For twenty years, the powerful NGOs (non-governmental organizations) that lead the propaganda campaigns demonizing Israel under the facade of civil society were carefully sheltered from investigations and criticism. Year after year, the network received tens of millions from European governments and private donors who looked the other way or even applauded as the NGOs launched repeated assaults on Israel through false accusations of apartheid and war crimes.
But in recent months, the environment in which this network thrived has changed fundamentally. The evidence of direct links to terror organizations accumulated to the point where officials could no longer avoid the issue. The sudden freezing of funds by the European Union (at least $1 million annually) and withdrawal by the Dutch government ($2.5 million) for two of the major NGOs has shaken the industry. Millions more for other groups are at stake, and if this vital flow is cut, the anti-Israel NGO machine will lose much of its effectiveness.
In January, following a very rare independent investigation, the Netherlands government announced a funding cut-off for the Palestinian NGO known as the Union of Agricultural Workers Committees (UAWC), citing numerous links to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terror organization. Under the cover of development aid, the UAWC is also heavily invested in hate campaigns including the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement. This initially did not bother their Dutch patrons, but they were forced to reconsider following Israel’s arrest of the leaders of a PFLP cell for the murder of 17-year-old Rina Schnerb in 2019. As NGO Monitor research quickly demonstrated, a number of the suspects held positions with UAWC and other core participants in the PFLP’s NGO network. Under criticism from MPs, the government hired a private consulting firm to investigate. Their report referenced open-source information on 34 staff and board members between 2007 and 2020 “with roles in both organizations” (UAWC and PFLP) that had been hidden from the Dutch government.