- Spanish funding to politicized non-governmental organizations (NGOs) involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict is widespread and highly decentralized, with the phenomenon taking place at several levels of governance in Spain. Funds are managed and allocated by the central government, autonomous communities, provincial deputations, municipalities, and bar associations – reflecting deep political fissures and regional radicalization.
- Funding is repeatedly granted to NGOs that carry out political warfare campaigns against Israel. Several grantees have ties to terrorist organizations, promote antisemitism, incite violence, and are involved in BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions)
- In 2015, Spanish funding to NGOs active in the Arab-Israeli conflict amounted to over €5.1 million.
- Total decentralized funding: €2.9 million
- Total centralized funding: €1.3 million
- On June 28, 2017, in the Spanish Parliament in Madrid, NGO Monitor and ACOM presented a joint report on Spanish funding. At this event, MK Yair Lapid, Chair of the centrist Yesh Atid party, encouraged his counterparts in Spain to take steps to prevent counterproductive and detrimental government funding.
Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID)
- The largest Spanish foreign aid donor is the Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), under the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.
- According to its charter, the agency was created “to foster full development, conceived as a fundamental human right, with the fight against poverty as part of the process for building this right.” In addition to directly funding various Palestinian and Israeli NGOs, AECID funds a number of projects carried out by Spanish NGOs together with local partners.
- AECID provides funding to Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC), Bisan Centre for Research and Development, Women’s Center for Legal Aid and Counseling (WCLAC), and the Applied Research Institute Jerusalem (ARIJ). All of these organizations promote BDS and utilize demonizing rhetoric, and as seen below, the first four of these beneficiaries have reported ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a designated terrorist entity by the US, EU, Canada, and Israel.
NGOs funded through AECID
- Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) received €185,581 in 2015.
- PCHR describes Israel’s policies as “apartheid” and accuses Israel of “ethnic cleansing,” “war crimes,” and the “Judaization of Jerusalem,” while regularly distorting or denying the context of terrorism against Israeli civilians.
- According to a 1995 article in the Washington Report, PCHR director 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.
- Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) received €184,989 in 2015.
- UAWC is identified by Fatah as an official PFLP “affiliate,” and by USAID as the “agricultural arm” of the PFLP. According to academic scholar Glenn E. Robinson, UAWC was founded in 1986 by “agronomists loosely affiliated with the PFLP.”
- Utilizes highly biased and demonizing rhetoric, accusing the “Israel occupation forces” of “continuing its brutal and immoral offensive  war on Gaza” and an ongoing “policy of collective punishment in disregard for the international law and humanitarian law.”
- In 2010, UAWC organized “a solidarity day with the Secretary General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Ahmed Saadat…” The “solidarity day” featured Muhammad Bakri, executive director of the Union of Agricultural Work Committees in Gaza, and celebrated “the tenth anniversary of the assassination of Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze’evi” (an attack perpetrated by the PFLP).
- Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC) received €83,200 in 2015.
- According to the Institute for Palestine Studies and scholar Simona Sharoni, the UPWC is politically affiliated with the PFLP.
- According to the PFLP, the late Maha Nassar, who was president of the UPWC, was also a member of the Central Committee of the PFLP.
- As reported by the PFLP, in 2012 the UPWC “organized a visit to the home of the martyr Comrade Mahmoud Gharbawi, writer and former member of the Political Vureau (sic) of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, marking the 40th day after his death. This visit came as one of a series of events organized by the PFLP . . .”
- Bisan Centre for Research and Development received €76,380 in 2015.
- Lamees Farraj, Project Coordinator at Bisan, is a signatory on behalf of Bisan to the “Support Statement of Palestinian Feminists in Palestine and Diaspora,” published in February 2016, which accuses Israel of “colonial and racist oppression”; “deplore[s] the colonial attitude inherent in some Israeli feminists’ request of us to sign a statement in favor of liberal ideals . . . and against the effective solidarity with the struggle for rights”; and “emphasize[s] that popular resistance movements, including the boycott movement, are feminist issues as well.”
