Statement Regarding Cessation of Funding due to anti-Israel Activity Lacks Important Details

JERUSALEM – The Canadian government’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) on September 20 announced that it had “reached a mutually agreed settlement of all legal disputes” with Mada al-Carmel – a highly controversial political advocacy group. After granting nearly $1 million from 2006 – 2009 to Mada al-Carmel (nearly 40 percent of the NGO’s funding), the IDRC ended support in April 2010. In response, the organization initiated legal action against the IRDC, which has now been settled out of court.

“Mada al-Carmel may claim to do ‘social research,’ but the evidence clearly shows that its main emphasis is on organizing and participating in political activities that do not promote a peace agreement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; nor do they create an environment conducive to mutual understanding,” says Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor, a research organization providing detailed analysis of groups such as Mada al-Carmel.

According to Steinberg, “It is difficult to understand how the IRDC provided political advocacy groups such as Mada with taxpayer funds in the first place. If there is a valid reason for government support for such NGOs, this should be made apparent through full disclosure and transparency of decision making. Unfortunately, the IRDC press statement on the legal settlement fails to shed any light on this process, and declares that ‘IDRC and Mada al-Carmel will make no further statements regarding the nature of this settlement.’ We urge the IRDC and other government agencies to provide full disclosure on this important public policy issue.”

Mada al-Carmel’s activities include:

  • The “Haifa Declaration” (2007), co-authored by Mada al-Carmel, which calls for a “change in the definition of the State of Israel from a Jewish state” and accuses Israel of “exploiting” the Holocaust “at the expense of the Palestinian people.”
  • A 2009 conference under the banner of “Our Humanity and Sexuality in the Shadow of the Wall,” and accompanying poster distributed by Mada al-Carmel that contributes to incitement by falsely depicting Israeli soldiers sexually harassing Palestinians.
  • A 2009 conference sponsored by Mada al-Carmel, at which an official of this NGO declared that “a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict that relies on partition cannot be a just one. The partition resolution was based on the appropriation of part of Palestine, exceptionally granting it to the Zionist movement.”
  • A 2010 Mada al-Carmel-organized conference with statements by Hussein Abu Hussein, Chair of the Board of the Ittijah NGO network (of which Mada al Carmel is a member) that “Israel is a racist state, and a racist state cannot guarantee or create a culture of justice. It creates a racist and aggressive culture.”