NGO Monitor has systematically documented the European Union’s large-scale funding of political advocacy non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the role played by many of these NGOs in the Arab-Israeli conflict. As demonstrated, these activities and overall agendas do not advance the stated objectives of promoting democracy and human rights, and are often incompatible with promoting EU ideals and principles.1
This report provides a detailed analysis of funding from the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), which distributes more financial support to NGOs active in the Arab-Israeli conflict than to projects in any other country or part of the world. The analysis examines the uniquely large-scale and non-transparent nature of this funding, noting that decision making processes, as well as comprehensive data on funding after 2010, remain hidden from public scrutiny.
Our analysis points to the need for a wide-ranging public debate, including hearings in the European Parliament, to facilitate policies that will end the secrecy with which EIDHR and other frameworks allocate political NGO funding. There is also a need for transparent, independent, and professional evaluation of EU allocations to NGOs, and direct engagement with the Israeli government and Members of Knesset to establish agreed guidelines on the appropriate uses of taxpayer funds.
- NGO Monitor’s analysis of European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) funding in 2007-2010 (most recent available comprehensive data) reveals that the EU allocated highly disproportionate funding for NGO projects in Israel and the “OPT.”2 For this period, funding targeting “Israel,” “OPT,” and Israel/OPT (see below for definitions) received over€11 million –more than any other target country. Neither EIDHR nor the EU has presented any justification for this large budget.
- The decision making and evaluation processes by which EIDHR provides this large-scale funding for political advocacy NGOs is entirely hidden from public view, in violation of basic transparency requirements for democratic governance. The lack of recent data and evaluations regarding a central EU funding mechanism is inconsistent with the requirements for good governance and democratic oversight.
- Israel and the “OPT” are unique within the EIDHR funding framework: only in the case of Israel and the “OPT” did multiple EIDHR grants repeatedly target the same two political entities. The majority of these grants support NGOs that adopt and promote the Palestinian political narrative and engage in political warfare campaigns against Israel.
- Analysis of the EIDHR projects demonstrates a fundamental distortion in the EU’s perception of Israel, which is almost exclusively restricted to relations with Palestinians and with the Israeli-Arab minority. Important issues related to democracy and human rights in the complex and unique Israeli context are entirely missing from this agenda.
- In contrast, projects directed exclusively at the “OPT” addressed domestic human rights issues and democratic reforms.
- Syria, Iraq, Iran, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE received no funding for EIDHR projects directed at specific countries (“country-based support scheme”).
The European Commission disburses hundreds of millions of euros annually via aid frameworks to provide financial assistance to developing countries and promote EU principles abroad. One of the EU’s major financial assistance programs is the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR). With an approximate annual budget of €160 million, program objectives are to provide “support for the promotion of democracy and human rights in non-EU countries.”
Through EIDHR, EU funding is allocated to projects conducted by EU-selected NGOs and institutions. These projects revolve around EIDHR’s 10 focal themes: torture; democracy – rule of law; fighting impunity; economic, social and cultural rights; fundamental rights protection; gender women’s rights; human rights education capacity building; racism; discrimination; and children’s rights. The latest available comprehensive data on EIDHR worldwide funding is a compendium detailing all projects initiated in 2007-2010. The lack of recent data and evaluations regarding a central EU funding mechanism is, in itself, inconsistent with the requirements for good governance and democratic oversight.
This report presents a comparative analysis of 2007-2010 EIDHR funding in the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict, as directed to Israel and the “OPT” in relation to other beneficiary countries. The report also provides research into the activities of the organizations that receive EIDHR funding.
EIDHR Funding Frameworks 2007-2010?
EIDHR funds are generally divided into two categories “Global Based Support Scheme” (Global Scheme) and “Country-based support scheme” (Country Scheme).
The Global Scheme, involves a broad set of goals (such as opposing torture), in which NGOs receive support to implement a program directed at multiple countries and tailored to the specific circumstances of each.
The Country Scheme targets a specific country via NGO funding in order to realize a specific and local objective. In both schemes, EU representative offices throughout the world generally select the NGO grantees.
There is also another type of EIDHR funding, unique to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Israel and the “OPT” appear jointly as the targets for nine projects ostensibly addressing local, specific issues of human rights and democracy (see Table D in the appendix)3. As will be demonstrated, this is important because eight of the nine grants are for NGOs that adopt and promote the Palestinian political narrative and engage in political warfare campaigns against Israel.
Our analysis shows:
- For the years 2007-2010, local projects directed to Israel, local projects to “OPT,” and projects that address Israel and “OPT” jointly (Israel/OPT) received €11,472,593 in EIDHR grants –more than any other country.
