Following the October 7th Hamas massacre, the Swedish government commissioned a review of its funding for Palestinians, seeking information on whether “Swedish funds go to actors that do not unconditionally condemn Hamas, that commit violence, threaten or encourage violence against the State of Israel or its population, or pursue an antisemitic agenda, nor to people associated with such actors.” After the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) submitted an initial report, which failed to address these points and did not examine NGO statements and social media posts, the government ordered a supplemental review on December 7, 2023. (See NGO Monitor’s analysis of the original review.)

The supplemental review,  published on February 16, 2024, again whitewashes Sweden-funded Palestinian NGOs that justified and celebrated the October 7th attacks, denied Hamas’ atrocities, and continued to advance antisemitism. As detailed below, Sida was able to assert that its NGO grantees did not support Hamas’ brutal attacks against Israeli civilians because it simply did not review the most problematic NGOs, as identified in several NGO Monitor’s reports, and also deliberately and completely excluded hateful rhetoric posted by NGO officials. 

The supplemental review also reflected several fundamental flaws that prevented a proper evaluation of Sweden’s NGO grantees, including a false claim regarding vetting by other countries and an analysis of antisemitism conducted by a consulting firm with no experience on this crucial topic. The manipulation of the process  allowed Sida to repeat its conclusion that “the vast majority of [organization] statements either condemn Hamas, often in contexts where Israel is also criticized for its warfare, or generally distance themselves from all forms of violence against civilians and violations of international humanitarian law.” This is a marked reversal of Sida’s original and more accurate assessment, which claimed that expecting NGO grantees to “‘unilaterally condemn Hamas,’ …would exclude cooperation with virtually all of Sida’s partners.”

Sida Removed Highly Problematic Palestinian NGO Grantees from the Review

Annex 3 of Sida’s supplemental review is limited to the activities of the NGOs and agencies that are directly funded by Sida, as well as the findings of an external examination of these grantees’ statements and social media posts. 

However, through this artificially narrow scope, Sida’s review excluded the most problematic Palestinian NGOs funded by Sweden – Badil, Al-Haq, Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCI-P), and Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR). 

Three of the four are part of the Human Rights Programme Palestine 2018-2023, which is wholly funded by Sida but administered by a Ramallah-based NGO, NGO Development Center (NDC); in fact, the Swedish government decides “which organizations will ultimately be included in the programme, and also decides about the size of the financial support that will be granted to each of the organizations.” Based on the thin pretext that the money flows through NDC, Sida only reviewed the outer shell, as distinct from actual intended NGO recipients of this funding. The fourth recipient is a partner on a Swedish-funded project with Save the Children; here, too, the partners on the project were not reviewed. (See “Examples of Sweden-Funded NGOs that Justified Hamas’ Attack and Denied Atrocities” for examples that Sida ignored.) 

Furthermore, instead of including reviews of the NGOs funded via NDC, Sida merely noted that several were “also reviewed by other donors (by Denmark, Finland, Germany, Switzerland and the EU) in connection with the attacks on 7 October… in no case have these reviews up to today’s date resulted in terminated agreements,” although “Germany may in the future review its cooperation with two of the 8 organizations that are part of the Swedish support.”  

This statement is blatantly false. In fact , Germany terminated contracts with Al-Haq and DCI-P, and this was known before Sida’s review was published:

 According to a November 2023 article published by Deutsche Welle, citing a spokesperson from the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Palestinian NGO Al-Haq would no longer receive German funds. The spokesperson further explained that “organizations that supported armed resistance to Israel were not appropriate partners” (emphasis added).

  • On February 13, 2024, German news outlet Frankfurter Allgemeine reported that Germany would end all new funding to six Israeli-designated PFLP-linked NGOs, including Al-Haq and DCI-P, confirming Deutsche Welle’s report from November 2023.