- According to Palestinian organizations Samidoun – Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network and Addameer, Bisan’s Executive Director Eteraf Rimawi was arrested six times by Israeli forces between 1995 and 2014. As reported by Addameer, Rimawi was sentenced for 16-months in prison and fined NIS 5000 in 2000. During his detention in 2008, an Israeli military judge affirmed that “Eteraf was active in political activities related to the PFLP.”
- Women’s Center for Legal Aid and Counseling (WCLAC) received €128,825 in 2015.
- Randa Siniora, General Director of WCLAC and former General Director of Al-Haq, has stated, “Although resistance against occupation and its arbitrary practices is legitimate under international law, and these acts are considered a part of the Palestinian people’s resistance and struggle against occupation in order to achieve their right to liberation and independence, the occupation forces call it ‘terrorism’ or ‘destructive acts.’”
- Manal Tamimi, a WCLAC fieldworker, frequently utilizes antisemitic and violent rhetoric on social media.
- Applied Research Institute Jerusalem (ARIJ) received €199,611 in 2015.
- Among the leaders of the political warfare against Israel, seeking to further boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS), false accusations of Israeli “apartheid” and “racism,” and support for a Palestinian “right of return” that is inconsistent with two-state solution.
- ARIJ’s overview of “Palestine in Century” omits the context of an Arab rejection of partition and an Arab-initiated war against Israel, and falsely alleges an Israeli “transfer policy.”
Andalucía Agency for International Development Cooperation (AACID)
- Andalucía Agency for International Development Cooperation (AACID) is a primary donor to NGO-led activities in the Arab-Israeli conflict, designating €2,635,330 for such activities in 2014 and €1,279,652 in 2015.
- NGO Monitor research into individual grants reveals a higher amount, €1,446,397 in 2015, making AACID the single largest Spanish donor to politicized NGO activities related to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
- Beyond granting financial support, AACID also held a BDS event “against Israeli apartheid” together with the Spanish NGO Al-Quds Association in 2014, featuring Raji Sourani of PCHR, Sergio Yahni of Alternative Information Center (AIC), and Spanish politician Teresa Rodriguez. Teresa Rodriguez is a far-left anti-Israel politician who has called on the EU to suspend its Association Agreement with Israel, accused Israel of “ethnic cleansing” in the 2014 Gaza war, and compared Gaza to “the Warsaw Ghetto.”
- The participation of a governmental development cooperation agency in a radical and discriminatory political activity grossly diverges from AACID’s declared mandate to contribute “to the eradication of poverty and to the consolidation of processes aimed at ensuring sustainable human development,” and attests to severe politicization of Spanish development aid.
- In 2015, the Al Quds Association was granted a total of €80,000 by AACID, all of which was designated for its “2015 PCHR project” (NGO Monitor translation).
Basque Agency for Development Cooperation (AVCD)
- In May 2016, the Basque Agency for Development Cooperation (AVCD) signed an agreement to grant Addameer €199,988 to “help Palestinian prisoners.” Addameer is an official “affiliate” of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), designated a terrorist entity by the US, EU, Canada, and Israel.
- AVCD funds Spanish NGO Paz con Dignidad’s journal Revista Pueblos, a “quarterly publication of information and debate linked to social movements and with a clear international vocation.”
- In September 2016, Revista Pueblos published an article titled “Against Oblivion. Photographic Memory of Palestine Before the Nakba, 1889-1948,” covering a book of photographs compiled by “journalist Teresa Aranguren and the photographer Sandra Barrilaro” that depict “Photographs showing people living their lives normally, without even imagining how much their life would be wounded and thrown into exile, occupation, diaspora.”
- In 2015, Paz con Dignidad received €300,000 from AVCD for a project with the Union of Health Work Committees (UHWC) titled “Project of rehabilitation and integral services for women in Al Awda Health Center.”
- UHWC itself is a PFLP-affiliated health committee active in Gaza, as identified by USAID and in Palestinian documents.
