- HEKS (Hilfswerk der Evangelischen Kirchen Schweiz) is the aid organization of the Protestant Churches of Switzerland.
- Founded in 1946 by the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches; based in Zurich and “has an office for French-speaking Switzerland in Lausanne. The French abbreviation is EPER (Entraide Protestante Suisse).”
- In 2021, total income was CHF 98.8 million, of which 21% which came from government sources (“Confederation/cantons/municipalities”); total expenses were CHF 89.2 million, of which CHF 1.1 million was spent in “Palestine/Israel.”
Funding to Politicized NGOs
- HEKS has provided funding to a number of highly biased and politicized NGOs active in the Arab-Israeli conflict including Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel(EAPPI), Ma’an Development Center, PalVision, Culture and Free Thought Association, Zochrot, and Emek Shaveh. (See table below for further funding information.)
Funding to Palestinian NGOs
- In 2020-2022, HEKS is granting CHF 126,500 to Ma’an Development Center to support the “inhabitants of the Palestinian villages in developing and cultivating their land in order to protect them from expropriation.”
- In May 2019, MA’AN Director General Sami Khader attended a memorial event organized by the PFLP that centered on PFLP political bureau member Rabah Muhanna. The hall was decorated with PFLP paraphernalia.
- In May 2018, Ma’an Development Center employee Ahmad Abdallah Aladini was killed in the violence on the Gaza border. Aladini was a “comrade” of the PFLP terror group.
- In 2021-2023, HEKS is granting CHF 184,500 to the Culture and Free Thought Association for the “Promotion of young women and men and strengthening of social cohesion.”
- CFTA’s Director Mariam Zakoot signed a 2016 statement from Palestinian feminists supporting BDS and “deplor(ing) the colonial attitude inherent in some Israeli feminists’ request of us to sign a statement in favor of liberal ideals, ‘dialogue’ and ‘co-existence,’ and against the effective solidarity with the struggle for rights.”
- In September 2017, CFTA organized a workshop on the rights of women in partnership with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a designated terrorist organization by the US, EU, Canada, and Israel. The workshop “touched upon a number of solid Palestinian feminist models such as Taghreed Al-Buttama, Maha Nassar and Laila Khaled, who have taught the Zionist enemy painful lessons in various combat operations.”
- In 2020-2021, HEKS is providing CHF 56,100 to PalVision to “provide targeted support to Palestinian young people in East Jerusalem.”
Funding to Israeli NGOs
- In 2020-2022, HEKS granted CHF 107,593 to Akevot for a project titled “Israel after the founding of the state: What do the archives tell?”
- In 2021, Akevot launched a project funded by Switzerland titled “Living Memory: Expanding Space for Critical Reflection on the Israeli Palestinian Conflict through Archival Documentation.” According to the contract between the Swiss government and Akevot, the project specifically focuses on “myth-breaking” and dismantling the founding narratives of Israel.
- Additionally, according to the contract, Swiss funding goes to researching Israeli government archives to uncover documentation of “fraught and little-known events and mechanisms that problematize or even contradict ‘the official story’ of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” Akevot exposes the “Jewish-Israeli Public” to what it sees as the “root causes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” and pushes them to “recognize Israel’s responsibility for historical injustices.” A major component is a partnership with the left-leaning Haaretz newspaper, which regularly publishes articles based on and/or by Akevot reports.
- In 2020-2023, HEKS is providing CHF 136,300 to Zochrot to “promote the discourse on the right of return for Palestinian refugees in the Israeli public.”
- Zochrot supports a “One State Solution” or a “de-Zionized Palestine,” and refers to Israel as having an “ethnicized and racialized Zionist” system.
- In 2020-2023, HEKS is providing CHF 171,700 to Emek Shaveh to ensure that the “administration and design of the historical sites in Israel and Palestine are in accordance with international law.”
- While Emek Shaveh claims that it “oppose[s] attempts to use archaeological finds to legitimize acts that harm disadvantaged communities,” it promotes distorted facts and unsubstantiated positions that promote the Palestinian narrative of victimization and sole Israeli aggression.
- Utilizes highly biased and politicized rhetoric, accusing Israel of seeking “to demolish Palestinian village on ‘archaeological’ grounds,” and claims that the Elad Foundation is attempting to “Judaize” Jerusalem.
Funding to International NGOs
- In 2020-2023, HEKS granted CHF 839,300 to Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel(EAPPI), ACT Alliance, and the World Council of Churches for the “Protection and defense of human rights in Israel and Palestine.”
- EAPPI sends volunteers to the West Bank to “witness life under occupation.” Upon completion of the program, the volunteers return to their home countries and churches where many engage in anti-Israel advocacy, including advocating for BDS campaigns in churches, comparing Israel to apartheid South Africa and Nazi Germany, and other delegitimization strategies.
- Promotes a Palestinian “right of return” stating: “Those suffering the most at the roughly 1.8 million refugees and internally displaced persons now living in the occupied Palestinian territories and in Israel. The most of them are descendants of the refugees who had to leave their villages in 1948 and 1967 and to this day are still awaiting a permanent solution.” If implemented, this “return” would effectually mean the end of Israel as a Jewish state.
- Promotes BDS initiatives, and in 2012 sponsored an ad in the Swiss paper Neue Zürcher Zeitung supporting the Migros supermarket’s decision to boycott Israeli products and urging readers to back the initiative.
- HEKS claims to have been “among the first” to sign a petition calling on Israel to allow building materials into Gaza. HEKS and the others petitioners purposefully ignore the dangers of Hamas acquiring dual-use materials, claiming that “the blockade, including restrictions on building materials, cannot be justified on security grounds.”
- In August 2021, HEKS hosted an event with the Bisan Center on the “Social Mobilization for the Implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants in Palestine.”
- On October 22, 2021, the Israeli Ministry of Defense declared Bisan a “terror organization” because it is part of “a network of organizations” that operates “on behalf of the ‘Popular Front’.”
- Ubai Aboudi, Bisan’s Executive Director, was sentenced in June 2020 to 12-months in prison. According to his conviction, Aboudi “was convicted of being a member and an activist of the Popular Front organization during the period starting from 2016 and ending in July 2019.” Specifically, Aboudi “was responsible for recruiting additional activists to the organization from young people and students, as well as strengthening the organization’s infrastructure in the area” (on file with NGO Monitor).
- HEKS co-sponsored Breaking the Silence’s 2015 exhibition in Zurich. Breaking the Silence promotes “war crimes” charges against Israel, based on anonymous and unverifiable hearsay “testimonies.”
- Funded a 2012 “BADIL-Zochrot Study Visit to Cape Town” in order to “transform the thinking about return from pure abstraction to something more concrete, in the hope that our struggle will contribute to it someday becoming a lived reality.” Following this visit, Zochrot published “The Cape Town Document.” Conclusions include:
- Visions for a New State: “It is our hope that the new political structure created in de-Zionized Palestine will be that of a single democratic state (as opposed to the logic of ethnic separation embedded in the so-called ‘two-state solution’) with clear separation of church and state. This society will ideally be demilitarized, but due to the highly speculative and futuristic nature of this document, and the unstable political situation in the region, we have not managed to come to an agreement regarding the necessity of a standing army.”
Funding to Israeli NGOs (amounts in NIS)
Information for 2019-2022 taken from quarterly reports submitted to the Registrar of Non-Profits.
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