- The Swiss government funds numerous Israeli and Palestinian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) through the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA/EDA), Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC/DEZA), and representative offices in Tel Aviv and Ramallah. Switzerland indirectly funds NGOs through multiple UN frameworks and aid organizations such as the Norwegian Refugee Council, Diakonia, and the Swiss church group HEKS.
- In 2013-2017, Israeli and Palestinian NGOs also received direct Swiss funding through the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (Secretariat), a joint mechanism for funding NGOs, created by the governments of Switzerland, Netherlands, Denmark, and Sweden.1
- In 2017-2018, the Swiss government provided over CHF 12 million in direct and indirect funding to NGOs active in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Many of these NGOs do not further Swiss interests and foreign policy in the region, such as promoting peace and a two-state framework.
- Organizations receiving Swiss funding lead campaigns and political activities that are inconsistent with Switzerland’s policies to promote peace and a two-state framework in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Some of these groups also promote antisemitic rhetoric and have alleged ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) – a designated terrorist organization by the US, EU, Canada, and Israel.
- In June 2017, the Swiss Parliament adopted a resolution to “amend the laws, ordinances and regulations so that Switzerland can no longer subsidize, even indirectly, development cooperation projects carried out by NGOs involved in racism or incitement.”
- In January 2017, the Swiss government denied requests from a concerned Swiss citizen and NGO Monitor to provide public information about Swiss funding to NGOs in Israel and “occupied Palestinian territory.” The government’s response claimed that “access to official documents is likely to affect the interests of Switzerland in matters of foreign policy and international relations.”
The Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA/EDA) funds multiple Israeli and Palestinian NGOs directly through the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC/DEZA), Department of Human Security, Abteilung Menschliche Sicherheit (AMS), the Swiss Embassy in Tel-Aviv, and the Swiss Representative Office in Ramallah.
Agency for Development and Cooperation (DEZA)
DEZA Funding to Palestinian NGOs
- Addameer received CHF 118,280 in 2018.
- Addameer is an “affiliate” of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a terrorist organization designated as such by the US, EU, Canada, and Israel, and a number of Addameer staff members have alleged connections to the terror group. Addameer’s chairperson and co-founder, Abdul-latif Ghaith, was banned by Israel from travelling internationally due to his alleged membership in the PFLP. He was also banned from entering the West Bank between 2011 and 2015.
- Addameer is a leader of campaigns in support of Palestinians prisoners convicted of security offenses, referring to them as “political prisoners” and altogether omitting the context of violence and terror.
- Al-Dameer received CHF 62,998 in 2018.
- Younis Aljaro, Chairman of the Board of Directors for Al-Dameer, was a leader in the PFLP. According to Ma’an News Agency, Aljaro resigned from the PFLP leadership in 2013.
- Al-Dameer is highly active in promoting BDS campaigns, lobbying international bodies, and utilizing highly inflammatory rhetoric.
- Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) received CHF 272,575 in 2018
- 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.
- In February 2014, the PFLP organized a ceremony in Gaza honoring PCHR director Raji Sourani for winning the “Alternative Noble (sic) Prize.”
- 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.
- Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO) received CHF 113,223 in 2018.
- PNGO is a Palestinian NGO umbrella organization comprising 67 Palestinian NGO member organizations, many of which support BDS campaigns and have ties to the PFLP terror group.
- In June 2017, PNGO condemned Norway for pulling funding from the Women’s Affairs Technical Committee (WATC) due to the latter’s naming of a youth center after Dalal Mughrabi, a terrorist who in 1978 murdered 37 civilians, including 12 children. PNGO referred to Mughrabi as a “Palestinian Woman Freedom Fighter,” stating that “PNGO believes this is another form of foreign domination and oppression calling Palestinian resistance a terrorist resistance against Israeli occupation…PNGO stands strong against conditional funding, especially when it threatens Palestinian right to resist foreign domination, exploitation, oppression and occupation” and that “there is a difference between freedom fighters and terrorists” (emphases added).
