European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR)
|Founded||2007 by Martti Ahtisaari (Finland), Joschka Fischer (Germany), and Mabel van Oranje (Holland) “with initial funding from George Soros’s Open Society Foundations, the Communitas Foundation,” and other private foundations.|
|In their own words||“Inspired by the role American think tanks played in helping the US move from isolationism to global leadership, ECFR’s founders set about creating a pan-European institution that could combine establishment credibility with intellectual insurgency.”|
- In 2016, total income was £6.3 million; total expenses were £6.8 million.
- Donors include: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, European Commission, Finland, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom, as well as private foundations such as Soros’ Open Society Foundation, Robert Bosch Stiftung, and Skoll Global Threats Fund. (See table below for further funding information.)
- In 2017-2018, ECFR received $100,000 from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund for its “Transatlantic Taskforce on Iran.”
- Seven branches in Europe with over 50 staff members.
- ECFR’s Middle East and North Africa program has “sought an invigorated European role in de-escalating crises and driving peace-building solutions in the MENA region during this period of unprecedented turmoil.”
- On June 2, 2017, ECFR published a report, “Israel’s unlawfully prolonged occupation: consequences under an integrated legal framework,” authored by Valentina Azarova, a consultant with a history of anti-Israel activism, arguing that “third parties have an obligation to put an end to an occupier’s violations through collective and unilateral measures,” and called for the UN Security Council to “act in accordance with its authority under the UN Charter to determine that such acts are ‘crimes against peace’ which therefore constitute an international threat to peace and security” (emphasis added).
- On November 27, 2017, Lovatt and Azarova presented their reports at a European Parliament event, “Fifty Years of Occupation and Counting: Is it time for a new EU Policy on the Middle East Peace Process?” The conference featured politicians, academics, and NGO officials advocating Israel’s isolation, and calling on the EU and other countries to increase international pressure and to impose sanctions on Israel.
- Two ECFR researchers, Mattia Toaldo and Hugh Lovatt, write extensively on what they call the “differentiation” policy. In “EU Differentiation and Israeli settlements” (July 22, 2015) ECFR calls for sanctions against Israeli entities (and certain individuals) that have activities in or apparent financial contacts with Israeli settlements, claiming that this does not constitute BDS. The report lays the responsibility for failure to reach peace solely on Israel, ignoring Palestinian violence, incitement, and rejectionism. According to Toaldo and Lovatt, the EU should extend this policy to the business and sports sectors. They argue that these forms of “differentiation” reflect EU policy, whereas, in reality, the issue was specifically negotiated between Israeli and European senior officials (after the release of the EU’s “Guidelines” in 2013), and the EU clearly stated that it was not considering ECFR’s approach.
- On July 26, 2017, ECFR published a report, “Rethinking Oslo: How Europe can promote peace in Israel-Palestine,” authored by Hugh Lovatt and Omar Dajani, calling for “Deepening and broadening differentiation” as well as for “Imposing targeted sanctions upon persons or entities providing support to or benefitting from Israel’s unlawful practices in the OPT [Occupied Palestinian Territories], including its illegal annexation of Palestinian territory” (emphasis added).
- In June 2016, Hugh Lovatt, along with Martin Konecny from the European Middle East Project(EuMEP), endorsed sanctions against Israel, calling on FIFA “to exclude settlement clubs from the Israeli Football Association,” as part of a broader campaign against Israel initiated by several pro-BDS groups.” Lovatt stated that a ban would send a “very strong message” to Israel that it “cannot use football teams as a political tool to try to impose acceptance of its occupation.”
- In May 2015, Toaldo and Lovatt published “How to Revive EU Policy on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,” claiming that Israelis should be confronted with a future without European support since, according to the authors, progress in the peace process “depends…on Israel.” The report implies that only through sanctions on Israel can the peace process be resolved and presents the Palestinians as passive actors.
- In November 2015, Hugh Lovatt called for additional measures to punish and impose “real financial consequences for average Israelis who remain ambivalent about Israel’s settlement project.”
- In September 2015, Hugh Lovatt participated in a session by the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People titled, “International Meeting on the Question of Palestine: Israeli Settlements as an Obstacle to Peace – Possible Ways Forward.” The session focused on “the role of the international community, including regional organizations” and the “import of goods produced in Israeli settlements and EU guidelines.”
- The ECFR claims that MENA “researchers and analysts, including visiting fellows, has been drawn from government, research, advocacy, and media backgrounds.”
- Hugh Lovatt, ECFR Programme Coordinator for Israel/Palestine.
- Former MENA programme director Daniel Levy is an activist involved in a variety of political advocacy NGOs and foundations.
- In an article originally published in Spanish, “Bibi and the Bomb,” another researcher, Jose Ignacio Torreblanca portrays U.S. support for Israel as the only thing that prevents either peace or Israel’s isolation as an “apartheid” state. The article further asserts that “without the more than 3,000 million dollars that US contributors (including Obama voters) transfer annually for military assistance, the Israelis could not maintain a military advantage over their neighbours.”
2014-16 Funding (partial list; amounts in UK pounds)
|UK Department for International Development (DFID)||162,627
|Foundation for Open Society||53,858||14,689
|Open Society Foundations||21,394||2,659,840||2,423,965
|Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)||378,697||304,866||353,711
|European Endowment for Democracy (European Union)||11,440||
|Royal Norwegian Embassy in Beijing||28,224||30,118||56,576
|Robert Bosch Stiftung||134,327||156,067||144,479
|Skoll Global Threats Fund||72,225
|Stiftung Mercator (Germany)||719,404||169,302||27,966
|Compagnia di San Paolo (Italy)||162,114||40,000||42,017
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