Following research from NGO Monitor and criticism from Israeli government officials, a number of European governments announced a reevaluation of their support for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Most recently, this week, the Danish Foreign Minister launched a review funding to Palestinian NGOs.
For years, NGO Monitor has been tracking the misuse of massive European government NGO funding for incitement and support of terrorism. Our publications have focused on funding for Palestinian groups, some with links to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist organization. Examples include Addameer, a PFLP “affiliate,” and many other NGOs whose rhetoric and activities are inconsistent with the values and foreign policies of the donors.
The lack of transparency and the failure by state donor officials to conduct due diligence enables the activities of these and other radical organizations. Millions are allotted annually for aid, peace, human rights, and other well-intentioned goals without parliamentary supervision, and in many cases, ministers approve budgets without knowledge of the details. Abuse is rampant, and Denmark’s decision reflects a growing awareness of this long-festering problem.
Norway has also made changes in its NGO funding policies, and this week, the Minister of Foreign Affairs demanded that funds provided to a Palestinian women’s center be returned after it was revealed that the center was named after the terrorist Dalal Mughrabi. Mughrabi led an attack in 1978, killing 35 Israelis and wounding 71. Norway and, subsequently, the UN also demanded that their logos be removed from any publications tied to the center.
The Women’s Affairs Technical Committee (WATC), a Palestinian NGO involved in the center, notably did not condemn the naming after Mughrabi and and did not request that its name be removed from related publications. NGO Monitor research demonstrates that WATC also supports BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions).
Six months ago, Norway abruptly reversed a decision to give $1 million to the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (the Secretariat), a joint mechanism funded by Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, and the Netherlands, based at Birzeit University in Ramallah. The Secretariat funds multiple NGOs linked to the PFLP and/or involved in BDS campaigns against Israel. WATC is a Secretariat grantee.
Danish and Norwegian funding for Palestinian NGOs are examples of a much wider problem. This month, NGO Monitor will publish a comprehensive database presenting all available data on funding for Palestinian NGOs with terror ties, that promote BDS, and/or that target Israel through legal campaigns (“lawfare”).
Prof. Gerald Steinberg, President of NGO Monitor, stated, “The decisions by Norway and Denmark are part of a positive trend, and other European officials are waking to the consequences of providing millions in grants to political NGOs with minimal oversight and accountability. We hope that more governments will follow their lead, understand that groups that use the language of peace and human rights do not necessarily promote these agendas, and halt funds to NGOs that promote BDS, oppose peace, or have ties to terror.”