The issue of European Union funding to organizations active in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has been a source of considerable tension in EU-Israel relations. Not least of all, Israelis chafe at funding to organizations that support boycott campaigns against Israel, a radical political agenda expressly opposed by official EU foreign policy.
The EU’s admirably persistent stance on the matter is that it “funds projects submitted by NGOs, in line with (the) EU’s fundamental principles and values, but not NGOs themselves.”
In other words, what happens outside of “project hours” does not tarnish the EU’s commendable efforts, and is none of its concern.
Putting aside the fact that money is fungible, that some organizations rely on EU funds for more than half of their budgets, and that in the eyes of many, and rightly so, funding amounts to a stamp of approval – how does one determine exactly what falls under “project activities”? Does calling for the cultural and academic isolation of Israel count as a “pathway towards self-expression?” Or is this just another unrelated activity for which the EU cannot be held responsible? The most pertinent question, however, is why the EU continuously chooses rejectionist organizations to do its bidding.
While no one is claiming a hidden European agenda to boycott Israel, there is no logical reason why the EU should compromise its values and its integrity by supporting NGOs that are spearheading efforts to do exactly that. Just as the EU would never financially and politically provide support to other NGOs that endorse hostile or discriminatory ideologies, so too should they cease financially backing organizations whose professed goal is to isolate Israel.