JERUSALEM – European Commission President José Manuel Barroso will make his first official visit to Israel on July 9. Among the issues for discussion is the intense controversy over large scale EU funding for highly politicized Israeli and Palestinian NGOs, and the absence of transparency regarding this funding

“This is an opportune time for ending the blatant lack of transparency, in violation of the EU’s own principles, and for undertaking a detailed review, particularly for the NGO grants that end in June and July 2012,” says Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor. “Rather than automatically renewing this funding, the EU should carefully consider the implications of policies which secretly provide millions of Euros from taxpayer funds to Israeli and Palestinian political NGOs. An independent examination of the EU’s funding for these NGOs, including analysis of the procedures and impacts, if any, is long overdue.”

In a letter to President Barroso, NGO Monitor including examples of counterproductive EU funding for political NGOs:

1. The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), which received €169,661 from the EC (concluded June 2012), is a fringe political NGO that fuels conflict by frequently accusing Israel of “apartheid” and “ethnic cleansing.” ICAHD officials are also active in promoting BDS campaigns, particularly in churches in Europe and North America.

2. There is also need for a fundamental review of a grant to Parents Circle Family Forum, which received €351,006 for its “Crack in the Wall” project (concluding July 2012). PCFF presents itself as an organization “Promot[ing] reconciliation as an alternative to hatred and revenge.” For some Israelis, including families of terror attacks, however, PCFF is a highly controversial politicized organization that promotes the narrative of Israeli aggression and Palestinian victimhood, as well as an immoral equivalence between Palestinian terrorists and victims of terror attacks. In addition, according to Ha’aretz (“Peace activists are sick of talking about soccer,” April 25, 2012), the EU funded project was significantly changed due to “skepticism and disinterestedness on the Palestinian side.”

3. EU funding for Adalah (€627,526, concluding July 2012) “Combating and Preventing Torture and Ill-Treatment of Palestinian Prisoners held in Israeli Prisons and Palestinian Civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT)” was shared with political advocacy NGOs Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I) and Al-Mezan. (The EU website omits mention of the partner organizations.) This funding enabled publication of On Torture, a compilation of articles that advances the tendentious and unproved allegation that Israeli physicians are involved in torturing Palestinian prisoners, further contributing to demonization of Israel in human rights frameworks at the UN.

Table of EU Grants Ending in June and July 2012

NGOTitleProject DescriptionEU grant (€)Ending
Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD)Home Demolitions and the LawTo ensure that the basic rights of Palestinians living in East Jerusalem and Areas B and C of the OPT are met; To contribute to the cessation of punitive, military and administrative house demolitions in East Jerusalem and Areas B and C of the OPT.169,661June 2012
Parents CircleCrack in the Wall (project location in Israel – only)The project will capitalise on the lessons learned and successes of the peace-building endeavour, the "Hello-Shalom" project, the present action aims to develop an innovative technological platform (The Wall) which would engage significantly more individuals with far more accessible and convenient technological features. The project will engage as many individuals as possible in the platform in dialogue and exchange between Israelis and Palestinians and thus instilling messages and values of respect and understanding.351,006July 2012
Adalah (PHR-I and Al-Mezan are partners, but the EU website does not say so)Combating and Preventing Torture and Ill-Treatment of Palestinian Prisoners held in Israeli Prisons and Palestinian Civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT)To contribute to the fight against impunity and to support the rule of law in Israel, to combat and prevent torture and ill-treatment of Palestinian prisoners incarcerated in Israeli prisons and detention centers and Palestinian civilians in the OPT.627,526July 2012
ACRIThe West Bank Human Rights Defenders ActionThe overall objective of this project is to protect human rights defenders in the West Bank, and bring about changes in Israel's policies to ensure respect for rights of protestors. The specific objectives are: To develop effective and common guidelines for addressing protests in the West Bank and Israel's responses to them within the context of domestic and international law; To improve Israel's injurious policies towards West Bank human rights defenders through advocacy and legal channels; To raise awareness of ongoing violations of the rights of human rights defenders in the Israeli and international media, legal, political and public arenas.200,000July 2012
Kav LaOvedImplementation of Justice for West Bank Palestinians employed by IsraelisThe overall objective of the project is to prevent Israeli employers from violating the human rights of Palestinian workers in the economic sphere. To force the Israeli government to protect workers living under territories occupied by Israel and to enforce international law and Israeli Supreme Court decisions.85,571June 2012
Women Against ViolenceWomen and Employment Project (project location is Israel – only)Overall Objective: To promote the equal status of Palestinian women citizens of Israel by enhancing their access, materially, socially and politically to employment resources and opportunities. To create employment resources for Palestinian women citizens of Israel. To raise public awareness throughout Palestinian society that women's employment should not be conditional on any other obligations or terms; To encourage both Jewish and Palestinian citizen employers to pursue the hiring of Palestinian women as an active initiative; To advocate for more employment resources for Palestinian women on the part of the State; To advocate for an equal (representative) number of job openings for Palestinian women citizens in the public sector; To advocate for proactive government initiative to promote employment of Palestinian women.351,739June 2012
Arab Center For Alternative PlanningPromoting Equality in Planning for the Arab Minority through Due Representation in State Planning InstitutionsResearch and analyse existing institutional mechanisms (both legislative and administrative) related to planning procedures and processes on various levels in order to completely understand, identify, and address areas of discrimination against Arabs.157,319July 2012
NIF-ShatilEquality for Women in Israel: Adopting a Holistic ApproachMitigate discrimination against women within and out of the Israeli labour market, and reduce prejudices and stereotypes that violate the equality and dignity of women in society.465,380June 2012
Association Institut Pour La Cooperation En Mediterranee Groupe D AixThe Arab Peace Initiative and Israeli-Palestinian Peace: the political economy of a new periodThe project will explore the economic dimensions of the "Arab Peace Initiative" (API) on the relations between Israel, Palestine and the Arab countries. In this regard, an in-depth publication with broad analysis of the economic impact of implementing the API on the future economic relations between Israel, Palestine and the Arab countries will be produced and presented to key decision-makers and additional "agents of influence" (local and international) for them to understand the economic issues and possible scenarios when deciding on policy for the Middle East region. The project will also create public awareness on the tackled issue through a wide media coverage.395,003June 2012