Germany’s main political parties transferred public funds through their foundations to Israel-based NGOs, as well as to organizations in the disputed territories, that are rife with bias against the Jewish state and, in some cases, anti-Semitism.
This according to a study released last week.
“As NGO Monitor’s detailed report shows, while German political foundations claim a mandate for promoting democracy, peace and human rights, a significant portion of their activities related to Israel are immoral,” Prof. Gerald Steinberg, head of the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor, told The Jerusalem Post.
“And despite the use of taxpayer funds, the foundations fail the transparency test,” Steinberg said.
“Their positive contributions do not justify demonization and political warfare targeting Israel – Germany should be leading the way in ending Europe’s role in attacking the legitimacy of Jewish sovereign equality,” he said.
The 75-page study, titled, “German Funding for Political Advocacy NGOs Active in the Arab-Israeli Conflict,” found the Green Party’s Heinrich Böll Foundation and the Christian Democratic Union’s Konrad Adenauer Foundation funded the Ramallah-based MIFTAH NGO.
MIFTAH’s publications have accused Israel of “massacre,” “cultural genocide,” “war crimes” and “apartheid,” NGO Monitor reported.
MIFTAH’s Arabic-language website published an article on an anti-Semitic blood libel in response to US President Barack Obama’s support for Israel and his attendance at a Passover Seder. After allegations of anti-Semitism, MIFTAH removed the article.
The Böll Foundation funneled $24,416 to MIFTAH in 2011. The Adenauer Foundation distributed $92,869 in 2011 and 2012 to MIFTAH.
The Adenauer Foundation is affiliated with German Chancellor Angela’s Merkel’s party.
MIFTAH did not immediately respond to Post inquiries.
The German Left Party’s Rosa Luxemburg Foundation funded the Tel Aviv-based Coalition for Women of Peace to the tune of NIS 197,969 in 2010 and NIS 146,026 in 2011. CWP officials have been photographed hoisting a flag of the terrorist organization the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and CWP supports the boycott, divestment, sanctions campaign against Israel, NGO Monitor said.
In an email to the Post, CWP representative Zohar Elmakias wrote, “CWP is a leading women’s peace movement, and we stand with integrity behind every… word and action. With increasing domestic and international criticism of the occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people, it is not surprising that reactionary, extremist right-wing and anti-democratic groups disguising themselves as ‘objective’ desperately try to slander progressive forces in Israeli society.”
NGO Monitor’s report noted that the Luxemburg Foundation and the German Holocaust foundation Remembrance, Responsibility, Future (EVZ) distributed funds to the Tel Aviv-based NGO Zochrot, which seeks to “raise public awareness of the Palestinian Nakba,” declares that “the rights of the refugees to return must be accepted” and has accused Israel of ethnic cleansing.
EVZ did not respond to Post queries.
According to NGO Monitor, Zochrot’s agenda is “equivalent to calling for the elimination of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.”
Post queries to Zochrot were not immediately answered.
The Friedrich Ebert Foundation, which is aligned with the German Social Democratic Party, used its office in Jerusalem to blame Israel for the failed peace talks with the Palestinians, according to NGO Monitor. In late 2011, Michael Broning, director of the foundation’s Jerusalem office, co-wrote an article with the director of the Palestinian Government Media Center in Ramallah, Ghassan Khatib, titled, “What about Israeli Rejection.”
The authors said Palestinian rejectionism was not the problem, the study noted.
The Free Democratic Party’s Friedrich Naumann Foundation funded the Ramallah Center for Human Rights Studies. The Free Democrats refused to disclose their financial support to RCHRS.
“Following the March 2002 suicide bombing attacks and ‘Operation Defensive Shield,’ RCHRS issued a statement promoting the false claim that Israel committed ‘massacres’ in Jenin and Nablus.
RCHRS has also accused Israel of ‘terrorist crimes’ and making children the ‘sacrifice for the racial hatred,’” NGO Monitor said in its report.
The Christian Social Union, the Bavarian-based sister party of Merkel’s Christian Democrats, used its Hans Seidel Foundation to fund the Nazareth-based I’lam Media Center for Arab Palestinians in Israel.
“I’lam’s reports and publications reflect promotion of the demonization campaign, including unsupported claims of bias and discrimination against Israeli Arab citizens of Israel in the media,” according to NGO Monitor.
Seidel does not disclose its funding amounts.
The NGO Monitor study found an overall lack of accountability and transparency throughout the German political foundations and their funding streams in terms of work in Israel and the disputed territories.
In response to a Post query, representatives of the six German political foundations with offices in Israel wrote in a letter, “The German political foundations are a unique instrument of the Federal Republic of Germany. We take pride in the wide range of our contributions to political dialogue, stipends, academia and development cooperation as well as in the endorsements we receive from all sectors of Israeli society. It is the belief in pluralistic democracy that remains the guiding principle for our work and for our diverse contributions to our partner countries.”
The representatives continued, “We jointly reject the one-sided and limited conclusions, which NGO Monitor draws in the above-mentioned report. We regard your conclusions as unfounded allegations resulting out of a biased, incomplete and scientifically flawed research.
“We did consider clarifying the vast number of shortcomings of your report through a close and collaborative interaction with your organization. Our scope of action will remain unaffected by your report. We certainly will continue to provide – with full integrity, legality and accountability our value-based contributions to the German-Israeli relations, to the strengthening of pluralistic and democratic societies, and to the Middle East peace process towards a viable two-state solution,” the representatives said.
Steinberg told the Post, “We urge the foundation heads to respond through dialogue and cooperation, in contrast to simplistic attacks and attempts to silence this long-overdue debate.”
The Israeli Embassy in Berlin declined to comment on the NGO Monitor study.
When asked about the German Foreign Ministry’s role, according to the study, in funding anti-Israel work in the Jewish state, a spokeswoman wrote the Post, “Germany’s foreign policy stands firmly on the side of Israel” and is in line with a “fair and just” two-state solution.