[Opinion] Why is it so hard for European governments to defund NGOs, even over terror ties?
There is something inherently flawed in how European governments engage with civil society.
On paper, governments have vetting procedures that should prevent abuse of taxpayers’ funds. Yet time and again, evidence emerges showing that they support and cooperate with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) linked to terror groups.
Lately, there’s been a change.
In July, the Dutch government made a dramatic announcement. It was freezing funding to the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), a Palestinian NGO, over its close links to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)—a European Union-designated terror group. An internal government review had confirmed that taxpayer funds were used to pay the salaries of two senior UAWC employees who were arrested for the murder of 17-year-old Israeli, Rina Shnerb, in August 2019.
The Dutch decision came weeks after a similar announcement from the E.U. The E.U., prodded by a vocal public campaign in Europe and Israel, will run an internal review to check for terror ties among its NGO beneficiaries.
The truth is these developments should have been less striking. Both were informed of UAWC’s terror connections years ago. When alerted, the European Union and the Netherlands insisted they had stringent vetting processes that rendered such allegations impossible.