Jerusalem – Following the publication of an article repeating the medieval antisemitic blood libel by MIFTAH, a Palestinian NGO founded in 1998 by Hanan Ashrawi, NGO Monitor highlighted the role of MIFTAH’s funders in enabling such activities.

“MIFTAH’s funders give the NGO visibility and impact, and thus bear considerable responsibility for the publication of antisemitic material,” said Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor. “This is not the first instance of demonizing and immoral rhetoric on the MIFTAH website. We call on MIFTAH’s supporters to conduct thorough reviews of their policies that permit funding to such groups and facilitate the hatred.”

NGO Monitor notes that the most recent available information shows that MIFTAH’s funders in 2011 included EU (via the Anna Lindh Foundation) , NGO Development Center (joint funding from Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, and the Netherlands), Italy, Austria, Heinrich Boell Stiftung (German government funding), Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (German government funding), Ireland, Norway, and indirect U.S. government funding via National Endowment for Democracy and International Republican Institute.

On March 27, 2013, MIFTAH posted an article, in Arabic, by Nawaf al-Zaru. He wrote, “Does Obama in fact know the relationship, for example, between ‘Passover’ and ‘Christian blood’… ?! Or ‘Passover’ and ‘Jewish blood rituals…?! Much of the historical stories and tales about Jewish blood rituals in Europe are based on real rituals and are not false as they claim; ‘the Jews used the blood of Christians in the Jewish Passover’…”

After the article was exposed by bloggers, MIFTAH removed the article “to avoid further misunderstanding.” On April 1, five days after the publication of the Al Zaru article, and only after much public criticism, MIFTAH issued an apology.

“This case is not unique,” continued Prof. Steinberg. “Other Palestinian NGOs funded by European governments, such as Badil and the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency have published overtly antisemitic material on their websites. They have only been removed after public exposure and scrutiny. Clear policies and actions by the funder-enablers are essential to prevent further moral abuses under the façade of promoting peace, democracy and human rights.”

Additional background information on MIFTAH and this incident is available here.