• The Danish government funds numerous Israeli and Palestinian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) directly through the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DANIDA), and indirectly through the United Nations, church groups, and aid organizations such as DanChurchAid and Oxfam GB.
  • In 2013-2017, Israeli and Palestinian NGOs also received direct Danish funding through the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (Secretariat), a joint mechanism for funding NGOs, created by the governments of Denmark, SwitzerlandSweden, and the Netherlands.1
  • The Danish government also provides support to DanWatch, a vocal supporter of BDS (boycotts, divestment, and sanctions) against Israel.
  • According to DANIDA’s Openaid website, in 2016–2018, the Danish government committed DKK 123.4 million ($18.6 million) to NGOs in the West Bank and Gaza.
  • Many NGOs that receive Danish funding lead campaigns and political activities that are inconsistent with Danish government policies to promote peace and a two-state framework in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Many Danish-funded NGOs are centrally involved in anti-Israel BDS and lawfare
  • On December 22, 2017, following a review of its support for Palestinian NGOs, Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen announced that Denmark would tighten conditions for Danish assistance to Palestinian NGOs.
  • In October 2018, the Danish Foreign Minister announced a new policy regarding “Explanations about the conditions for Danish support for Israeli and Palestinian civil society organizations” and stating that “The use of Danish funds for political purposes, including BDS activities, is unacceptable” and Denmark would no longer fund organizations “associating with a terrorist movement,” “violating human rights principles,” or “questioning Israel’s right to exist.”

Investigations into Problematic Danish Funding

  • In May 2017, a Secretariat-funded NGO, Women’s Affairs Technical Committee (WATC), inaugurated a youth center in the town of Burqa, near Nablus. The center is named after Dalal Mughrabi, a terrorist who in 1978 murdered 37 civilians, including 12 children.
  • In response, the Danish Foreign Minister stated that he would investigate funding to NGOs stating, “if any of these organizations crossed a line… if a leader of one of these organizations for example publicly announced that they want to get rid of all Jews, or kill all Jews, anything like that, of course we will immediately close down the support… If you end up in a way where you have an aggressive rhetoric, wanting to kill people or do illegal things, then of course we will immediately close down the support…”
  • On June 2, 2017, after further investigation, the Danish Foreign Minister stated that he was “outraged that WATC, claiming to work for human rights, not just glorified a terrorist, but also abused the trust of a generous people like the Danish. It is totally unacceptable, and I cannot too strongly denounce it. Denmark and Danish tax money should under no circumstances be used for anything that in any way glorify or promote terrorism. Therefore, we now require of WACT that they pay Danish support back” (emphasis added).

Direct Funding

Funding via the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DANIDA)

Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat

  • Denmark, together with the governments of SwedenSwitzerland, and the Netherlands, jointly funded the “Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat” (Secretariat). This funding mechanism had a budget of $20 million for over four years (2013-2017). The funds were managed by the Institute of Law at Birzeit University (IoL-BZU) in Ramallah and the NIRAS consulting firm. (Read NGO Monitor’s report “Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat: Abusing Public Funds to Perpetuate Conflict.”)
    • The Secretariat, via NIRAS, received approximately DKK 34 million for 2013-2017 (see screenshot below).
  • The Secretariat funded highly politicized NGOs that promote BDS campaigns and engage in legal warfare against Israeli officials and companies that do business with Israel. Some of these NGOs have reported ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a terrorist organization designated as such by the U.S.EUCanada and Israel; promote blatant antisemitism; distort facts; advance a “1948 agenda”; exploit the false “apartheid” analogy; and undermine peace and contribute to radicalization.
  • On December 22, 2017, following a review of its support for Palestinian NGOs, the Danish Foreign Ministry announced that it would cease funding to the Secretariat, stating that the “majority of Danish aid to the organizations, which was suspended in 2017, will not be paid. The Ministry also confirmed that donor cooperation will end at the end of the year [2017].”
  • On January 9, 2018, Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen wrote to Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan, confirming that “The work of the Secretariat had ended as planned in 2017.”