- Culture and Free Thought Association (CFTA) received CHF 229,387 in 2018
- Culture and Free Thought Association (CFTA) is signatory to the March 2016 “Palestinian Women’s Call for Worldwide Women’s Endorsement of BDS.” CFTA’s Director Mariam Zakoot signed a 2016 statement from Palestinian feminists supporting BDS and “deplor(ing) the colonial attitude inherent in some Israeli feminists’ request of us to sign a statement in favor of liberal ideals, ‘dialogue’ and ‘co-existence,’ and against the effective solidarity with the struggle for rights.”
- Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center (JLAC) received CHF 118,280 in 2018.
- JLAC is highly active in promoting BDS campaigns, lobbying international bodies, and utilizing highly inflammatory rhetoric.
- In 2010, JLAC published the first edition of its book We Have Names, We Have a Homeland, which alleges that “brutality and sadism is the true face of Zionism and the State of occupation” and accuses Israel of “savage,” “abhorrent,” and “fascist” practices. The book continues to ask, “Has the history of humanity ever known such brutality as practiced at the hands of Israel…?”
- Miftah received CHF 141,936 in 2018.
- The organization describes terror groups as “resistance fighters” and utilizes demonizing rhetoric such as accusing Israel of perpetrating “massacres,” “cultural genocide,” “war crimes,” and “apartheid.”
- In March 2013, Miftah published an article written by Nawaf al-Zaru that repeated the antisemitic blood libel that Jews use Christian blood to bake Passover matzah.
- Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counseling (WCLAC) received CHF 274,607 in 2018.
- Accuses Israel of “collective punishment,” “human rights violations,” “women’s rights violations,” and seeking “to “suppress resistance” by “targeting civil society in order to obtain land and continue to undermine the economic stability, the growth and the development of Palestinian society.”
- Manal Tamimi, a former field worker of WCLAC, frequently utilizes antisemitic and violent rhetoric and imagery on social media. In September 2015, Tamimi tweeted, “Vampire zionist celebrating their Kebore day by drinking Palestinian bloods, yes our blood is pure & delicious but it will kill u at the end.” In August 2015, Tamimi tweeted, “I do hate Israel ,i (sic) wish a thrid Intefada (sic) coming soon and people rais (sic) up and kill all these zionist settlers everywhere.” On December 8, 2016 she similarly tweeted that “we will keep resisting until the last Zionist either got killed or leave Palestine.”
- Supports BDS initiatives through participation in activities and events, signing of petitions and initiatives, and membership in BDS platforms.
- Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP) received CHF 418,165 in 2018 and CHF 1.4 million (2015-2017).
- GCMHP uses unsubstantiated medical claims as an avenue to criticize the Israeli government, including allegations that Israel engages in “systematic state organized violence,” “collective punishment” “massacres,” “war crimes,” and a system of “apartheid” against Palestinians.
DEZA Funding to Israeli NGOs
- Adalah received CHF 158,160 in 2018.
- Adalah publishes an online “Discriminatory Laws Database” This deceptive list does not distinguish between laws and rejected legislative proposals and refers to Zionism pejoratively. Furthermore, laws regarding the historic Jewish connection to Israel are labeled as discriminatory, including the use of symbols and the Hebrew calendar.
- Supports a “transformation [of Israel] in to a transnational regime in all historical Palestine,” i.e. a one-state formula. (translation by NGO Monitor)
- Adalah regularly presents Israel as a racist and undemocratic state and partners with anti-Israel BDS groups.
- Hamoked received CHF 276,780 in 2018.
- Physicians for Human Rights-Israel received CHF 169,528 in 2018.
- Under the guise of medical expertise and scientific fact, PHR-I promotes distorted and false narratives, aimed at demonizing and delegitimizing Israel in the international arena.
Department of Human Security (AMS)
- In 2018, the FDFA disclosed a list of NGOs supported by the Swiss government in “Israel and the Occupied Territories.”
