Jerusalem – Catholic aid charity funding for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operating in Israel and the Palestinian Authority contributes to political campaigns that undermine peace and heighten tensions while demonizing and delegitimizing the State of Israel, according to a report published by NGO Monitor, a Jerusalem-based research institute.

NGO Monitor’s detailed analysis demonstrates that between 2008 and 2014, more than €7 million was allocated by Catholic aid charities to 37 highly politicized NGOs. These NGOs participate in international boycotts, divestments, and sanctions (BDS) campaigns to isolate Israel diplomatically, economically, culturally, and militarily. Leaders of the BDS movement are on record overtly calling for the destruction of the State of Israel.

“In the Arab-Israeli context, Catholic aid charities distribute funds to NGOs that enflame conflict, dehumanize Israelis, and delegitimize Israel,” stated Yitzhak Santis, NGO Monitor’s chief programs officer. “This funding is contrary to the powerful message sent by Pope Francis during his visit in May 2014, of the Vatican’s recognition of the right of the Jewish people to sovereign equality in a state of their own.”

Catholic aid charities receive a major proportion of their total annual operating budgets from various governments, particularly in Europe. These taxpayer funds are meant to be distributed by the Catholic aid societies to humanitarian NGOs around the world for purposes of alleviating human suffering and providing assistance to those in need.

Instead, Catholic aid organizations, such as Broederlijk Delen (Belgium), Trocaire (Ireland), and Misereor (Germany), fund radical Israeli NGOs. These organizations include Zochrot, Coalition for Women for Peace (CWP), and Breaking the Silence. Zochrot supports a “one state” framework or a “de-Zionized Palestine” and received 35% of its budget from these aid organizations between 2012 and 2015. CWP is a leader in the BDS campaign and its officials participated in an event in which they carried flags of the PFLP terrorist organization. Breaking the Silence is active in promoting war crimes charges against Israel based on anonymous and unverifiable hearsay “testimonies.”

Santis remarked, “Last week Pope Francis was quoted as saying that ‘anyone who does not recognize the Jewish people and the State of Israel – and their right to exist – is guilty of anti-Semitism.’ The Pope’s statement is fundamentally correct.  NGO Monitor urges the Vatican to act on the Pope’s words by calling upon Catholic aid agencies to cease funding those NGOs that are working to delegitimize Israel and deny the Jewish people the right to sovereign equality.”