Medico International




  • Medico International states that it “struggles for the human right to the best possible access to good health. In doing so we support local partners… in their endeavors to create the economic, social and cultural conditions which allow each person to attain the highest health standard possible.”
  • Based in Germany and Switzerland, with projects in Africa, the Middle East, Central and South America, and Asia. Medico’s offices for “Israel and Palestine” are based in East-Jerusalem and Ramallah.


Funding for Politicized NGOs

  • MI openly supports political activities and lobbying of its partners. According to MI’s 2015 annual report, “in addition to humanitarian aid, [MI’s local partners] also bring the political crisis into light. They collect material for the International Court of Justice in The Hague and pursue political interventions” (p.25, NGO Monitor translation).
  • Funds highly politicized Israeli and Palestinian advocacy NGOs, including Who Profits,  AdalahBreaking the Silence (BtS), Physicians for Human Rights – Israel (PHR-I), the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), the Freedom Theater (TFT) and the Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS). (See below for complete funding information.)
    • Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) has reported links to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), designated by the U.S., EU, Canada, and Israel as a terrorist organization. In 1993, USAID identified the UAWC as “the PFLP’s agricultural organization.”
    • Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS) regularly invites “delegations of consuls and country representatives to vulnerable areas… [and] international solidarity groups to witness and document human rights abuses.” Mustafa Barghouti, president of PMRS, takes part in BDS activities, stating, “We are now in the early stages of a campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions directed at this Israeli government for its refusal to abide by international law. Such action successfully overturned Jim Crow laws in the American South and apartheid in South Africa, and we are slowly applying it to Israeli occupation and apartheid.”
    • In 2016, the Freedom Theater produced and performed the play “Images from the life of Ghassan Kanafani” based on the writings of Ghassan Kanafani, who is described by TFT as an “iconic figure in the Palestinian struggle for liberation,” and “a prominent member of PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine),” a terrorist organization designated as such by the EU and others. The play was supported by Sweden and the EU.
    • Who Profits was founded “in response to the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement” against Israel. Who Profits initiates international BDS campaigns, targeting Israeli and foreign banks, security companies, civil infrastructure facilities, and private companies. It supports BDS campaigns around the world in finding target companies.
    • Adalah regularly presents Israel as a racist and undemocratic state and partners with anti-Israel BDS groups. It publishes an online “Discriminatory Laws Database,” that does not distinguish between laws and rejected legislative proposals and refers to Zionism pejoratively. Adalah also supports a “transformation [of Israel] in to a transnational regime in all historical Palestine,” i.e. a one-state formula. (translation by NGO Monitor)
    • Breaking the Silence collects testimonies of soldiers who served in the Occupied Territories during the Second Intifada,” claiming that the “testimonies portray a…grim picture of questionable orders in many areas regarding Palestinian civilians [which] demonstrate the depth of corruption which is spreading in the Israeli military.” It is active in “war crimes” charges against Israel. These charges were based on anonymous and unverifiable hearsay “testimonies.”
    • Under the guide of medical expertise and scientific fact, Physicians for Human Rights- Israel (PHR-I) promotes distorted and false narratives aimed at demonizing and delegitimizing Israel in the international arena.
  • Funds a project titled “EU advocacy & lobbying for a just Middle East politics [sic]” of Brussels-based NGO European Middle East Project (EuMEP), a lobbying organization within the EU.
  • Advertised a “book presentation” with Breaking the Silence (BtS) in Ramallah on May 17, 2011, to launch “Occupation of the Territories: Israeli Soldier Testimonies 2000-2010.” Following criticism from NGO Monitor, the event was cancelled. MI’s Israel director Tsafrir Cohen claimed that funding for BtS comes from MI’s “own donations, i.e. there are no state or EU moneys involved.”

