Switzerland

Profile

Country/TerritorySwitzerland

Activity

  • 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, NetherlandsDenmark, 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 USEUCanada, 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.”

Direct Funding

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

DEZA Funding to Israeli NGOs

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.”

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.

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

Indirect Funding

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

Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)

  • 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 HaMokedJLACSociety of St. YvesTerrestrial JerusalemYesh DinBimkomPalestinian Centre for Democracy and Conflict Resolution (PCDCR), Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), Al Mezan, among others.

Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA)

Diakonia

  • 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 CenterB’TselemGishaKerem NavotPhysicians 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

swisspeace

  • In 2018, swisspeace received CHF 109,372 from AMS, of which CHF 85,000 was for a joint project with Birzeit University and PalThink.
  • 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

NGOFunding MechanismAmountYear
AddameerDEZACHF 118,280 2018
AdalahDEZA$158,1602018
AMSCHF 18,965 2018
CHF 92,030 2017
CHF 70,0002016*
Akevot AMS CHF 77,0552018
CHF 60,0002017
CHF 45,503 2016*
Al DameerDEZACHF 62,9982018
Al ShabakaAMSCHF 47,0002016**
Applied Research Institute Jerusalem (ARIJ)DEZACHF 80,3092017
CHF 292,0502016**
Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA)DEZACHF 203,5802018
CHF 230,0002017
CHF 240,0002016
Bimkom AMS$49,0002018
CHF 72,0002017
CHF 40,0002016*
Breaking the SilenceAMS$80,0002018
CHF 76,0002017
CHF 40,0002016*
B’TselemEmbassy Tel AvivCHF 35,0002018
CHF 10,0002016*
CARE InternationalDEZACHF 684,8122016
Combatants for PeaceEmbassy Tel AvivCHF 8,2342018
Culture and Free Thought AssociationDEZACHF 229,3872018
CHF 512,1262017
CHF 143,4512016
Diakonia DEZACHF 320,8772018
CHF 261,4792017
CHF 531,9002016
Emek Shaveh AMS CHF 70,0002018
CHF 72,0002017
CHF 51,6002016*
Gaza Community Mental Health ProgrammeDEZACHF 418,1652018
CHF 513,7622017
CHF 741,3562016
Gisha AMSCHF 40,0002018
CHF 15,0002017
CHF 60,0002016*
HaMokedDEZACHF 276,7802018
CHF 47,3042016*
Arab Association for Human Rights (HRA)AMSCHF 7,0002018
CHF 28,0002017
Human Rights Defenders FundAMSCHF 67,6002018
CHF 69,6352017
CHF 62,6042016*
Embassy Tel AvivCHF 7,0002016*
I’lamAMSCHF 57, 1792018
Ir AmimAMSCHF 30,0002018
Islamic ReliefDEZACHF 232,2482018
CHF 25,2552017
CHF 180,0002016
Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center (JLAC)DEZACHF 141,9362018
Masarat AMSCHF 47,1582017
MIFTAHDEZACHF 141,9362018
MoladAMS150002018
CHF 60,0002017
CHF 60,3002016*
Negev Coexistence ForumAMSCHF 69,9552018
CHF 79,8872017
CHF 64,5762016*
Norwegian Refugee CouncilDEZACHF 525,7512017
CHF 279,0002016
Oxfam GBDEZACHF 1,243,9792017
CHF 980,0002016
PalThinkAMSCHF 85,0002018
CHF 49,0702017
CHF 70,0002016**
Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR)DEZACHF 272,5752018
Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO)DEZACHF 113,2232018
CHF 19,9982017
Physicians for Human Rights –Israel (PHR-I)DEZACHF 196,5282018
Swisspeace AMSCHF 24,3722018
Swisspeace/PalThink/ Birzeit UniversityAMSCHF 85,0002018
Terrestrial Jerusalem DEZACHF 26,1172018
CHF 60,0002017
Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counseling (WCLAC)DEZACHF 274,6072018

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.)

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