- The FDFA redacted details and names of three NGO recipients of AMS funding claiming that their disclosure “could endanger Switzerland’s foreign policy interests.”
AMS Funding to Israeli NGOs
- Adalah received $18,965 in 2018.
- Breaking the Silence received $80,000 in 2018.
- Breaking the Silence makes sweeping accusations based on anecdotal, anonymous, and unverifiable accounts of often low-ranked soldiers. These “testimonies” lack context, are politically biased, and erase the complicated reality in the West Bank. In addition, they reflect a distorted interpretation of the conflict in order to advance the political agenda of Breaking the Silence activists, thereby fueling the international campaigns against Israel.
- In June 2015, the cultural center in Zurich hosted an event featuring a Breaking the Silence photo exhibition, as well as “testimonies.” The event was sponsored by the Swiss Foreign Ministry, the Municipality of Zurich, and several church groups that are active in delegitimization campaigns against Israel.
- B’Tselem received CHF 35,000 in 2018.
- Bimkom received $49,000 in 2018.
- Gisha received CHF 40,000 in 2018.
- Emek Shaveh received CHF 70,000 in 2018.
- While Emek Shaveh claims that it “oppose[s] attempts to use archaeological finds to legitimize acts that harm disadvantaged communities,” it promotes distorted facts and unsubstantiated positions that promote the Palestinian narrative of victimization and sole Israeli aggression.
- I’lam received CHF 57,179 in 2018.
- I’lam uses highly politicized language to demonize Israel, promotes boycott campaigns, and engages in political advocacy against Israel.
- Ir Amim received CHF 30,000 in 2018.
- Although Ir Amim has been described as “work[ing] toward coexistence in Jerusalem,” an Ir Amim official was quoted as saying that the group was “seeking to advance a political agenda, and was not an organization geared to promote coexistence.”
- Ir Amim frequently accuses Israel of attempting to “Judaize” Jerusalem and promotes the Palestinian narrative on the city, including claims that “government powers are being handed over to the settler organizations” and archeological digs have become an important “tool in the fight for control” over Jerusalem.
- Terrestrial Jerusalem received CHF 26,117 in 2018.
- 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.
- Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality (NCF) received CHF 69,955 in 2018.
- Active in delegitimizing Israel internationally, and one of the most active NGOs in lobbying European governments to oppose Israel’s Bedouin-Negev policies.
- Submits appeals to the United Nations calling for “world intervention to aid the Bedouin community” and identifying Israel as a “discriminate country” that denies many rights by “forced politicization” and “policy of displacement.”
- Molad received USD 15,000 in 2018.
- Molad is a highly partisan and openly political NGO that promotes a narrow, intolerant agenda, without providing diverse views or showing respect for other political opinions.
- Arab Association for Human Rights (HRA) received CHF 7,000 in 2018.
- HRA rhetoric includes accusing Israel of “apartheid,” “ethnic cleansing,” “collective punishment,” and “war crimes,” as well as supporting a Palestinian “right of return.”
- In 2018, HRA lobbied in support of the discriminatory UN database of businesses supposedly operating across the 1949 Armistice line, aimed at bolstering BDS campaigns against Israel. HRA has published numerous statements and letters to the UN calling “complete its review of all companies named as a matter of urgency.” According to HRA, the database “would give a glimmer of hope to the Palestinian people enduring half a century long military occupation, and stand as a reminder that the international community is committed to putting an end to the illegal settlement enterprise that is stifling their economy, depleting their natural resources, and undermining their human rights.”
Embassy in Tel Aviv
- In 2018, Combatants for Peace received CHF 832,440.
- While claiming to “allow each side to understand the other’s narrative,” Combatants for Peace activities reflect a strong affiliation with the Palestinian agenda and narrative, placing most of the blame for the conflict on “the occupation.”
Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat
- Switzerland, together with the governments of Sweden, Denmark, and the Netherlands, jointly funded the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (Secretariat).
- Switzerland designated CHF 4.75 million to the Secretariat (2013-2017).
- The funds were managed by the Institute of Law at Birzeit University (IoL-BZU) in Ramallah and the NIRAS consulting firm. (Read NGO Monitor’s report “Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat: Abusing Public Funds to Perpetuate Conflict.”)
- The Secretariat funded highly politicized NGOs that promote BDS campaigns and engage in legal warfare against Israeli officials and companies that do business with Israel. Some of these NGOs have close ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a terrorist organization designated as such by the U.S., EU, Canada and Israel; promote blatant antisemitism; distort facts; advance a “1948 agenda”; exploit the false “apartheid” analogy; and undermine peace and contribute to radicalization.
- NGOs that received Secretariat core funding include Addameer, Al-Haq, Al Mezan, B’Tselem, BADIL, Breaking the Silence, Defense for Children International – Palestine, Palestinian Center for Human Rights, and Yesh Din.
Switzerland also provides indirect funding to NGOs through UN frameworks; the Swiss church group HEKS; and international aid organizations such as the Norwegian Refugee Council, Diakonia, Association of International Development Agencies, and Islamic Relief Worldwide.
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in the occupied Palestinian territory
- In 2018-2020, SDC budgeted CHF 2.1 million to OHCHR for projects in Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank.
- The funding is “Non-earmarked contribution” and indirectly funding multiple NGOs including Diakonia IHL resource centre (see below), the Independent Commission of Human rights (ICHR), and other “Israeli and Palestinian NGOs supported by Switzerland.”
- HEKS (Hilfswerk der Evangelischen Kirchen Schweiz) is the aid organization of the Protestant Churches of Switzerland.
- In 2018, HEKS had a total annual income of CHF 66.2 million, and expenditure of CHF 75.0 million.
- HEKS has funded Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI), Zochrot, Coalition of Women for Peace, Emek Shaveh, and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I).
- NRC received CHF 804,751 from EDA (2015-2017) and an unknown amount via a Swiss-funded UN-Habitat project 2015-2019.
- Norwegian Refugee Council engages in lawfare and international delegitimization campaigns against Israel.
- One of NRC’s principle projects in Israel, “Information, counseling, and legal assistance (ICLA),” exploits judicial frameworks to manipulate Israeli policy, bypassing democratic frameworks.
- ICLA’s interventions in Israeli courts and other venues “beneficiary targets” include: “3628 opened and continuing cases for legal assistance in the West Bank (West Bank 612 new and 3016 continuing), 40 advocacy briefings given on specific HLP 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.”
- A lawyer affiliated with the NRC program stated that the objective of these cases is 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)
- NRC works with a narrow selection of political NGOs that promote a one-sided narrative of the conflict in implementing its legal aid and “public interest litigation” related programs. NRC partners with HaMoked, JLAC, Society of St. Yves, Terrestrial Jerusalem, Yesh Din, Bimkom, Palestinian Centre for Democracy and Conflict Resolution (PCDCR), Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), Al Mezan, among others.
- Received CHF 203,580 in 2018 from DEZA.
- Accuses Israel of “violations of international law,” “collective punishment,” “forcible population transfers,” and using “coercive tactics to heighten the pressure on Palestinian Bedouin communities.”
- Many of AIDA’s members are active in BDS and lawfare campaigns, and utilize the Durban strategy to demonize and isolate Israel in the international arena.
- In 2017-2019, Diakonia’s International Humanitarian Law Resource Center (IHLRC) received CHF 1.7 million from the SDC/EDA.
- Diakonia’s “International Humanitarian Law” (IHL) program, which has its own online “Resource Center,” exploits international law, demonizes Israel, and promotes anti-Israel lawfare campaigns and a narrative based solely on Palestinian victimization. The IHL program focuses exclusively on Israel, and Diakonia does not conduct similar types of programs in terms of content or resources involving any other conflict region in the world.
