NGO Legislation: Factsheet on Government Funding
- A new proposal by Israeli Minister of Justice, Ayelet Shaked has refocused attention on foreign government funding for Israeli NGOs. It is essential that accurate information inform the discussion, regardless of the position one takes on the various initiatives and proposals.
- Detailed NGO Monitor research shows that foreign governments provide an estimated €100 million annually to Israeli, Palestinian and international NGOs involved politically in the Arab-Israeli conflict.
- The existing Israeli “Law on Disclosure Requirements For [Groups] Supported by a Foreign Governmental Body” (NGO Transparency Law – February 2011) provides a useful framework to inform the Israeli public about foreign government funding.
- According to the Israeli Registrar of Non-profits, as of August 11, 2015, 24 political advocacy NGOs involved in the Arab-Israel conflict received NIS 135,121,435 ($35M) between January 2012 – August 2015. A number of NGOs that are known to receive foreign funding did not report.
- The data highlight funding from the European Union (NIS 21,327,571) and Norway (NIS 15,597,81) to those 24 NGOs alone, and these in turn affect the Israeli public discourse on political issues.
- According to the available data (the EU and many individual states do not practice full transparency on NGO funding), the scale of this funding for Israel is unique. No other democracy gets nearly as much foreign government funding as in the Israeli case.
- Foreign government funding impacts some of the most sensitive political aspects of the conflict:
- In 2011-2013, the Norwegian Refugee Council, funded by Norway, UK, EU, and Sweden, budgeted over $20 million for legal advocacy, including international delegitimization campaigns. As of 2013, NRC funded 677 cases via NGOs in Israeli courts, mainly in sensitive subjects in the center of the Israeli public debate. NRC partners in Israel include Yesh Din, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), St. Yves, Hamoked, Bimkom, and Gisha.
- The Israeli NGO Zochrot, which works toward “recognizing and materializing the right of return” (meaning the elimination of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people), receives over 80% of its income from Christians charities, most of which are themselves funded extensively by European governments.