Jerusalem – In a detailed report released today, Jerusalem-based research institute NGO Monitor shows that the new funding platform, called the “Secretariat,” will support political and legal warfare against Israel, in direct contrast to the stated program goals of promoting “human rights and international humanitarian law.” The Secretariat is a joint NGO funding initiative of Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, and the Netherlands, with a projected four-year budget of $17.6 million.
In March 2014, the Secretariat announced grants for 24 Israeli and Palestinian NGOs.
“Contrary to its claim to have undertaken ‘a thorough, transparent review process,’ the Secretariat has again chosen to support political advocacy organizations clearly lacking the ability to carry out government objectives,” stated Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor. “Instead, the NGO grantees engage in legal warfare against Israeli officials and companies that do business with Israel, promote BDS (boycott divestment, and sanctions) campaigns, and exploit the false ‘apartheid’ analogy to demonize Israel.”
One grant recipient, BADIL, is a leader in international BDS campaigns and has engaged in blatant antisemitic activities. Another grantee, Addameer, appears to have close connections to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a terrorist organization, recognized as such by the European Union.
The Secretariat’s local managing partner is the Institute of Law at Birzeit University. A report published by the institute, “Advocating for Palestinian Rights in conformity with International Law: Guidelines,” which was prominently posted on the Secretariat Facebook page, is a strategic manual for exploiting legal terms and rhetoric to demonize Israel internationally and for encouraging international legal attacks against officials and companies.
“The Institute of Law at Birzeit University is wholly unsuited to partner on a project devoted to international law,” continued Prof. Steinberg. “It does not possess the capacity to carry out objectives for the region. In its current design, the Secretariat will fail to advance human rights and promote peace.”
This joint funding scheme has long been plagued by similar problems. NGO Monitor’s research demonstrated that a previous iteration (2008-2013), managed by the Ramallah-based NGO Development Center (NDC), also supported NGOs active in political warfare, failing to fulfill the project’s stated goals.
NGO Monitor urges the Secretariat’s supporting governments of Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, and the Netherlands to re-evaluate their partnership with the Institute of Law at Birzeit University, as well as the selected NGO grantees, to ensure their alignment with government policies.
To read the full report: Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat