- 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 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.”
- In 2019, the Swiss government provided CHF 12 million in direct and indirect funding to NGOs active in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Some of these groups 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, 2020, the Swiss government published an evaluation of funding to Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza titled “Cooperation with non-governmental organizations in partner countries of international cooperation”:
- NGO Monitor’s review of this report shows that the evaluation fails to effectively and impartially analyze the distribution of Swiss funds. Instead, the evaluation relies on the self-reporting and opinions of Swiss government grantees.
- The evaluation does not address the core issue that inspired the mandated review, namely, funding to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) “involved in racist anti-Semitic or inflammatory activities.”
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. See table below for full funding information.
Swiss Funding to Palestinian NGOs
- In 2019, Addameer received CHF 139,347.
- 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. Several of Addameer’s current and former employees, as well as lawyers that work for Addameer, are linked to the terror group.
- 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.
- In 2019, Al-Dameer received CHF 62,342.
- Numerous Al-Dameer staff members and board members have ties to the PFLP. According to Palestinian sources, in recent years, Al-Dameer officials, employees and board members have taken part in public PFLP gatherings, including congratulating the terror group on the anniversary of its founding, and participating in a PFLP delegation in Gaza.
- Al-Dameer is highly active in promoting BDS campaigns, lobbying international bodies, and utilizing highly inflammatory rhetoric.
- In 2019, Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) received CHF 334,971.
- According to the Washington Report, PCHR Director Raji Sourani served a three-year prison sentence from 1979-1982 due to his role in the PFLP. He has participated in public PFLP events, including in 2017.
- PCHR is a leader in anti-Israel lawfare campaigns, ignores the existence of terrorism against Israeli civilians, and presents a distorted version of the conflict based only on the Palestinian narrative.
- In 2019, Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO) received CHF 159,625.
- PNGO is a Palestinian NGO umbrella organization comprising 135 Palestinian NGO member organizations, many of which support BDS campaigns and have ties to the PFLP terror group.
- In January 2020, PNGO vehemently opposed a new clause in European Union grant contracts with Palestinian NGOs that prohibits grantees from working with and funding organizations and individuals designated on the EU’s terror lists. According to media reports, PNGO claimed that Palestinian terrorist organizations are “political parties.”
- In October 2019, Waleed Hanatsheh – a member of PNGO’s board of directors and the Financial and Administrative director for Health Work Committees, an organization with ties to the PFLP – was arrested for participating in a terrorist attack in which a 17-year old was murdered. According to an Israeli media report, Hanatsheh bankrolled the bombing.
- In 2019, Culture and Free Thought Association (CFTA) received CHF 358,354.
- 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.”
- In 2019, Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center (JLAC) received CHF 156,804.
- 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…?”
- In 2019, Applied Research Institute Jerusalem (ARIJ) received CHF 24,005.
- ARIJ is among the leaders of the political warfare against Israel, seeking to further BDS (boycotts, divestment and sanctions), false accusations of Israeli “apartheid” and “racism,” and support for a Palestinian “right of return” that is inconsistent with a two-state vision.
- In April 2019, ARIJ released a “Daily Report” that included the classic antisemitic attack on the Talmud in its rhetoric used against Israel. The report claimed that “over 250 settlers, stormed an archaeological site in Al-Jib village…and performed Talmudic rituals” and accused Jews of performing “Talmudic rituals in celebration of Jewish holidays” and performing “Talmudic rituals in the town.” In a February 2017 report, ARIJ claimed that the “Talmudic rituals” were in “blatant provocation to local residents.”
- In 2019, Miftah received CHF 175,917
- Miftah regularly promotes “resistance” (a euphemism for terror attacks) and glorifies terrorists. Miftah also utilizes anti-Israel 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.
- In 2019, Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counseling (WCLAC) received CHF 341,114.
- 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.”
- Supports BDS initiatives through participation in activities and events, signing of petitions and initiatives, and membership in BDS platforms.
- In 2019, Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP) received CHF 658,065.
- 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.
Swiss Funding to Israeli NGOs
- In 2019, Adalah received CHF 194,922.
- Adalah rejects the legitimacy of the Jewish state, attempting to portray it as inherently racist and discriminatory, and regularly lobbies the Israeli Supreme Court and international bodies to adopt its agenda. Adalah also partners with anti-Israel BDS groups.
- Supports a “transformation [of Israel] in to a transnational regime in all historical Palestine,” i.e. a one-state formula. (translation by NGO Monitor)
- Signed a May 2018 letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, calling for sanctions against Israel due to the violent riots along the Gaza-Israel border.