- Majed Nassar is Deputy Director of the Union of Health Work Committees (UHWC) and has been cited as a PFLP member. According to a 2007 document, Israel has prevented Dr. Majed Nassar from traveling “since 2001,” a decision upheld by the HCJ.
- Yousef Habash is the public relations officer at UHWC. Habash is apparently the nephew of PFLP founder George Habash. Israel prevented Yousef Habash from leaving the West Bank from 2011 to 2012. He is also a member of the BDS National Committee.
- PcD coordinator and Cordoba Council member Amparo Pernichi spoke in March 2016 at the “Tree of resistance of the Palestinian People in Cordoba [Andalucía],” invoking classical antisemitic themes: “This has been perfectly organized all along, from the 19th Century, with Theodor Herzl being the first one to talk about Zionism. (…) Another important decision, Balfour, in World War I, he asked the Israelis (sic) that lived throughout the world and that had a lot of money, the richest ones, to help settle the people of Zion in that territory. Those two historical events paved the way for the genocide that happened later. (…) This place is emblematic because we used to gather together here in the recent genocidal episode against Gaza, and I say the recent, because they haven’t stopped killing since then” (NGO Monitor translation, emphasis added).
- In November 2015, AVCD granted €800,764 to Spanish NGO Mundubat for “Strengthening Community Resilience and Palestinian Social Cohesion in East Jerusalem.”
- Mundubat is part of the Kanan project, a project dedicated to strengthening “the social and political participation channels of the Palestinian population in East Jerusalem through enhancing the capacity of the youth…” and implemented by six political NGOs, among them Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P), Alternative Information Center (AIC), and Health Work Committees, all of which have ties to the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist organization.
Spanish Funding to Israeli/Palestinian Political NGOs
(Unless noted, 2015-2016 data based on quarterly financial reports submitted to the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits; 2013-2014 Information taken from annual reports)
|Addameer||Basque Agency for Development Cooperation (AVCD)||2016||€199,988|
|Municipality of Vitoria||2014||€97,947|
|Autonomous community of Navarre||2016||€84,745|
|Municipality of Pamplona||2015||€30,100|
|Palestinian Center for Human Rights||Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID)||2015||€185,581|
|Andalucía Agency for International Development Cooperation (AACID) for a project with Al Quds Association||2015||€80,000|
|Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees||AECID||2015||€83,200|
|Union of Agricultural Work Committees||AECID||2015||€184,989|
|Bisan Centre for Research and Development||AECID||2015||€76,380|
|Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counseling||AECID||2015||€128,825|
|Applied Research Institute Jerusalem||AECID||2015||€199,611|
|Health Work Committees||Indirect funding through the NGO Al Quds Association||2015||€12,818|
|Bimkom||ACPP (Spain)||2016||NIS 54,395|
|Breaking the Silence||AECID||2016||NIS 257,950|
|Rabbis for Human Rights||AECID||2016||NIS 427,350|
|Who Profits||Indirect funding through the NGO NOVA||2016||NIS 5.705|
|Yesh Din||Indirect funding through the NGO NOVA||2016||NIS 85,765|
|Alternative Information Center||Basque Government||2015||NIS 242,101|
|Indirect funding through the NGO Mundubat||2013||NIS 259,645|
|Coalition of Women for Peace||Indirect funding through the NGO NOVA||2014||NIS 161,258|
|Movimiento por la Paz (MPDL)||Municipality of Torrelodones with Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS)||2015||€11,478|
|Municipality of Utebo with Culture and Free Thought Association (CFTA)||€3,000|
|AACID, the Parliament of Andalucía, and the municipality of Illescas for projects with the Health Work Committees (HWC)||€61,326|
- This is how Spain funds the hatred of Israel Pablo Molina, El Medio, May 4, 2017
- Is Spain Fueling the BDS War Against Israel? Soeren Kern, August 22, 2015
- Interview: Spanish Funds Support the BDS Movement and the Matisyahu Affair Jerusalem Online, August 23, 2015
- Kidnapped Israeli Teens Compel Scrutiny of Hamas's International Finances Matthew Levitt, The New Republic, June 24, 2014