With regards to PCHR, in November 2023, Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) announced it ended its funding to this NGO over breach of FDFA’s Code of Conduct. Swiss media, citing FDFA’s Head of communications, revealed that the reason for the end of the contractual relationship between FDFA and PCHR was the latter’s problematic attitudes towards violence

Sida Erased NGO Antisemitism

According to Sida, “A search was also made, as part of the external study, for anti-Semitic posts. But no such posts were identified.” This refers to an examination done by Dcipher Analytics, a company with offices in Sweden and Istanbul, Turkey with which Sida contracted for this audit.

First, this artificially narrows the scope of the inquiry from examining whether the NGO grantees broadly “pursue an antisemitic agenda” to whether the NGO posted antisemitic content during a specific timeframe (see below). 

Second, there is no indication that Dcipher Analytics, or Sida for that matter, has any expertise in identifying antisemitism. 

Third, Sweden has endorsed the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism. It is inconceivable that, had NGO and UN rhetoric and agendas been benchmarked against the IHRA definition, no such examples would be found. In fact, as extensively documented by NGO Monitor, Sida-funded NGOs and UN agencies are among the leaders of promoting an antisemitic anti-Israel agenda in the international arena. (See, for instance, NGO Monitor reports on Badil, Al-Haq, and Al-Haq’s Antisemitic Submission to the UN’s Permanent COI.)

Sida Erased Rhetoric Promoting Violence by NGO Officials

Sida artificially limited its review to “the organizations’ external communication” and conveniently did not relate to statements and social media posts by NGO officials.

This methodological flaw is reflected in the case of Mustafa Barghouthi, the Founder and President of the Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS) receiving $5.2 million from Sida for a program titled “Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Palestine (2021-2025).” 

According to Sida, “PMRS has expressed a clear rejection of violence against civilians and violations of international humanitarian law regardless of who committed them.” Therefore, Sida “see[s] no obstacle to continued collaboration.”

In contrast, Barghouti praised Hamas’ attack and repeatedly denied the systematic rape of Israeli women during the atrocities. See final section below for examples. 

Sida Used Narrow Terms of Reference to Exonerate NGOs Sympathetic to Hamas

When evaluating grantees, Sida employed an artificially narrow interpretation of the review’s terms of reference. An NGO statement would be considered objectionable, only if it explicitly “praised or excused…Hamas’ attacks.”   However, statements that justify the use of violence in general were excluded. Examples include Palestinian NGO claims to a “principled right of an occupied people to defend itself, citing international humanitarian law” – a standard sanitized means of justifying Hamas’ attacks. 

Sida Limited the Timeframe of Its Review, Eliminating Key Data

The review exclusively relates to NGOs that were being funded by Sweden in 2023, ignoring NGOs that were previously supported and are presumably eligible for future funding. Moreover, Sida only analyzed NGO statements from July 2023 until January 12, 2024. 

Both aspects prevent a full consideration of Sweden’s NGO funding and its contribution to the environment that enabled the October 7th massacre. 

As explained above, the Sida audit did not cover the partners of a Sweden-funded Save the Children project, including PCHR. Even if the latter NGO had been analyzed, a PCHR statement endorsing “armed struggle” (terror) would have been missed because it was published in May 2023.

In a May 13 statement, PCHR responded to combat between Israel and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) with a statement in which it “affirms the Palestinian people to resist the occupation by all available means, including armed struggle….” Following pressure from European donors, PCHR revised the text to read: “to resist the occupation by all legitimate means in accordance with international law.”

This episode and many others demonstrates  PCHR’s unsuitability as a partner on Swedish-funded projects. 

Examples of Sweden-Funded NGOs that Justified Hamas’ Attack and Denied Atrocities but were Excluded from the Review

The supplemental review states that “an examination has been made of the material that NGO Monitor has on its site about the statements of various organizations after October 7, but without having found any examples of Sida’s partners in their external communications praising or defending Hamas attacks.” 

Contrary to this claim, NGO Monitor has compiled extensive evidence of officials from Swedish-funded NGOs that blatantly justify and support  Hamas’ attack, and deny the atrocities committed by Palestinian terrorists. (As noted above, Sida systematically  ignored these examples in its review.)