- In 2019, Bimkom received CHF 22,226.
- In 2019, Breaking the Silence received CHF 201,400.
- 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.
- In 2019, B’Tselem received CHF 75,367.
- B’Tselem actively pursues its political agenda of “international consequences” and international pressure on Israel via lobbying of the UN and European governments.
- Accuses Israel of “apartheid,” perpetrating “war crimes,” “beating and abus[ing]” Palestinians, “demolition of [Palestinian] houses as punishment,” and forced “deportations.”
- In 2019, Emek Shaveh received CHF 69,000.
- 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.
- In 2019, Gisha received CHF 74,000.
- In 2019, Hamoked received CHF 340,156.
- In 2019, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel received CHF 206,371.
- 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.
- In 2019, Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality (NCF) received CHF 64,382.
- Active in delegitimizing Israel internationally, and one of the most active NGOs in lobbying European governments to oppose Israel’s Bedouin-Negev policies.
- I’lam received CHF 24,007 in 2017-2019.
- I’lam uses highly politicized language to demonize Israel, promotes boycott campaigns, and engages in political advocacy against Israel.
- Ir Amim received CHF 90,000 in 2017-2019.
- 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.
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). In December 2017, the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat ceased support and funding for NGOs.
- 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 22,771 in 2019 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 2017-2020, Diakonia’s “International Humanitarian Law” (IHL) Resource Center received CHF 1.7 million from the SDC/EDA.
- The IHL Resource Center published “An Easy Guide to International Humanitarian Law,” which focuses exclusively on Israeli policies and distorts international law and misuses terms “collective punishment,” and “proportionality.”
- Diakonia does not conduct similar types of programs in terms of content or resources in 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.”
2017-2019 Funding to NGOs active in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza
|Addameer||CHF 139,347||CHF 118,280||CHF 28,063|
|Adalah||CHF 194,922||$158,160||CHF 116,036|
|Akevot||CHF 73,924||CHF 77,055||CHF 60,000|
|Al Dameer||CHF 62,342||CHF 62,998||CHF 14,879|
|Al Shabaka||CHF 55,787||CHF 47,000|
|Applied Research Institute Jerusalem (ARIJ)||CHF 24,005||CHF 80,309|
|Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA)||CHF 22,771||CHF 203,580||CHF 230,000|
|Bimkom||CHF 22,226||$49,000||CHF 99,194|
|Breaking the Silence||CHF 201,400||$80,000||CHF 106,671|
|B’Tselem||CHF 75,367||CHF 35,000||CHF 66,601|
|Combatants for Peace||CHF 8,234|
|Culture and Free Thought Association||CHF 358,354||CHF 229,387||CHF 512,126|
|Diakonia||CHF 496,928||CHF 320,877||CHF 261,479|
|Emek Shaveh||CHF 69,000||CHF 70,000||CHF 72,000|
|Gaza Community Mental Health Programme||CHF 658,065||CHF 418,165||CHF 513,762|
|Gisha||CHF 74,000||CHF 40,000||CHF 54,407|
|Hamoked||CHF 340,156||CHF 276,780||CHF 69,498|
|Arab Association for Human Rights (HRA)||CHF 7,000||CHF 28,000|
|Human Rights Defenders Fund||CHF 56,000||CHF 67,600||CHF 69,635|
|I’lam||CHF 57, 179|
|Ir Amim||CHF 30,000|
|Islamic Relief||CHF 303,963||CHF 232,248||CHF 25,255|
|Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center (JLAC)||CHF 156,804||CHF 141,936||CHF 33,192|
|MIFTAH||CHF 175,917||CHF 141,936||CHF 35,597|
|Negev Coexistence Forum||CHF 64,382||CHF 69,955||CHF 79,887|
|Norwegian Refugee Council||CHF 525,751|
|Oxfam GB||CHF 570,000||CHF 1,243,979|
|PalThink||CHF 100,000||CHF 85,000||CHF 49,070|
|Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR)||CHF 334,971||CHF 272,575||CHF 66,601|
|Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO)||CHF 159,625||CHF 113,223||CHF 19,998|
|Physicians for Human Rights –Israel (PHR-I)||CHF 206,371||CHF 196,528||CHF 66,324|
|Terrestrial Jerusalem||CHF 26,117||CHF 60,000|
|Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counseling (WCLAC)||CHF 341,114||CHF 274,607||CHF 54,576|
- 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