NGOs funded by the Secretariat include:

Indirect Funding

DanChurchAid support for BADIL and Al-Haq

  • On May 30, 2017, DanChurchAid posted a response to criticism against its partnerships with organizations and individuals with alleged ties to terrorism and that promote antisemitism.
    • DCA acknowledged that “Jabrin [Shawan Jabarin, General Director of Palestinian NGO Al-Haq] was in prison for 9 months back in the 1980’s accused of helping two members of the organisation PFLP to travel for training.”
    • DCA also defends its annual funding to the Palestinian NGO Badil (DKK 300,000) and attempts to deflect allegations of antisemitism associated with this funding by claiming that “the one [poster] from 2015 – was just submitted for a competition and as such is not a Badil product and was not published by Badil.”
      • However, the 2015 drawing in question, which depicts a fist punching through the entire State of Israel, was indeed published by Badil.
    • Badil’s website currently displays numerous similar images depicting the elimination of Israel. This includes a 2016 poster that contains the Badil emblem. In addition to its graphic publications, Badil maintains a narrative of Israel as a “settler colonial and racist state.”
  • In 2010 following correspondence with NGO Monitor, DCA agreed with NGO Monitor conclusions about another BADIL poster noting “that this caricature is anti-Semitic.”

DanChurchAid support for Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI).

NGO Grantees (amounts in Danish kroner (DKK) unless specified)

Information taken from DanChurchAid’s 2017 Project Overview. Amounts in NIS are based off information submitted to the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits.    

Implementing partnersFunding - TotalYear / s
Breaking the Silence300,0002016-2017
Applied Research Institute Jerusalem (ARIJ)662,3702017-2019
Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counseling (WCLAC)308,0002016-2018
Union of Health Work Committees (UHWC)Undisclosed 2015
Women’s Affairs Center230,3192017
Who ProfitsNIS 13,1992017
NIS 13,8392016
Ma’an Development Center3,075,1932017-2018
Norwegian Church Aid5,518,1582016-2020
ACT Alliance EU142,5002017-2019
Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR)331,0002017
YMCA- East Jerusalem1,330,4922015-2018
Human Rights Defenders Fund100,0002017-2018

Oxfam GB

NGO Grantees (amounts in NIS)

Information for 2015-2017 based on quarterly reports submitted to the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits; 2013-2014 on annual reports.

NGOYearTotal Funding
Emek Shaveh201563,000
Yesh Din20131,036,875


  • DanWatch describes itself as an “independent media and research centre specialized in investigative journalism on global issues.” However, the organization leverages this allegedly “independent” position to politically attack Israel.
  • As part of the BDS campaign against Israel, DanWatch targets Israeli and European corporations, such as Ahava, G4S, Integrated Service Solutions (ISS), Israeli agricultural products, and tour operators under the guise of “business ethics.”
  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark granted $837,494 (2014-2017) to DanWatch for a project called “CSR-Facility. Fonden DanWatch. A strenghened [sic] watchdog who shares all its knowledge and fosters a nuanced debate.”
    • It is unclear if this is the same project funding that DanWatch receives through the Ministry of Foreign Affair’s CSR-Pool for DKK 5 million (approx. $740,000) for a project called “The Right to Food.”
  • According to DanWatch, a “DanWatch-investigation” led to Danish pension fund, Sampension, to divest from four publicly traded Israeli companies.
  • In contrast to DanWatch’s claim of being an “independent media and research centre,” publications regarding Israel are commissioned by organizations with a history of anti-Israel activities (i.e. DanChurchAid – see above).
  • DanWatch’s “independent media and research” is based on unreliable, biased, and politicized NGOs including Who ProfitsIsraeli Committee against House Demolitions (ICAHD), and Al-Haq, as well as “legal opinions” of Richard Falk, the highly controversial former United Nations Special Rapporteur.“

Danish funding to Palestinian and European Organizations

The Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights2018ICHR - Independent Commission for Human Rights - Palestine$780,500
DanWatch2016CSR-Facility. Fonden DanWatch$263,465
2015CSR “The Right to FoodDKK 5 million* (approx. $740,000)
Oxfam GB2016Transitional Programme 2014 2015$1,037,041
DanChurchAid2017Partnership Agreement 2017DKK 63 million
(approx $10 million)
2016Partnership Agreement 2016DKK 63 million
(approx $10 million)

*Unclear if this is a duplication of other funding or a separate grant.



  1. Previously, the NGO Development Center (NDC) in Ramallah managed these pooled government finances through its Human Rights/Good Governance (HR/GG) program. (See NGO Monitor’s reports on the previous counterproductive funding via the NDS here and here.)

Appendix 1

Screenshots from DANIDA OpenAid – May 30, 2018


Danish funding to the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law IHL Secretariat



NIRAS (Secretariat) funding 2017


Danish funding to DanWatch












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Further Reading