- 44 projects were funded in these frameworks, which ranks fifth highest in terms of the number of projects.
- Israel and the “OPT” were the only recipients that received funding for 9 out of the 10 EIDHR focal themes.
- Israel and “OPT” received a majority (57%) of EIDHR funding directed at the Middle East, while Syria, Iraq, Iran, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE received no funding for EIDHR projects directed at specific countries.
Analysis of EIDHR projects directed at Israel and “OPT”
As noted, EIDHR grants have been allocated to Israel and the “OPT” in three ways: grants to projects directed jointly at both Israel and the “OPT” (Israel/OPT), grants to projects directed at Israel, and grants to projects directed at the “OPT.”
In the following section, we analyze the funding directed to each of these three categories. Our analysis shows that projects directed at the “OPT” dealt exclusively with local issues related to human rights and democracy. However, for projects directed at “Israel,” the objectives were more politically oriented and largely focused on the Arab-Israeli conflict; those projects not dealing with the West Bank and Gaza primarily focused on issues related to the Israeli-Arab population. Additionally, projects directed at Israel/OPT were for the large part carried out by organizations with a strong bias against Israel, as demonstrated by their political activities and agenda.
Table A: Overview of EIDHR Projects Directed at Israel and “OPT”
|Total Funding||# of Projects||Domestic||Conflict|
|Israel/ OPT||€2,569,368||9 Projects||0 Projects||9 Projects|
|Israel||€4,252,728||20 Projects||13 Projects (7 Dealing with Arab-Israeli Conflict)||7 Projects|
|"OPT"||€4,650,501||19 Projects||19 Projects||0 Projects|
EIDHR Grants Directed at Israel/OPTAdditionally, many of the NGOs chosen to promote EIDHR principles of human rights and democracy in Israel and the “OPT,” in particular in the context of the conflict, are highly political organizations with a strong bias against Israel. These EU-funded organizations regularly employ “apartheid” and other demonizing rhetoric, campaign for anti-Israel boycott efforts (BDS), actively lobby international frameworks, and engage in lawfare activities. Such political agendas and activities are inconsistent with the ideals and principles of EIDHR, as well as EU foreign policy.
- EIDHR funded 9 projects, totaling €2,569,368, for projects directed at “Israel/ OPT.”
- Eight of these are carried out by highly politicized NGOs that promote the Palestinian political narrative and engage in political warfare campaigns against Israel that are incompatible with universal human rights agenda.
- For example, in 2010, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) was awarded an EIDHR grant of €169,661. ICAHD presents a one-sided perspective on the conflict, including accusations of “ethnic cleansing,” “genocide,” “collective punishment,” and “apartheid.” This rhetoric reflects a pre-existing bias that prevents achieving the stated EIDHR goals.
- Al-Maqdese received €200,000 via EIDHR in 2010. This NGO focuses on alleged “Israeli violations of Palestinians’ rights” in Jerusalem. Al-Maqdese accuses Israel of “racist” practices, “ethnic cleansing,” and “ruthless, unforgiving, inhumane and above all illegal” actions. It also uses demonizing rhetoric, such as “Apartheid Wall” and “ghettos.”
- In 2008-2010, Yesh Din received two EIDHR grants totaling € 473,946, one aimed at pushing for investigations of Israeli security personnel. Yesh Din is a leader in attempts to portray Israel and its security forces as unaccountable to the rule of law, as part of a wider strategy of bringing false “war crimes” cases against Israeli officials in foreign courts and in the International Criminal Court (ICC). This NGO employs demonization and “apartheid” rhetoric in some of its activities, exploiting the language of human rights for political and ideological objectives.
- In 2009, Adalah (and two other political advocacy NGOs, not listed in the compendium) received €627,526 for “combating and preventing torture and ill-treatment of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons and Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.” Adalah, repeatedly attempts to portray Israel as anti-democratic and racist, including frequent events in the UN and EU frameworks. In the wake of the Goldstone Report, Adalah also urged governments to “re-evaluate their relationship with Israel.” Adalah’s involvement in legal warfare against Israel includes a 2008 legal opinion submitted to a Spanish court in support of the Palestinian Center for Human Right’s case against Israeli officials, and a “re-assessment of Israel’s practices in the occupied Palestinian territories under international law,” published in collaboration with Al-Haq.
- Both Yesh Din and Adalah are also current recipients of EIDHR funding.
- For a complete list of organizations receiving EIDHR grants for projects directed at Israel/OPT, see Table B.
EIDHR Grants Directed at Israel
- EIDHR funded 20 projects, totaling €4,252,728, for activities targeting “Israel.”
