Despite its stated opposition to BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns against Israel, the European Union (EU) is a major financial backer of organizations that advocate for the country’s economic isolation, according to a new research report published today by NGO Monitor.

NGO Monitor reviewed a number of recent EU regional funding programs designated for Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, and found that 29 out of 100 EU grants administered through the frameworks reviewed, funnel funds to BDS organizations (€16.7 million out of €67.1 million – roughly 25%). 42 out of 180 EU grantees in total support BDS – either through participation in activities and events, signing of petitions and initiatives, and/or membership in explicit BDS platforms. Several organizations were the recipients of more than one grant.

Due to the lack of EU transparency, the extent of humanitarian aid funding, funding for other designated regions, and other frameworks is largely unknown. As a result, the precise overall amount of EU funding to BDS organizations cannot be determined.

Non-governmental organization (NGO) funding is a central component of EU foreign policy, claiming to promote peace, cooperation, and human rights. However, in contrast to the stated objectives, the EU funds a number of highly biased and politicized NGOs that exploit the rhetoric of human rights to promote anti-peace campaigns that oppose a two-state framework.

According to Olga Deutsch, Director of the Europe Desk at NGO Monitor, “When confronted with the evidence that it is funding NGOs that contradict EU policy, the EU’s standard response is that it ‘funds projects submitted by NGOs, in line with [the] EU’s fundamental principles and values, but not NGOs themselves.’ However, this distinction is misleading, as project funding is inevitably used for overall organization and activity expenses. Even without necessarily intending to, the EU grants legitimacy to BDS organizations – in several cases funding over 50% of an organization’s entire budget. We continue to reach out to our European colleagues in Brussels explaining the EU’s detrimental impact, as many of these BDS-supporting organizations would not even exist without their financial backing.”