- Diakonia has provided funding to a number of highly biased and politicized NGOs active in the Arab-Israeli conflict including the Alternative Information Center, B’Tselem, Gisha, Kerem Navot, Physicians for Human Rights – Israel, and Who Profits.
- Diakonia supports settlement boycotts and accuses Israel of “collective punishment,” “war crimes,” and “violations of international humanitarian law (IHL),” ignoring Hamas terror attacks against Israeli civilians and Israel’s legitimate right to self-defense.
Medico International Switzerland
- In 2018, Medico International Switzerland’s total budget was CHF 960,000.
- Medico International Switzerland is funded by a variety of private sources, as well as public municipalities and cantons.
- According to Medico International Switzerland, the organization runs four projects in “Palestine/Israel.”
- Total budget in 2018 for projects in “Palestine/Israel” was CHF 134,690.
- Medico International Switzerland funds the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP) and the Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS).
- In 2018, swisspeace received CHF 109,372 from AMS, of which CHF 85,000 was for a joint project with Birzeit University and PalThink.
- A 2015 newsletter from a Swiss NGO swisspeace mentions the “joint effort between the political directorate of the FDFA, swisspeace, the SDC and in partnership with the UN” towards Hamas-Fatah reconciliation.
- Swisspeace posted and then deleted a report that “swisspeace together with PalThink for Strategic Studies and the Birzeit University has facilitated meetings between Palestinian civil society.”
2016-2018 Funding to NGOs active in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza
|Al Dameer||DEZA||CHF 62,998||2018|
|Al Shabaka||AMS||CHF 47,000||2016**|
|Applied Research Institute Jerusalem (ARIJ)||DEZA||CHF 80,309||2017|
|Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA)||DEZA||CHF 203,580||2018|
|Breaking the Silence||AMS||$80,000||2018|
|B’Tselem||Embassy Tel Aviv||CHF 35,000||2018|
|CARE International||DEZA||CHF 684,812||2016|
|Combatants for Peace||Embassy Tel Aviv||CHF 8,234||2018|
|Culture and Free Thought Association||DEZA||CHF 229,387||2018|
|Emek Shaveh||AMS||CHF 70,000||2018|
|Gaza Community Mental Health Programme||DEZA||CHF 418,165||2018|
|Arab Association for Human Rights (HRA)||AMS||CHF 7,000||2018|
|Human Rights Defenders Fund||AMS||CHF 67,600||2018|
|Embassy Tel Aviv||CHF 7,000||2016*|
|I’lam||AMS||CHF 57, 179||2018|
|Ir Amim||AMS||CHF 30,000||2018|
|Islamic Relief||DEZA||CHF 232,248||2018|
|Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center (JLAC)||DEZA||CHF 141,936||2018|
|Negev Coexistence Forum||AMS||CHF 69,955||2018|
|Norwegian Refugee Council||DEZA||CHF 525,751||2017|
|Oxfam GB||DEZA||CHF 1,243,979||2017|
|Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR)||DEZA||CHF 272,575||2018|
|Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO)||DEZA||CHF 113,223||2018|
|Physicians for Human Rights –Israel (PHR-I)||DEZA||CHF 196,528||2018|
|Swisspeace/PalThink/ Birzeit University||AMS||CHF 85,000||2018|
|Terrestrial Jerusalem||DEZA||CHF 26,117||2018|
|Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counseling (WCLAC)||DEZA||CHF 274,607||2018|
- Swiss Legislature Passes Bill to Stop Funding for Boycotts of Israel Benjamin Weinthal, The Jerusalem Post, March 9, 2017
- Swiss Parliament Launches Inquiry into Anti-Israel NGOs Benjamin Weinthal, The Jerusalem Post
- Kidnapped Israeli Teens Compel Scrutiny of Hamas's International Finances Matthew Levitt, The New Republic, June 24, 2014