NGO Monitor Exposes Dutch Government Funding to Group Promoting BDS, Labels IDF “Nazis”
JERUSALEM – In a clear demonstration of the lack of accountability in European governmental funding for non-governmental organizations (NGOs), Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor today revealed that Electronic Intifada receives funding from the Dutch government. Electronic Intifada is a leader in the demonization of Israel, including the BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaign, and frequently compares the Israeli military to Nazis. The Dutch government provided funding to ICCO, a Dutch inter-church aid organization, which provided EI with a 3-year funding commitment.
“This type of poisonous activity is precisely why European government funding of NGOs requires close oversight and full transparency,” says Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor, a research institution that tracks government funding of political advocacy NGOs. “Based on our experience, we assume that the top Dutch government officials are completely unaware of the link between money given to ICCO for aid, and Electronic Intifada, a group whose rhetoric and activities undermine hopes for mutual understanding.”
EI executive director Ali Abunimah is a leader in de-legitimization and demonization campaigns against Israel. In his travels and speaking engagements, he calls for a one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and routinely uses false apartheid rhetoric. Abunimah also equates Israel to Nazi Germany, comparing the Israeli press to “Der Sturmer,” referring to Gaza as a “ghetto for surplus non-Jews,” and claiming that “Zionism is not atonement for the Holocaust, but its continuation in spirit.”
Mieke Zagt, the ICCO official directing the funding to EI, is a former employee of Amnesty International’s Middle East division, and a vocal proponent of BDS herself.
“The revelation shows how Dutch government funding has fostered the close partnership between EI and ICCO,” Steinberg adds. “This inflammatory rhetoric and calls to isolate Israel internationally are entirely counterproductive to achieving peace in the region. We call on the Dutch government to immediately stop funding ICCO until a full audit has been completed. Dutch taxpayers simply should not fund groups that promote antisemitism and conflict, including the BDS campaign against Israel.”
The Dutch government provided ICCO with €124 million in 2008, which represented 90 percent of its budget. The European Union also contributed €8.5 million, another 6 percent of the budget, to ICCO. The amount of ICCO’s funding contribution to EI over the three years has not been revealed to date.