Over the course of 2018, the US Administration cut all funding to Palestinian NGOs operating in the West Bank and Gaza, as well as to UNRWA.
Previously, NGO Monitor had identified varying levels of transparency across different US funding platforms. Additionally, NGO Monitor analyses revealed instances of US funding to Palestinian organizations that promote BDS (boycotts, divestment and sanctions), delegitimize Israel, and glorify violence.
The majority of US funds were not distributed to organizations that engaged in these activities or that employed such rhetoric.
- U.S. government funds for NGOs are channeled through several frameworks, including the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), The Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), and United States Institute of Peace (USIP).
- U.S. funding continues to go to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) active in anti-Israel and BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns that directly contradict U.S. government support for peace efforts and strong anti-BDS policy.
- There are also significant discrepancies between the stated objectives of grantees and their actual activities. In a number of instances, it appears that grants have been awarded without sufficient due diligence, including independent evaluation of all aspects of grantees.
- For more detailed information on U.S. funding, see NGO Monitor’s report: “Transparency and Due Diligence in U.S. Government Funding for Israeli and Palestinian NGOs: 2016 Update.” This report updates NGO Monitor’s previous analyses (2013, 2014) of U.S. government funding for NGOs operating in Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA).
- Created in 1961 and based in Washington DC, USAID is “the principal U.S. agency to extend assistance to countries recovering from disaster, trying to escape poverty, and engaging in democratic reforms.”
- USAID, the United States’ largest provider of foreign assistance, contributes grants to political advocacy NGOs in Israel through its Office of Conflict Management and Mitigation, which “supports several initiatives to foster peace at the grassroots level through programs that develop mutual understanding and build ties between Israeli and Palestinian youth leaders, religious scholars, environmental scientists, educators and community activists.”
- USAID remains the most transparent, comprehensible U.S. government funding mechanism, as seen on its website fact sheet, which is regularly updated.
- While the majority of USAID grantees appear to be non-political, many support anti-Israel, pro-BDS campaigns. These grantees include: Palestinian Center for Democracy and Conflict Resolution (PCDCR), Women Media and Development (TAM), and Friends United Meeting (FUM). Additionally, USAID also funds the Parents Circle Family Forum, seen as controversial in Israel due to its political agenda. (See table below for further funding information.)
- Palestinian Center for Democracy and Conflict Resolution (PCDCR):
- Awarded $600,000 in 2015 to “Improve protection of the rights of children in the West Bank.”
- PCDCR signed a 2014 statement calling for “a ‘legal intifada,’ an intensified popular struggle and more boycotts, divestments and sanctions.” It also refers to Israel’s security barrier as the “final brick in Israel’s apartheid project.”
- Women Media and Development (TAM):
- Awarded $600,000 in 2015 for “CSO Transition Awards.”
- Signed the 2016 “Palestinian Women’s Call for Worldwide Women’s Endorsement of BDS,” accusing Israel of “ethnic cleansing.”
- Friends United Meeting (FUM):
- Awarded $1,800,000 between 2014-2018 for “Foreign Assistance to American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (ASHA)” and $700,000 in 2015 for “Development Assistance.”
- FUM also participated in a yearly meeting for the “Meetings that Support Economic Action, BDS,” organized by the Quaker Actions for Peace. FUM serves on the steering committee for Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), an organization that calls for BDS.
- Parents Circle Family Forum (PCFF):
- Awarded $990,308 in 2014 for the “Narratives for Change” project.
- While PCFF advocates for “reconciliation,” “dialogue,” and “knowledge of the other,” it exploits the grief of families and the language of peace to promote a highly divisive, contentious, and narrow personal agenda.
- Between 2012-2019, USAID granted a total of $3,697,398 to organizations that engage in BDS activity, lawfare, deny Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, and publish antisemitic rhetoric.
USAID beneficiaries involved in anti-Israel activity:
National Endowment for Democracy (NED)
- According to its website, National Endowment for Democracy (NED) provides more than 1,200 grants to support NGOs that are “dedicated to the cultural values, institutions, and organizations of democratic pluralism.”
- According to its website, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is funded “largely by the U.S. Congress” and is “subject to multiple layers of oversight by Congress, the Department of State, and independent financial audit.”
- Between 2007 and 2012, NED provided $178,740 to MIFTAH, according to the NGO’s financial reports and documents provided to NGO Monitor by NED (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012). MIFTAH’s publications accuse Israel of “massacre,” “cultural genocide,” “war crimes,” and “apartheid.”
- In 2015 (latest available), NED continued to fund political advocacy NGOs that promote BDS campaigns targeting Israel. NED-funded groups that support BDS include: Palestinian Vision, General Union of Cultural Centers, Aldameer Association for Human Rights, and Al Maqdese for Society Development. (See table below for further funding information.)
- Palestinian Vision:
- Awarded $330,000 in 2014 for “to design and implement advocacy campaigns on connecting citizens with their elected representatives in Bethlehem, Jenin, and Qabetiya.”
- In 2014, Palestinian Vision organized an event that discussed “the boycott of the [sic] Israeli products” and “the role youth have to play in the boycott.”
- General Union of Cultural Centers (GUCC):
- Awarded $38,000 in 2015 and $37,900 in 2014 to “To promote and integrate societal reconciliation and tolerance, as part of ongoing Palestinian reform efforts.”
- In 2010, GUCC sponsored an exhibition included works commemorating “the occasion of first [sic] anniversary of the war [sic] the Nazi Israeli occupation of the Gaza Strip” (emphasis added).
