Ford Foundation NGO Policy - Update
Summary: The Ford Foundation has made a commitment to review funding for NGOs and to halt support for those that exploit human rights and humanitarian claims in order to engage in demonization of Israel. Ford’s implemention of these promises is being monitored closely.
On July 15, 2003, NGO Monitor published the first analysis on "The Ford Foundation’s NGO-Related Middle East Activities.", drawing particular attention to the NGOs funded by Ford that engage in blatantly political anti-Israel activities. As noted, the Ford funded NGOs played a major role in the anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist literature used at the NGO Forum that eclipsed the World Conference against Racism held in Durban during 2001.
This article, and Edwin Black’s exposes published by the JTA led U.S. Congressmen Jerrold Nadler and Senator Rick Santorum to launch an investigative review of the Ford Foundation’s policies regarding such NGO’s.
In response, Ford Foundation President Susan V. Berresford initiated a review and declared that it would act to ensure that funds no longer went to "groups that promote or condone bigotry or violence, or that challenged the very existence of legitimate, sovereign states like Israel." (http://www.ngo-monitor.org/article.php?id=898)
Berresford pledged to immediately halt funding the Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights (LAW). (The decision to stop funding LAW was taken as four European countries and the European Union filed a criminal complaint against a LAW official for misusing donor funds.) (http://www.jta.org/ford.asp)
January 6, 2004:
The JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) reported that the Ford Foundation had hired Stuart Eizenstat, (a former Clinton official with ties to the Jewish community), to "help promote a new policy forbidding grant recipients from supporting terrorism or bigotry." (http://www.jta.org/ford.asp)
January 15, 2004:
NGO Monitor published an analysis of "Habitat International Coalition’s Anti-Israel Agenda", noting that, like LAW, this Ford funded NGO uses the human rights designation to pursue an anti-Israeli political agenda.
In response, Ford announced a review of funding for the HIC.
Additional Action Essential
The cessation of financial support for LAW and the review of funding to the HIC is an encouraging step. Nevertheless, it is essential for the Ford Foundation to review the funding of other NGOs active in the Middle East, in order to fulfill the pledge to halt funding to groups that promote or condone bigotry or violence, or that challenge "the very existence of legitimate, sovereign states like Israel."