
- Boycott and calls for boycott are illegal under French law.
NDC funding to highly politicized NGOs
The NDC provides funding to a number of highly biased and politicized NGOs active in the Arab-Israeli conflict, including the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO), Health Work Committees (HWC), Al Mezan, Al-Haq, Defense for Children international – Palestine (DCI-P), BADIL, Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS), Palestinian Youth Association for Leadership and Rights Activation (PYALARA), and East Jerusalem YMCA. Some of these organizations promote antisemitic rhetoric; publicly reject anti-terror contractual requirements; and have reported links to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a designated terrorist organization by the US, EU, Canada, and Israel.
EU funding to NGOs in Jerusalem: “Protect the Palestinian identity of the city”
France’s grant to the NDC is part of a larger trend of European funding to politicized NGOs active in the very sensitive and complex issues related to Jerusalem. In August 2020, NGO Monitor published “EU grants to NGOs in Jerusalem: ‘Protect the Palestinian identity of the city,’” a report showing that in 2019, the EU authorized seven grants involving €11.8 million for projects in Jerusalem for implementation by NGOs. Some of these projects clearly relate to the EU’s highly politicized “strategic approach” (November 2018), which highlights what is referred to as the “urgent need to preserve the Palestinian identity of EJ (East Jerusalem).”