Political Advocacy

  • Medico International’s website and publications completely ignore Palestinian terrorism, do not mention Israeli victims, and focus only on alleged Israeli violations of international law.
  • On May 7, 2020, Medico released a short film titled “Chronically ill in Gaza,” which deals with “how the closure of the Gaza Strip affects the realities of life for people with chronic diseases and their families.” The movie was produced “with funds from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), as part of a project in cooperation with the medico partner organization Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS).” The film blames Israel’s “occupation” and “sanctions” for the health situation in Gaza, failing to mention Hamas’ prioritization of terror infrastructure over healthcare and legitimate Israeli national security concerns. The film also omitted that the blockade was implemented in an effort to stop Palestinian weapons smuggling.
  • On October 2, 2019, Medico announced “With deep concern we had to observe the arrest of Samer Al-Arbeed, who is working for our partner organisation UAWC.” According to the indictment against him, in August 2019, Samer Arbid, UAWC accountant and previously UAWC “financial officer,” commanded a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terror cell that carried out a bombing against Israeli civilians, murdering 17-year old Rina Shnerb, and injuring her father and brother. According to the Israel Security Agency (Shabak), Arbid prepared and detonated the explosive device.
  • In July 2019, Riad Othman, Medico’s Near East consultant, gave an interview to the German organization Rosa Luxemburg Foundation stating that one of the main objectives of Medico International is “to influence politics in Germany, to a lesser extent also in the European Union” (emphasis added). Specifically, regarding this part of its work in Israel, Othman stated that it “means providing legal assistance against the Israeli civil administration and encouraging the farmers through material support to stay in the C areas. In Germany, we have been campaigning for years for the federal government to address the discriminatory licensing regime – also condemned by the Israeli Supreme Court – and the problem of Palestinian access to resources.”
  • On May 16, 2019, rejecting the German Bundestag’s resolution defining BDS campaigns as antisemitic, Medico published a statement saying that “BDS would also be critical in asking how the emotionalised discourse on Israeli colonialism superimposes and destroys a profound preoccupation with anti-Semitism and its history…. The accusation of antisemitism has degenerated into a cheap attempt of censorship, which calls for attention in a high-profile public space.”
    • Medico also wrote that German political foundations operating in the West Bank and Gaza “almost all work together with civil society organizations that have signed the BDS call” and that “hopefully, they will continue to cooperate with them in the future,” claiming that “the Israeli government and its German – in part: their ‘anti-German’ apologists, whose relationship with Israel is reminiscent of the Soviet Union’s loyalty to the DKP [German Communist Party], dream that cooperation with these organizations will be banned. Because then hardly any Palestinian partner remain.” (NGO Monitor translation)
    • In June 2019, Riad Othman, a Middle East speaker for Medico, stated that “Putting BDS centre stage directs the debate towards Israel and Palestine instead of focusing on homegrown antisemitism and racism, including that among communities of migrant origin in Germany.”
  • In March 2019, Medico published an article mourning the death of Sajed Mizher, a 17-year-old Palestinian killed by the Israeli security forces, as  a “first aid volunteer” with the Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS). Medico neglected to mention that Mizher was a “comrade“ of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a terrorist organization designated as such by the U.S., EU, Canada, and Israel). Mizher’s funeral procession featured many individuals wearing military gear, PFLP paraphernalia, and PFLP banners. Mizher’s body was also adorned in PFLP paraphernalia, as well as a PMRS orange reflective vest.  (For more details, see NGO Monitor’s blog “Palestinian NGO Medic Killed in Bethlehem Clashes Had Ties to PFLP Terror Group.”)
  • In a June 2017 blog post on MI’s website, MI’s Head of Public Relations and Media Spokesperson, Katja Maurer, wrote: “The Israeli right is cleverly trying to cement the status quo and thus to turn it into a prospective solution. They do this first and foremost with accusations of antisemitism and the implication that behind the demand for harsh measures to enforce UN resolutions – binding under international law – is directed against the existence of the State of Israel and is therefore antisemitic. Such a reversal of political responsibility is possible only because the Israeli right understands the Shoa, and not European nationalism and the resulting disintegration of multinational states, as the explanation for the existence of the country… The experience of centuries-long persecution in Europe thus becomes a universal Jewish narrative. In contrast, other experiences remain underrepresented. Among these, that Jews in the Ottoman Empire could live relatively safely, in comparison to Europe in any case. Only the foundation of the State of Israel changed this, leading to the half voluntary half forced exodus of most Jews from Arab lands” (emphases added, NGO Monitor translation).
  • In July 2016, MI Spokesperson Katja Maurer described Israel as a “non-liberal democracy” and claimed that “[t]he 1967 occupation has been wiped out of the collective memory, the green line is irrelevant.” The article ended with a plea for donations, on the premise that “[t]he measures with which our Israeli partners try to protect themselves against defamation, attacks and criminalization are costly.” (NGO Monitor translation).
  • In a December 2015 article titled “Internal Colonization,” MI Near East Coordinator Riad Othman accuses Israel of “internal and external land grab” and “erosion of democratic values,” describing the Israeli government as “blatantly racist” and claiming that “[i]t is becoming increasingly apparent that democratic values and rights are not intended for all citizens of the country, but for those who belong to the Jewish majority… The actions of the Israeli government demonstrate what MI’s partners in Israel such as Breaking the Silence, Adalah or Physicians for Human Rights have long warned against” (NGO Monitor translation, emphasis added).

Medico International Switzerland


Medico International Funding to Israeli and Palestinian NGOs (amounts in NIS unless noted)

NGO Recipient AmountYear
Aid Watch Palestine,
Dalia Association
Breaking the Silence62,5202019
Culture and Free Thought AssociationN/A2018
General Union of Cultural Centres (GUCC)N/A2017
Jahalin SolidarityN/A2018
Kerem Navot63,3642018
Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS)$2,352,91822018
Physicians for Human Rights- Israel230,7092018
Rabbis for Human Rights317,2502017
The Freedom Theater (TFT)N/A018
The Social TVN/A2018
Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC)N/A2018
Who Profits50,9842018

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