- Analysis of the aims and objectives of the projects reveals that 7 out of the 20 grants focused entirely on the Arab-Israeli conflict and were politically oriented.
- For instance, B’Tselem was awarded €99,717 in 2007 for a project titled “Visual impact: documenting the seldom seen.” The project was expressly political and one-sided, aiming to “use film and video material to document the context and humanitarian toll of Israeli policy on the 3.5 million Palestinians in The West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.”
- This project was part of B’Tselem’s central political goal of opposing the occupation and Israel’s policy towards the West Bank and Gaza.
- Of the remaining 13 grants, 7 focused primarily on issues related to the Israeli-Arab population. The extensive focus on the Israeli-Arab population was an inherent design feature of the EIDHR program, as detailed in EIDHR’s application guidelines for activities directed at “Israel.”
- In 2010, the NGO Bimkom (Planners for Planning Rights) was granted €174,116 “to promote equality in the field of housing, infrastructure, services, employment areas and resources for development in Arab localities and thus close the gaps that exist between the Arab and Jewish population” (emphasis added).
- For a complete list of organizations receiving EIDHR grants for projects directed at “Israel,” see Table C.
EIDHR Grants Directed at the “OPT”
- EIDHR funded 19 projects, totaling €4,650,501, for activities in the “OPT.”
- As opposed to EIDHR projects aimed at Israel, which focused primarily on the Arab-Israeli conflict, EIDHR projects directed at the “OPT” exclusively addressed domestic human rights issues and democratic reforms.
- For instance, in 2010, EIDHR awarded The Palestinian Institution for Development and Democracy €104,300 for a project called: “Save the Water Strengthening Local Self-government in Palestine.” The project seeks to “increase the understanding of democracy and human rights of three local Palestinian communities as to develop self-governance and inter-institutional dialogue using the experience of wastewater re-use.”
- Holy Land Trust also received EIDHR funding. Holy Land Trust supports BDS and the Kairos Palestine document. The Kairos Palestine document calls for BDS against Israel, denies the Jewish historical connection to Israel in theological terms, and blames Israel solely for the continuation of the conflict. Its purpose is to rally churches globally to support BDS, delegitimization, and demonization directed at the State of Israel.
- For a complete list of organizations receiving EIDHR grants for projects directed at the “OPT,” see Table D.
- NGO Monitor’s June 2013 report “Lack of Due Diligence and Transparency in European Union Funding for Radical NGOs: EIDHR and PfP Grants for Coalition of Women for Peace” highlighted extensive and secretive EU funding for pro-boycott organizations, including the Coalition of Women for Peace and its radical anti-Israel partners. See NGO Monitor’s website for more details on problematic European Union funding for political NGOs.
- “OPT” (Occupied Palestinian Territories) is a political, not a legal, term used by the EIDHR compendium.
- Indeed, in discussing EIDHR, the Delegation of the European Union to Israel website conflates the two geographic areas: “The programme functions on a country level by supporting actions in Israel and monitoring the human rights situation both in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”
|Adalah||Combating and Preventing Torture and Ill-Treatment of Palestinian Prisoners and Palestinian Civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT)||€627,526||2009|
|Yesh Din||Investigation of Israeli Security Personnel||€247,946||2008|
|Access to Lands Advocacy Project||€226,000||2010|
|Al-Maqdese||Ending Exploitation of East Jerusalem Workers in the Israeli Settlements: Protction of Human Rights and Promotion of Democratic Representatives||€200,000||2010|
|Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions||House Demolitions and the Law||€169,661||2010|
|Rabbis for Human Rights||Legal Aid to Combat Land Takeovers from Palestinians in the South Hebron Hills||€160,953||2009|
|Cyprus Neuroscience and Technology Institute||Human Rights and Reconciliation-Civil Society Acts Beyond Borders||€699,890||2010|
|Women's Fund for Human Rights||Machsom Watch: Women for Human Rights||€77,632||2010|
|Legal Center for Freedom of Movement Association (Gisha)||Delivering the Message on Gaza: A New Human Rights Framework||€160,000||2011|
|B'Tselem||Preventing Torture Through Accountability||€502,953||2008|
|Visual Impact: Documenting the Seldom Seen||€99,717||2007|
|Kav Laoved||Implementation of Justice for West Bank Palestinians Employed by Israelis||€85,571||2010|
