A report published today by NGO Monitor, a Jerusalem-based research institute, shows that, in 2012-2014, foreign governments directly and indirectly granted approximately NIS 105 million to 24 NGOs involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict. These donations comprise roughly 60% of the NIS 176 million reported by 75 Israeli non-profit associations and corporations for the public benefit during that time.
Data compiled from quarterly reports submitted to the Registrar of Non-Profits website reveals massive funding for NGOs that influence Israeli and international discourse on issues related to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Some of these groups are directly or indirectly involved in BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) campaigns, lawfare, delegitimization, and lobbying against the state of Israel, as well as involvement in the UN fact finding committee on the Gaza War (2014 – the “Schabas” Commission) and campaigns concerning the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The European Union (EU) is the largest funder, providing NIS 17,649,577 to NGOs during the reporting period, followed by Norway that provided NIS 13,332,079. The quarterly reports, as mandated by the 2011 “Transparency Law,” also include the grant objectives, such as “security forces investigation,” “popular action,” “International activity,” “legal action,” and many grants under “general support.”
Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor, stated, “This law strengthens the central democratic principle of transparency, and sheds light on the processes through which foreign governments channel funds to selected Israeli civil society organizations. The real-time information provided by this legal framework enables the Israeli public to have a fact-based and informed public debate regarding the involvement of foreign governments in the Israeli public discourse. Over the past few years, more and more NGOs have begun submitting reports disclosing their foreign government funders.”
Quarterly reports reveal the funding sources of NGOs active in campaign against the right of the Jewish nation to sovereign equality, regardless of its borders. “Zochrot”, a radical Israeli NGO which advocates for a “return” of Palestinian “refugees” and the dismantlement of Israel, received NIS 2,374,139 of indirect funding from Belgium, Ireland, Germany and Finland. “Who Profits,” a leader in BDS campaigns and was registered as a non-profit association in 2013 after separating from the Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP), reported NIS 841,040 in indirect donations from the Netherlands, Germany, Norway, and Ireland.
As the NGO Monitor analysis has shown, in previous years some NGOs did not comply with the law and did not submit reports. This is indicative of the need to improve enforcement by the Ministry of Justice and the Registrar of Non-Profits. Groups that regularly receive foreign funding and do not submit reports may be violating the transparency requirement.
In addition, a number of political groups that seek to influence Israeli political processes are not registered in Israel do not operate transparently. Steinberg added, “At a time when Israeli public discourse is focused on the influence of foreign funding on Israeli civil society, the importance of implementing this law is highlighted. The Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits must enforce the existing regulations so that the Israeli public is able to stay informed regarding the numerous foreign government mechanisms that are behind many politicized civil society organizations.”