Sweden

Profile

Country/TerritorySweden

Key People

Activity

  • The Swedish government funds numerous Israeli, Palestinian, and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), the Embassy in Tel Aviv, and indirectly by outsourcing to Swedish church groups and aid organizations such as Diakonia.
  • In 2018, Sweden provided approximately $19.1 million to NGOs involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Many of these NGOs and church aid organizations are involved in anti-peace activities such as incitement, BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions), and legal attacks (“lawfare”) against Israel. Some of these groups also have reported ties to terrorist organizations.
  • In August 2018, OmVärlden, an online magazine owned by Sida, published 20 articles making numerous false accusations about NGO Monitor. The articles consisted almost entirely of innuendo, factual inaccuracies, and antisemitic motifs reminiscent of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (spider web, conspiracy theories).
  • In 2013-2017, Israeli and Palestinian NGOs also received direct Swedish funding through the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (Secretariat), a joint mechanism for funding NGOs, created by the governments of Sweden, the NetherlandsDenmark, and Switzerland.1
  • Sida paid $66,490 in 2014-2016 for an evaluation, “Research to better promote human rights in Israel/Palestine.” The evaluation was written by Jessica Montell, a member of the Secretariat’s Reference Group and, at the time former executive director of a Sida-funded NGO (B’Tselem). The Swedish government failed to respond to NGO Monitor’s concerns about conflicts of interest in this evaluation.

Direct Funding

Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)

  • Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS)
    • In 2016-2020, Sida committed $5.3 million to PMRS.
    • PMRS rhetoric includes accusations of “ethnic cleansing,” “apartheid,” “collective punishment,” and “war crimes.”
    • PMRS is a signatory to a multiple BDS initiatives and has organized BDS conferences.
    • PMRS runs “Palestine Monitor,” an “independent news website” that has featured virulently antisemitic cartoons that trivialize the Holocaust; depict of a pile of emaciated dead bodies in striped uniforms under the caption “Gaza”; featuring Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stamping Palestinian babies with the word “terrorist,” as they are transported on a conveyer belt into a smoking oven; and of an elderly Palestinian woman with a blood-dripping “1948” tattooed on her arm, invoking the numbers that were tattooed on the arms of Jewish prisoners in concentration camps.
  • Islamic Relief Sweden
    • In 2017-2019, Islamic Relief Sweden received $2.7 million ($1.3 million in 2018) from Sida.
      • Islamic Relief Sweden also received $3 million in Sida funding indirectly through Forum Syd (see below).
    • Islamic Relief Sweden is part of Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) and was founded by The Islamic Association in Sweden.
    • On June 19, 2014, Israel’s Defense Minister declared IRW to be illegal, based on its alleged role in funneling money to Hamas, and banned it from operating in Israel and the West Bank. Hamas is a designated terror organization by Israel, the USEU, and Canada. According to media reports, the decision was made after “the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), the coordinator for government activities in the territories, and legal authorities provided incriminating information against IRW.”
    • In November 2014, the United Arab Emirates banned IRW as a terror organization.
    • In January 2016, HSBC Banking group in the UK severed ties with IRW over terror funding fears.
  • Health Work Committees
  • Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI)
    • From 2017-2019, the Swedish Mission Council (via SIDA) allocated $2.1 million for the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI).”
    • 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 inflammatory anti-Israel, and at times antisemetic, rhetoric and advocacy, including advocating for BDS campaigns in churches, comparing Israel to apartheid South Africa and Nazi Germany, and other delegitimization strategies.
    • Sweden sends about 20 participants on the EAPPI program annually. Upon returning to Sweden, many EAPPI activists use their experience in the West Bank to promote anti-Israel campaigns, including BDS.
  • Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP)
    • GCMHP received $3.7 million (2015-2019) from Sida.
    • GCMHP uses unsubstantiated medical claims as an avenue to criticize the Israeli government, including allegations that the Jewish state engages in “collective punishment,” “massacres,” and “war crimes.”
  • Diakonia
  • Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)
    • NRC received $656,096 (2018) from Sida for projects in the “Occupied Palestinian territory.”
    • One of NRC’s principal projects in Israel, “Information, counseling, and legal assistance (ICLA),” exploits judicial frameworks to manipulate Israeli policy, bypassing democratic frameworks.
      • In 2017, ICLA’s “beneficiary targets” included “3628 opened and continuing cases for legal assistance in the West Bank (West Bank 612 new and 3016 continuing),” as well as “40 advocacy briefings given on specific HLP [Housing, Land, and Property] and residency issues (verbal or written), 10 of instances information is submitted to other UN mechanisms, and 75 public interest cases challenging unjust HLP issues.
      • NRC also leads the “Legal Task Force,” a UN-OCHA organized mechanism, which coordinates legal responses by 14 Palestinian, Israeli, and international NGOs. An NRC funding appeal notes a close relationship with the PA, explaining that “Legal aid interventions will be coordinated with the PA thru the Legal Task Force” (emphasis added).
      • A lawyer affiliated with the NRC program stated that the objective of these cases are an attempt to “try every possible legal measure to disrupt the Israeli judicial system… as many cases as possible are registered and that as many cases as possible are appealed to increase the workload of the courts and the Supreme Court to such an extent that there will be a blockage” (emphasis added).
    • In April 2018, NRC contractor Yasser Murtaja was killed in the violence on the Gaza border. An NRC statement notes, “Yasser Murtaja…had agreed to document for NRC the bitter prolonged struggle faced by Palestinian refugees in Gaza. The work was planned to start the day after he was killed.” Israeli officials accused Murtaja of being a Hamas activist.
  • European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR)
    • ECFR received $368 222 in 2018-2019 from Sida.
    • ECFR has been one of the leading BDS advocates in Europe under the guise of a so-called “differentiation” policy. Under differentiation, ECFR lobbies the EU and European governments to adopt policies that promote silent boycott and divestment of any business activities supposedly related to Israeli “settlements built on occupied territory” on the false basis that such activities violate international law and the “domestic legal order.”
    • In December 2019, the Jerusalem Post published an article exposing that while ECFR accepts donations from donors who do business in the occupied territories of Western Sahara and Northern Cyprus, it pushes for the EU and European governments to adopt policies that promote silent boycott and divestment of any business activities supposedly related to Israeli “settlements built on occupied territory.” This reflects ECFR’s non-objective standards which single out Israel while ignoring comparable conflict situations.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