|Al-Awna Fund||A Master Plan for the Unrecognized Bedouin Villages: Securing Minority Rights for Housing and Social Services||€195,859||2009|
|Advocating a Just Solution for the Issue of Unrecognized Bedouin Villages: Securing Minority Rights for Housing and Social Services||€193,574||2011|
|Planners for Planning Rights (Bimkom)||Advancing Implementation of the Committee Recommendations in the Field of Planning and Land for the Arab Minority||€174,116||2010|
|Ir Amim||Enhancing Palestinian Civil Society: A Joint Israeli-Palestinian Program to Promote Palestinian Rights in East Jerusalem||€965,040||2010|
|Yesh Din||Israeli Security Forces Criminal Accountability Under International Humanitarian Law||€150,000||2011|
|ACRI||The West Bank Human Rights Defenders Action||€200,000||2011|
|Towards Sustainable Democracy: Reinforcing Respect for Human Rights and Democracy While Delegitimizing Racism||€231,759||2009|
|E'Alam Friendly Society||Freedom of Expression as a Basic Human Right Guiding Human Rights Sensitive Media Practice in Israel||€130,625||2011|
|Ma'an Forum of Negev Arab Bedouin Women's Center for Educational Technology||Bedouin Women-Men Roundtable Discussions||€47,440||20009|
|Democracy and Human Rights Defenders||€168,314||2011|
|Human Rights Defenders||€196,435||2009|
|Hebrew University||Fostering the Next Generation of Human Rights Leadership in Israel||€191,991||2009|
|Enhancing the Role of israeli Civil Society in the Internationalization of Israelis, International Human Rights Commitments and in the Work of UN Treaty Monitoring Bodies||€183,050||2011|
|The Arab Center for Alternative Planning||Promoting Equality in Planning for the Arab Minority in Through Due Representation in State Planning Institutions||€157,319||2009|
|The Follow Up Committee on Arab Education Association||A Comprehensive Framework for Arab Education in Israel: Goals, Legal Status and a Pedagogic Council||€122,106||2009|
|Mossawa Center||The Coalition Against Racism: Fighting Racism, Building Solidarity Between Communities in Israel||€196,880||2011|
|Dirasat Arab Center for Law and Policy||Enhancing Rights to Education in the Arab Palestinian Community in Israel: Arab Teacher Training||€59,979||2010|
|Treatment & Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torture||Sustaining and Enhancing Comprehensive, Community-Based Service Delivery to Victims of Torture and Politically Motivated Violence in the North and South of the West Bank||€1,199,874||2009|
|Breaking the Silence, Saying No to Torture||€627,482||2009|
|Palestinian Institution for Development and Democracy||Save the Water and Strengthening Local Self-Government in Palestine||€104,300||2010|
|Aman Association||Enhancing the Effectiveness of an Independent Judiciary and Empowering Civil Society's Monitoring Role on the Judiciary||€206,865||2010|
|Palestinian Center for the Independence of Judiciary and the Legal Profession||Institution Building the Need for a Constitutional Court in Palestine||€93,347||2009|
|Internews Middle East||Media & Security... Consolidating the Bridges||€187,245||2010|
|Bridging Gaps- Security Forces & Journalists Rights||€159,968||2008|
|Democracy and Workers Rights Center||Protecting the Trade Union Rights and Uniting Efforts to Influence Socio-Economic Policies||€198,088||2009|
|Qeiadat Association||Leaders Organization Lawyers for Citizens' Rights||€76,549||2009|
|Al-Dameer||Contributing the the Respect, Protection and Promotion of the Right to Freedom of Association||€165,882.53||2010|
|Contributing to the Respect, Protection and Promotion of Children's Rights Through Enabling Children to Claim Their Rights, and Empowering Civil Society to Promote and Respect Children's Rights||€190,000||2008|
|Holy Land Trust||Palestinian TV Series on: Human Rights Under the Ruling of the PNA||€198,380.80||2008|
|Sharek Youth Forum||Spread the Word: Youth Journalists for Human Rights||€93,241.60||2008|
|Women's Studies Center Association||Aman-Combating Sexual Violence in the Palestinian Society||€300,000||2010|
|Hadaf Center for Human Rights||Promoting Youth Human Rights and Civic Engagement||€69,219||2008|
|Palestinian Consultative Staff for Developing NGOs in Jenin Association||Capacity Building CBOS (Community Based Organizations) in Democracy and Human Rights Field in Jenin Governorate||€128,851||2008|
|NGO Development Center||Strengthening Good Governance Within the Palestinian NGO Sector||€193,242||2008|
|Early Childhood Resource Center||Utilizing and Activating Media for Promoting and Spreading Children's Rights||€187,026.80||2008|
|Palestinian Center for Democracy and Conflict Resolution||Community-Based Protection for Children in GS From Sexual Abuse||€270,942.12||2010|