Release Date: January 29th, 2008
(Jerusalem) – A report issued today by Jerusalem-based watchdog NGO Monitor provides worrying evidence that despite previous pledges, the Ford Foundation is continuing its support of radical and politicized NGOs ahead of the ‘Durban II’ review conference in 2009.
The Ford Foundation is a major funder to a variety of NGOs focusing on the Arab-Israeli conflict. Many of these organizations were at the forefront of the infamous NGO Forum of the 2001 UN Conference Against Racism in Durban, where Israel was singled out for censure and anti-Semitism was openly expressed. Following the conference, Ford changed its funding guidelines and pledged to end their "support [for] organizations whose conduct is antithetical to our objectives of promoting peace, justice, tolerance and understanding ".
Ford’s grants database for 2007 would appear to show a reduction in direct funding for NGO’s pursuing the “Durban strategy” of delegitimization and demonization of Israel. However, NGO Monitor’s analysis reveals that this does not paint a complete picture of exactly how Ford Foundation funds are being distributed – Indirect, and multi-year, grants are not recorded in the database and several radical NGOs that do not appear there continue to list the Ford Foundation among their funders.
For example, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) website clearly states that it is “funded by the Ford Foundation”, which was confirmed by PCHR Director, Raji Sourani. PCHR, while importantly highlighting intra- Palestinian human rights abuses, pursues a campaign against Israel entirely antithetical to Ford’s objectives of “promoting peace, justice, tolerance and understanding". This includes defamatory accusations of Israeli “ethnic cleansing” and “war crimes” while Palestinian terrorists are described as “members of the resistance”. In addition, PCHR is a leading advocate of the ‘boycott Israel’ campaign, a political agenda at odds with its stated purpose, the objectives of the Ford Foundation and the cause of peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
Also anomalous is the exclusion from Ford’s database of the Palestinian lobbying organisation Miftah, which responded to an enquiry by NGO Monitor with a list of donors for 2007 that included the Ford Foundation. Miftah routinely describes suicide bombers who target Israeli civilians as “freedom fighters” and has sought to legitimize suicide bombings against civilians as “resistance”.
NGO Monitor has repeatedly contacted the Ford Foundation for comment on these inconsistencies but has yet to receive a substantive reply.
Commenting on the NGO Monitor report, Executive Director, Professor Gerald Steinberg said, “As preparations continue for the follow-up conference to Durban 2001, it is extremely disturbing that the Ford Foundation seemingly continues to support those NGOs that made this conference such a travesty. Ford’s post-Durban pledge was encouraging but has yet to be translated into real action. The Canadian government’s recent decision not to participate at ‘Durban II’ sent a clear message that there can be no place for NGO’s peddling hate and anti-Semitism. Ford must also provide clarity and unequivocally limit its funding to organizations genuinely committed to universal human rights.”
To read the full report click here or the link below
NGO Monitor was founded to promote transparency, critical analysis and debate on the political role of human rights
organizations. For more information, see our website at
Other recent publications and reports by NGO Monitor include:-
Analyzing the NGO Campaign on Gaza – Beyond the Rhetoric – Jan 22, 2008
Christian Peacemaker Teams: Anti-Israel Campaigning – Jan 10, 2008
NGO Bias in pre-Annapolis Political Statements on Gaza – Nov 26, 2007
NGO Monitor’s Executive Director, Prof. Gerald Steinberg.
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