Release Date: March 26, 2008


Groundbreaking Report on NGO Funding Exposes Grave EU Failings


(Jerusalem) – Jerusalem-based watchdog NGO Monitor this week released groundbreaking research examining European Union (EU) funding of political NGOs in the Arab-Israeli conflict.  The fifty-page report, ‘Europe’s Hidden Hand‘ reveals for the first time that between 2005 and 2007, the EU provided tens of millions of Euros from public money to NGOs whose activities directly contradict EU policy.  The report also details the severe lack of transparency and accountability in EU funding of NGOs.       

The report, titled ‘Europe’s Hidden Hand‘ analyzes the process of distributing funds to a variety of NGOs including Christian Aid, Adalah, Machsom Watch and the Israel Committee Against House Demolitions.  Many of these groups participated in the infamous Durban Conference in 2001, repeatedly refer to Israel as a ‘racist and apartheid state’ and promote boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel.  In total contradiction to the EU’s commitment to the Quartet’s road map, which explicitly calls for the peaceful existence of Israel and Palestine, some of these NGOs promote the concept of the elimination of Israel through a ‘one state solution’.  Disturbingly, these NGOs openly display EU logos on their materials, providing legitimacy to their extremist politics. 

In compiling this report, NGO Monitor contacted a number of EU officials. While some were cooperative, they were often unable or unwilling to provide the information necessary to understand funding policies and decision making in this area. Although the EU preaches transparency and accountability, it displays very little of either in funding for NGOs which pursue partisan and political goals.  Despite the tens of millions of Euros provided by taxpayers, no uniform framework or central database exists for obtaining NGO funding information – data is often hidden beneath numerous layers of bureaucracy.  In addition, only vague funding guidelines exist for NGOs, leaving funding decisions at the mercy of the whims and biases of anonymous and unaccountable European Commission officials. 

NGO Monitor’s research concludes with recommendations for improvement, which are particularly valuable in the context of preparations for the 2009 Durban Review Conference, in which NGOs are expected to play an important role – Unless the EU changes its policies for funding NGOs, Europe will again be responsible for providing NGOs with the ability to demonize and delegitimize Israel. The EU is also advised to develop practical solutions such as a searchable database of NGO recipients and clear guidelines to preclude the funding of NGOs which promote conflict.  

Europe’s Hidden Hand‘ is the first study to scrutinize EU funding of NGOs systematically, and consequently has already made an impact among experts in advance of its release.  A Member of the European Parliament has already utilized the report to press the European Commission to explain the inconsistencies in their NGO funding policy and process.

Following the release of ‘Europe’s Hidden Hand‘ at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs’ ‘Israel at 60’ conference on Wednesday 26th March, NGO Monitor’s Executive Director Prof Gerald Steinberg said ‘For too long, the European Union has hidden the funding for highly divisive Palestinian, European and fringe Israeli NGOs that promote conflict under the façade of peace, dialogue, and human rights.  This report challenges the EU to practice the transparency and accountability that it preaches to others, and to insure that the funding of NGOs does not undermine EU values and policies.‘                             

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Editors Notes:

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

Human Rights Watch’s Cluster Munitions Report: Under the Façade – Feb 17, 2008

NGO Monitor Submission to UK Parliamentary Enquiry – March 20, 2008

NGO Monitor’s Executive Director is, Prof. Gerald Steinberg. 


For further information, copies of the ‘Europe’s Hidden Hand’ report, comment or interviews, contact Dan Kosky

+972 (0) 546-305-504 

NGO Monitor – 13 Tel Hai St. – Jerusalem 92107 –   Israel – T: +972-2-566-1020 F: +972-2-5619112