  • In 2018, the Swedish MFA granted NIS 164,172 to Terrestrial Jerusalem.
    • Promotes a one-sided approach to the conflict, placing sole blame for the failure of the peace process on Israel. The complexities of the situation in Jerusalem are erased, including illegal building and crime in Palestinian neighborhoods, damage to the Temple Mount as a result of illegal digging by the Waqf, and incitement to violence against Jews by extremist clerics.
  • In 2018, the MFA granted NIS 158,640 to the Geneva Initiative.

Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat

  • Sweden, together with the governments of SwitzerlandDenmark, and the Netherlands, jointly funded the Secretariat, with Sweden being the lead donor. For 2014-2017, this funding mechanism had a budget of approximately $19.4 million. The funds were managed by the Institute of Law at Birzeit University (IoL-BZU) in Ramallah and a Swedish consulting company, NIRAS.
  • Sida initially provided over $5 million to the Secretariat (2014-2016). In 2017, Sweden extended its funding through 2018, with an updated total commitment of over $9 million.
  • In correspondence with NGO Monitor, on April 2, 2018, the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs stated that in regards to the Secretariat, Sweden “finished its activities according to plan by the end of 2017… Sweden is now considering how to best support efforts to strengthen respect for human rights in the future.”
  • In 2016, Sida paid $34,678 for an internal review of the Secretariat. It is unknown who carried out this evaluation.
  • In 2015, Sida paid $57,950 for an external evaluation of the Secretariat: “Study of effectiveness of core funding to CSOs in the field of Human Rights and IHL in the oPt – Study of effectiveness of core funding to CSOs.” This evaluation was conducted by four individuals, one of whom appears to have worked for Diakonia (see below) and another who was a board member of the Israeli NGO Zochrot (see above).
  • The Secretariat funded highly politicized NGOs that are involved in the whitewashing of violence and terrorism, legal warfare (“lawfare”) against Israeli officials, BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns, advancing a “1948 agenda,” exploiting the false “apartheid” analogy to discredit Israel, and even promoting antisemitic propaganda. Some of these groups also have alleged ties to terrorist organizations. NGO Monitor has extensively documented numerous concerns relating to the Secretariat.

Indirect Funding

Direct Swedish Funding to NGOs Active in the Arab-Israeli Conflict

 2016201720182019
The Secretariat$2,219,108$2,339,455
NGO Development Center$1,226,349$1,228,214$1,208,230
Islamic Relief Worldwide: Sweden$1,147,107$1,168,675$1,370,340$231,473
Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP)$961,808$924,085$909,049
Palestinian Medical Relief Society$1,297,259$1,298,701$1,657,001$1,633,987
Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)$592,108$926,641$637,738$788,007
Diakonia (Frame)$553,569$520,567$554,044
Diakonia IHL$431,821$333,702
Swedish Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) via Swedish Council of Churches$-15,783$747,510$687,735$689,796
Kvinna Till Kvinna$1,466,317$220,644$289,975
Oxfam$1,635,132$3,322,026
Church of Sweden$167,320$184,122
The Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR)$350,385$468,000$460,278$460,278
Pingst formerly Swedish Pentecostal Movement (PMU)$265,062$28,080$17,260
Swedish Mission Council South$1,013,192$747,335$687,735$689,796
Forum SYD$292,053$144,190
We Effect- Swedish Cooperative Centre$760,607$112,085$331,400
Olof Palme$1,330,988
Save the Children$416,796
European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR)$116,795$117,000$115,070
$373,985
Health Work Committees$1,169,727$1,265,765$805,487

Footnotes

  1. Before 2013, the NGO Development Center (NDC) in Ramallah managed these pooled government finances through its Human Rights/Good Governance (HR/GG) program. See NGO Monitor’s reports on the previous counterproductive funding via the NDC here and here.
  2. Link removed. Original on file with NGO Monitor.

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