Open Society Foundations (OSF)


Country/TerritoryUnited States



  • In 2018, total budget was $1 billion and “is organized under 7 regions and 10 themes.”
    • $62.1 million was allocated to programs in the Middle East and North Africa.

OSF Funding to Political NGOs

  • OSF has provided grants to a number of highly biased and politicized NGOs active in the Arab-Israeli conflict, including Breaking the Silence, Gisha, Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), Adalah, Yesh DinIr Amim, Mada al-Carmel, and Machsom Watch. (See table below for further funding information.)
  • OSF has also provided funding to Palestinian NGOs Al-Haq the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), both of which have links to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a terrorist organization designated as such by the USEUCanada, and Israel.
    • Al-Haq General Director Shawan Jabarin has ties to the PFLP terrorist organization and, as a result, has been denied exit visas by Israel and Jordan. According to the Israeli Supreme court, Jabarin “is apparently acting as a manner of Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde, acting some of the time as the CEO of a human rights organization, and at other times as an activist in a terror organization.”
      • According to a 1995 Israeli submission to the UN, Jabarin was convicted in 1985 for recruiting members for the PFLP. Jabarin was also found guilty of arranging PFLP training outside Israel and was sentenced by Israeli courts to 24-months imprisonment, of which he served nine. In 1994, Jabarin was again arrested for alleged links and placed in administrative detention for six months. An Israeli statement to the UN notes that he “had not discontinued his terrorist involvement and maintains his position in the leadership of the PFLP.”
    • PCHR founder and director, Raji Sourani, was “prohibited from leaving Palestine (sic) from 1977 to 1990.” According to a 1995 article in the Washington Report, Raji Sourani served “a three-year sentence [1979-1982] imposed by an Israeli court which convicted him of membership in the illegal Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine…” He was also denied a US entry visa in 2012. Sourani was imprisoned an additional three times “in 1985 and 1986…” and held in administrative detention in 1988. From 1986 to 1987 he was “restricted from legal work for one year by an Israeli military decision issued by the Israeli Military Governor.”
      • In February 2014, the PFLP organized a ceremony in Gaza honoring Sourani for winning the “Alternative Noble Prize.” Rabah Muhana, a member of the PFLP Political Bureau, delivered a speech at the prize ceremony.
  • Other OSF grantees are the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), two US-based organizations that promote BDS campaigns against Israel.
    • CCR is active in lawfare suits against Israel and Israeli officials (including Avi Dichter and Moshe Ya’alon); promotes anti-Israel BDS campaigns; urges the U.S. government to stop providing military aid to Israel; presents an entirely biased and distorted view of the conflict and utilizes highly politicized rhetoric, accusing Israel of  “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity.”
    • AFSC is a leader of BDS campaigns on campuses and churches in the United States. Dalit Baum, director of AFSC’s Middle East program, is co-founder of Coalition of Women for Peace’s flagship BDS project “Who Profits?” Baum lobbies international audiences on how best to promote the global BDS campaign against Israel. AFSC materials include an online investment screening tool aimed to “help individuals and institutions identify companies on their investment portfolios that are directly complicit in ongoing severe violations of human rights and international law.”
  • On August 14, 2016, leaked documents from OSF were posted anonymously on the now-defunct DC Leaks. 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 (also in Appendix 1 below) showed that Open Society Foundation funded a number of Israeli NGOs, including some recipients that deny the legitimacy of Israel and Jewish sovereignty, and are involved in demonization campaigns.
    • The 2013 NGO Monitor report “Bad Investment: The Philanthropy of George Soros and the Arab-Israeli Conflict” 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.
    • According to these documents, OSF provided $405,000 to Palestinian media outlet Wattan News from 2012-2014. In 2016, Wattan 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.
    • 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).
  • In 2010, Open Society Foundation pledged $100 million to Human Rights Watch (HRW) over the course of 10 years.
  • In 2008, 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. Following this expose, J Street addressed the “myth” that “George Soros founded and is the primary funder of J Street,” claiming that it would be “very pleased to have funding from Mr. Soros.”

Political Advocacy

  • OSF has published articles by B’TselemAl-Haq, Breaking the SilenceAdalah, and Gisha as part of its “Grantee Spotlight” page.
    • In October 2016, Shawan Jabarin, the director of Al-Haqpromoted the decision to label all products from Israeli communities built over the 1967 ceasefire line adopted by the EU, ostensibly calling for the eventual boycott of all Israeli products.
    • In June 2016, OSF shared a report entitled “The Occupation’s Fig Leaf: Israel’s Military Law Enforcement System as a Whitewash Mechanism” prepared by B’Tselem. The report claims that “Palestinians have been living under an Israeli military regime that has wrongfully killed, injured, and abused them.”
  • 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.
    • In February 2018, OSF hosted the book launch with Sfard and Jill Jacobs, the executive director of T’ruah, discussing “Has a generation of legal action against the occupation actually served to bolster its legitimacy?”
  • The “Open Society Justice Initiative,” which claims to “foster accountability for international crimes, combat racial discrimination… address abuses related to national security and counterterrorism.” was asked by Adalah to “prepare 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.”

Funding to NGOs (amounts in $US, unless noted)

All grant information was taken from the Grant Database on Open Society Foundation’s website. Grants in New Israeli Shekels (NIS) were taken from annual reports submitted to the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits.

Breaking the Silence75,000NIS 330,990
Adalah400,000NIS 756,000
Al MezanAmount unavailable
Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR)Amount unavailable
B’TselemNIS 472,570NIS 24,836
Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI)120,000NIS 88,500
Yesh Din50,000NIS 195,500
Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR)530,000
American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)Amount unavailableAmount unavailable
Ir Amim140,000NIS 66,500
Mada al-CarmelNIS 187,19975,000NIS 300,409
Machsom Watch70,000NIS 135,380
MossowaNIS 213,771
Amnesty USA100,000
Al Qaws100,000NIS 180,765
European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR)95,000
EuroMed Rights1,000,000
European Middle East Project (EuMEP)25,000
Ligue des droits de l'Hommes (LDH)200,02482,538

Appendix 1

imagesoros leak2Soros, Israel, George Soros, Open Society Foundations

All Articles about Open Society Foundations (OSF)

Further Reading