Key Issue:Antisemitism and NGOs
Many NGOs that claim to promote human rights and humanitarian agendas use antisemitic themes and imagery to demonize the Jewish people and state of Israel.
A number of governments have instituted funding guidelines and passed legislation that deny funds for NGOs that engage in antisemitism.
These government actions are all important steps but can only be effective if they are actually implemented. Many of the NGOs that violate these guidelines (as discussed in the previous section) are still receiving governmental funding, including via alternative frameworks.
In June 2017, the Swiss Parliament adopted a resolution to “amend the laws, ordinances and regulations so that Switzerland can no longer subsidize, even indirectly, development cooperation projects carried out by NGOs involved in racism or incitement.”
On October 5, 2018, the Danish Foreign Ministry announced significant new criteria for its funding of NGOs. These guidelines specifically state that projects that promote BDS, organizations that question Israel’s right to exist, and those with ties to terror will not be eligible to receive funds.
According to the Dutch MFA’s “2018 Work Plan,” contracts signed between the Dutch MFA and NGOs included new funding guidelines that ensure the Netherlands does not finance “organizations that promote hate-speech, racism, anti-semitism in any sort or format” (NGO Monitor translation).
In an effort to address antisemitism in Germany, on May 17, 2019, the German Bundestag passed a landmark resolution defining BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns against Israel as antisemitic. The joint resolution, “Stand Resolutely Against the BDS Movement: Combat Antisemitism,” was supported by the CDU/CSU (The Union), SPD (Social Democratic Party), FDP (Free Democratic Party), and Green parties. Crucially, the Bundestag called for ending German government funding to groups that promote BDS.
Specifically, the resolution states that Germany will:
- “Combat every form of antisemitism, from the beginning and in all consequence and to condemn the BDS campaign and their call for a boycott of Israeli goods, businesses and of Israeli scientists, artists or athletes;
- Not provide premises and facilities under public administration to organizations that express anti-Semitism or call Israel’s right to exist into question. The Bundestag calls on the Federal Government not to support events of the BDS movement or groups actively pursuing their goals;
- Expresses its support of the Federal Government and the Commissioner for Jewish Living in Germany in their efforts to fight against anti-Semitism and any extremism;
- Not financially support organizations that question Israel’s right to exist;
- Not financially support any projects that call for a boycott of Israel or actively support the BDS movement;
- Call on all countries, cities and municipalities and all public actors to jointly share this stance.”