- Aldameer Association for Human Rights:
- Awarded $36,000 in 2015 and $35,800 in 2014 to promote human rights in the Gaza Strip.
- In a November 2013 press release, Aldameer accused Israel of “systematic policies against the civilian population” and “human rights violations perpetrated by Israeli occupation forces… as a form of collective punishment.”
- Al Maqdese for Society Development:
- Awarded $35,000 in 2015 and $34,000 in 2014 to “raise legal awareness of workers’ rights.”
- Accuses Israel of “racist,” “ruthless, unforgiving and above all illegal policies” in Jerusalem and “crimes so heinous they make a mockery of international law and Israeli legitimacy.”
- Between 2014-2015, NED granted a total of $893,400 to organizations that engage in BDS activity, lawfare, deny Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, and publish antisemitic rhetoric.
NED beneficiaries involved in anti-Israel activity:
|The Human Rights and Democracy Media Center (SHAMS)||$30,700||2015
|The Arab World Democracy and Electoral Monitor (Al Marsad)||$39,900||2015
|The General Union of Cultural Centers-Gaza (GUCC)||$38,000||2015
|Palestinian Center for Democracy and Conflict Resolution (PCDCR)||$48,000||2015
|Al Maqdese for Society Development||$35,000||2015
|Aldameer Association for Human Rights||$36,000||2015
|Al Maqdese for Society Development||$34,000||2014
|Aldameer Association for Human Rights||$35,800||2014
|The Human Rights Democracy Media Center (SHAMS)||$30,000||2014
|Palestinian Center for Democracy and Conflict Resolution (PCDCR)||$48,200||2014
|Ramallah Center for Human Rights Studies||$35,000||2014
|The Arab World Democracy and Electoral Monitor (Al Marsad)||$38,900||2014
|The General Union of Cultural Centers-Gaza (GUCC)||$37,900||2014
Middle East Partnership Initiative
- The Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) is a division of the Department of State’s Near Eastern Affairs Bureau, with offices in the Middle East and North Africa MENA region. Local projects in Israel and the West Bank/Gaza are administered by the Consulate in Jerusalem and Embassy in Tel Aviv.
- MEPI receives its funding from the Economic Support Funds (ESF) in annual Foreign Operations Appropriations legislation.
- MEPI’s website is not transparent and provides incomplete information.
- Several of MEPI-funded programs were listed on the U.S. Embassy to Israel’s “Recent MEPI Projects in Israel” page, but this page has since been removed from the website.
- The list of grants previously listed is incomplete, and information such as the year and amount is missing. Not all of the projects listed are current. Therefore, it is difficult to determine what current NGOs and projects receive funding through this framework.
- MEPI has awarded grants to NGOs that support BDS against Israel. Statements from some MEPI grantees have also propagated antisemitism, demonization of Israel, and the merits of terrorism as “resistance.” Some grantees include East Jerusalem YMCA, Arab World Democracy and Electoral Monitor (Al Marsad), and Ma’an Network. (See table below for further funding information.)
- East Jerusalem YMCA:
- Awarded $53,265 in 2012 to “develop leadership, teamwork, and communication skills for Palestinian youth.”
- EJ-YMCA features it’s “Joint Advocacy Initiative” (JAI) with Palestine YWCA, which “networks with local advocacy organizations, runs the Olive Tree Campaign, promotes the Kairos Palestine document and the Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions (BDS) Campaign.”
- Arab World Democracy and Electoral Monitor (Al Marsad):
- Awarded $500,000 in 2015 for the “Youth Civic Engagement” project.
- Al-Marsad is a signatory of the “Love in the Time of Apartheid” campaign. Members agree to “rejecting and resisting the Israeli occupation and its violations of international law.”
- Ma’an Network:
- Awarded $71,970 in 2012 for the project, “Combating Gender Based Violence in the Palestinian Territories.”
- Published the article titled, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” on February 11, 2014 which contends that “[the Jews] plans to subjugate the people and control the world.”
- Between 2012-2014, MEPI granted a total of $1,620,735 to organizations with a history of anti-Israel activity.
Recent MEPI beneficiaries involved in anti-Israel activity:
|Pal Think for Strategic Studies||$84,820||2014
|East Jerusalem YMCA||$53,265||2012-2013
|Wi’am, the Palestinian Conflict Resolution Center||$71,661||2012-2013
|The Al-Mustakbal Foundation for Strategic and Policy Studies||$68,019||2012-2013
|Women Against Violence (WAV)||$600,000||2013
|Arab World Democracy and Electoral Monitor (Al Marsad)||$500,000||2015
United States Institute of Peace (USIP)
- The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) is an “independent, nonpartisan institution established and funded by Congress.” USIP’s goal is to create a “world without violent conflict.”
- With regards to Israel, USIP “seeks to comprehensively address the complexities of its conflict with the Palestinians and the broader Arab world through policy relevant analysis, public outreach and innovative programming with partners in the region, all aimed at building support for a peaceful resolution to the conflict.”
- While USIP’s website does not provide complete information regarding its grants, omitting their length and monetary value, overall the grantees are focused on peaceful cooperation and coexistence.
- Between 2015-2016, USIP granted a total $382,417 to NGOs in the region.
- Due to the multiplicity of US government funding frameworks, the same organization receives funding from multiple government sources. There are currently at least four organizations that are receiving simultaneous funding from USIP and USAID:
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