In June 2009, three EU- and NIF-funded NGOs – B’Tselem, HaMoked, and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I) – lobbied the EU “to link the upgrade of EU-Israel relations to respect for human rights and the rule of law.” These groups insisted that the EU impose demands on Israel including: “[an] immediate end to the closure of the Gaza Strip,” “full cooperation with the [Goldstone] UN Fact-finding mission,” and “a criminal investigation into every allegation of torture or ill-treatment of Palestinians in Israeli interrogations” (emphasis added).

The NGO campaign against the EU-Israel upgrade has been a central aspect of their political agenda since June 2008. In February 2009,  Al-Haq, Alternative Information Center, Defense of Children International, Ittijah, and Joint Advocacy Initiative at the YMCA called for the “annulment of the planned upgrade, and the potential suspension” of economic and other agreements between the EU and Israel.