[Opinion] Letter to Mr. Halbe Zijlstra, Netherlands Foreign Minister, on the Occasion of Your Visit to Israel

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Dear  Minister Zijlstra,

Your official visit to Israel on January 9 provides an important opportunity to address some critical issues that concern both the Netherlands and Israel.

Unfortunately, as we have brought to your attention on multiple occasions throughout the past year, much of this funding goes to highly politicized NGOs that act in ways that are antithetical to the values inherent in democracy and civility. Some recipients of Dutch government funds promote antisemitism, as defined by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) and as adopted by a June 1, 2017 European Parliament resolution; use language that refers to “resistance” in order to justify and excuse terrorism; have alleged links to terror groups; and engage in legal warfare against Israeli officials and companies that do business with Israel.

As you noted in a parliamentary meeting on November 15, 2017, another NGO funded by the Secretariat, the Women’s Affairs Technical Committee (WATC), was involved in a youth center named after Dalal Mughrabi, a terrorist who murdered 38 Israelis, including 13 children. As a result, on June 30, 2017, in correspondence with NGO Monitor, you confirmed that “in cooperation with the other donor countries of the Secretariat, the Netherlands has decided to suspend cooperation with WATC until further notice.” But there is no indication that the broader NGO funding failures have been addressed.

Your upcoming visit presents a unique opportunity to add the voice of the Netherlands to the moral statements by Norway, Denmark, and Switzerland in denouncing this discredited NGO funding framework. Funding terror-affiliated groups and activities that spread antisemitic poison in no way benefit the relations between our two countries. Promoting democracy, human rights and civility is too important and should not be entrusted with such groups.