The funding policy of the Ford Foundation has been analyzed previously by NGO Monitor, drawing particular attention to the NGOs funded by Ford that engage in blatantly political anti-Israel activities. On 15 March 2004, NGO Monitor published an update to ongoing investigations of Ford’s activities. Following publicity generated by NGO Monitor and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, 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."
Some progress was noted, as Ford ceased funding for the Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights (LAW) and initiated a review of funding for the anti-Israel Habitat International Coalition (HIC). However, a number of recipients of Ford funding have continued to take part in anti-Israel activities that warrant a close review in the framework of the Ford Foundation’s funding policy.
Ford is listed as a donor to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), an organization analyzed by NGO Monitor that played a major role in the 2001 Durban conference and has demonstrated that its primary objective is the political and ideological demonization of Israel, in sharp contrast to its claims to promote universal human rights.
PCHR, along with other Palestinian NGOs funded by Ford, demonstrated their anti-Israel agenda following the assassination of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. In March 2004 NGO Monitor cited PCHR’s exploitation of the rhetoric of human rights to condemn Israel’s “illegal and excessive use of force” and in referring to the killing of Yassin as “an act of state terrorism”. Similarly, the Ford funded Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy (MIFTAH) cynically condemned “Israel’s cold blooded murder” as a “calculated measure aimed at a quadriplegic wheelchair-bound elderly man” and “an assault on all Palestinians”.
In their press statements, MIFTAH and PCHR repeated the standard PLO demand for “international intervention”, while ignoring Palestinian responsibility for the ongoing terrorism that continues to destroy the aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians alike. The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network, another organization receiving funding from Ford, also chose to highlight criticism of the assassination of Yassin through links on its website to politicized Palestinian NGOs.
Following the initial responses to the revelations of Ford’s role in funding anti-Israel NGOs such as PCHR, MIFTAH and the EMHRN, the Foundation has not moved quickly 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." The NGOs mentioned above continue to promote an anti-Israel political agenda. However, Ford’s general guidelines have been incorporated in contracts for grants provided to universities. The Wall Street Journal of 6 May reported that this has led to some protests, based on the charge that these requirements could threaten academic freedom by inhibiting campus presentations of partisan lectures or films. However, according to press reports, two dozen universities have signed the new grant agreements without comment, and the Rockefeller Foundation has adopted similar guidelines. Alex Wilde, a spokesman for the Ford Foundation, said his organization is committed to academic freedom and plans to discuss the concerns with the schools. (Associated Press – 6 May 2004)