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Open Society Foundations (OSF)

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Country/TerritoryUnited States

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Click here to read NGO Monitor’s report, Bad Investment: The Philanthropy of George Soros and the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 2013.

  • OSF’s declared objective is “to work to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable and open to the participation of all people.” This is the basis for OSF’s often intrusive activities in both closed and democratic societies, including large scale funding of political NGOs.
  • OSF’s 2018 budget is $1 Billion and “is organized under 7 regions and 10 themes”. $62.1 million is allocated to programs in the Middle East and North Africa.
  • Funding of NGOs is entirely non-transparent. Annual reports do not provide names of NGO grantees or amounts transferred to individual groups. Details below were obtained through independent research by NGO Monitor, based on NGO reporting to the Israeli Registry of Non-Profits or information provided by the groups on their websites. (Note – all the Israeli and Palestinian NGOs also receive funding from European governments.)
  • According to NGOs reporting to the Israeli Registry of Non-Profits, between 2012-2016, the OSF funded 13 Israeli political advocacy NGOs: Acri (Nis 737518 ), Adalah (Nis 4075796), Breaking the Silence (Nis 1766495  include 2017), B’Tselem (Nis 1339059), Mada al Carmel (Nis 841424 without 2012,2016), Mossawa (Nis 495567 without 2012,2016), Al qaws (Nis 738512), Gisha ( NIs 1360949 without 2015,2013), Ir Amim (Nis 1066000), Molad (Nis 368682 without 2012,2014,2016), Sadaka Reut (NIs 17246 only in 2013), Women’s Fund for Human Rights (Machsom Watch) (Nis 518700 without 2016), Yesh Din (666750 Nis without 2016).
  • Funding for Palestinians and American political advocacy NGOs includes: Al-Haq (amount unknown), Al Mezan (amount unknown), , Center for Constitutional Rights ($495,000 in 2015), American Friends Service Committee (amount unknown), Palestinian Center for Human Rights (amount unknown).
  • On August 14 2016, leaked documents from OSF were posted anonymously on the DC Leaks website. A number of these as yet unverified documents deal with OSF’s grants to political NGOs through its “Arab Regional Office (ARO) – Palestinian Citizens of Israel” department. Headed by Ammar Abu Zayyad, the ARO is one of a number of funding mechanisms for Israeli and Palestinian NGO’s in the OSF network.
    • The list of ARO grantees (current and discontinued) is located here, and below. The 2013 NGO Monitor report includes a number of Soros funding frameworks that are not included in the leaked documents, meaning that- if they are accurate- the actual funding is significantly higher than indicated by this leak.
    • The US-based New Israel Fund (NIF), funder of such politicized NGOs such as Adalah, B’Tselem, Breaking the Silence and others, received $837,000, including for the advancement of Palestinian legal advocacy.
    • In addition, ARO funds a number of Israeli NGOs in the NIF network, including some recipients that deny the legitimacy of Israel and Jewish sovereignty, and are involved in demonization campaigns. Grantees include Adalah ($2.7 million), Mossawa ($260,000), Mada al Carmel ($700,000), and I’lam ($1.08 million), which criticizes Israeli media for its coverage of the Nakba.
    • Amongst the leaked files are instructions on pressuring the EU to adopt product labeling policies touted by many NGOs as the first step to EU-sponsored BDS, and supporting Palestinian ascension to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
  • According to these documents, OSF provided $405,000 to Palestinian media outlet Wattan News from 2012-2014. Wattan has published a series of articles promoting virulently antisemitic content in the form of “anti-Zionism.” After inquiries were sent to OSF by Tablet magazine, the offensive content was removed from Wattan’s website, and OSF issued a condemnation, and claimed that it is “putting in place procedures that such a serious lapse in editorial oversight will not take place again.” OSF did not state that it was withdrawing funding from Wattan.
  • OSF granted an unknown amount of money to the political activist Michael Sfard to write his book, The Wall and the Gate: Israel, Palestine, and the Legal Battle for Human Rights. Sfard is involved in highly political NGOs (many of them getting money from OSF) and campaigns against Israel, including lawfare.
  • OSF has published articles by B’Tselem, Al-Haq, Breaking the Silence, Adalah, and Gisha as part of its “Grantee Spotlight” page.
  • In 2010, Soros pledged $100 million to Human Rights Watch (HRW) over the course of 10 years.
  • Soros pledged $750,000 over three years to J Street. J Street concealed this funding for many years, until The Washington Times revealed it in 2010. On its website, J Street addresses the “myth” that “George Soros founded and is the primary funder of J Street.” It claims that it would be “very pleased to have funding from Mr. Soros,” but denies this large donation.
  • The “Open Society Justice Initiative,” claims to “foster accountability for international crimes, combat racial discrimination… address abuses related to national security and counterterrorism.”
  • The Justice Initiative was asked by Adalah to assist in preparing a memorandum for the UN Human Rights Council’s follow-up Fact-Finding Committee (to the “Goldstone Report”). The resulting report alleged that “the Israeli investigations to date have not complied with international or comparative standards,” and that delays “violate[] international law and taint[] the independence and effectiveness of any subsequent inquiry.”

Appendix 1

imagesoros leak2Soros, Israel, George Soros, Open Society Foundations

Archive of Articles about Open Society Foundations (OSF)

Further Reading