BADIL (Funded by Sweden through the Human Rights Programme Palestine 2018-2023 project)

  • On October 9, BADIL tweeted, “Impunity and double standards are no longer acceptable! In pursuit for their liberation, the Palestinian people have an equal right to resist.”
  • On October 8, BADIL tweeted, “Nothing about the Palestinian resistance is unprovoked. The Palestinian people have been suffering for 75 years of colonial-apartheid regime, ethnic cleansing, forcible transfer/displacement…massacres on Palestinian towns, desecration of Palestinian holy sites…In seeking the inalienable rights of self-determination and return, resistance is the most human and legitimate act” (emphasis added).
  • In December 2023, BADIL published a report headlined “The Palestinian People Have a Right to Armed Struggle by Virtue of their Inalienable Right to Self-Determination,” blatantly denying the right of Israel to exist. According to BADIL “It is important to note that the establishment of the State of Palestine on the pre-1967 borders does not realize the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people, and so does not preclude the legitimacy of their collective acts in pursuit of self-determination. Rather, as long as their right to self-determination is not fully implemented by all and for all, the right to resist is activated, irrespective of whether or not a state for (some) Palestinians has been created and is gradually recognized by members of the international community” (emphasis in original).
  • BADIL features on its website a presentation titled “What have we learned from four months of the Israeli genocidal war on the Gaza Strip?” In it, a picture of Palestinians celebrating on the rests of an Israeli tank destroyed on October 7 attack and the caption “The resilience of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip is phenomenal, and their continued resistance is effective and capable of achieving victory.”


Palestinian Medical Relief Society (Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Palestine, 2021-2024)

  • On October 7, 2023, President Mustafa Barghouti declared: “Today is a glorious day for the Palestinian resistance and people. The resistance paid with interest for the attacks of the terrorist settlers, and for the attacks against the Al-Aqsa Mosque. It paid with interest for those who normalize [their relations] with the occupation.”
  • On December 6, 2023, Baghouthi tweeted: “The Israeli establishment and government are conducting a black media campaign spreading the false propaganda about rape of Israeli women on the 7th of October to justify the horrific war crimes they are committing in Gaza. American media itself revoked the allegations of rape.”
  • According to Wattan, during a demonstration held “in support of the resistance in Gaza” on October 10, PMRS President Mustafa Barghouti stated, “These marches affirm the Palestinian people’s support in the resistance and that the Palestinian people is united wherever it is.”
  • On October 7, in an interview with Al Jazeera, Barghouti stated, “This initiative by the resistance that we have seen is a response to Israeli settlers terror that has been taking place all over the West Bank with the protection of the Israeli army. It is a response to the fact that the Israeli army and the settler terrorists killed 248 Palestinians, including 40 children. It is a reaction to the attacks on the Aqsa mosque and the process of judaization of not only Jerusalem and the Aqsa mosque but the whole of the West Bank…but maybe politically it is also a response to those who thought that through normalization with the Arab countries they can liquidate and marginalize the Palestinian issue. It is coming back in the most possible forcible way…It shows that Israel is not almighty and also it shows what Palestinians can do when they are determined to resist for their freedom…”

Al-Haq (Human Rights Programme Palestine 2018-2023)

  • On October 10, Al-Haq Head of the Training and Capacity Building Unit Ziad Hmaidan wrote on Facebook, “It is written in the Hadith: ‘You must wage jihad. The best jihad is preparing for war, and it is best to prepare for war in Ashkelon’.”
  • On October 10, Al-Haq Legal Researcher and Advocacy Officer Ahmed Abofoul tweeted, “It is outrageous to call on Palestinian resistance (permitted by international law) to CEASE its attacks while asking the occupying power ONLY to respect IHL.”
  • On October 12, Al-Haq Legal Researcher and Advocacy Officer Aseel Al-Bajeh tweeted, “We don’t need to speak of our right to resist, for it is not a right, but a way of being & survival for Palestinians. We don’t demand our right to narrate. Our ability to narrate was never out of our hands & resistance doesn’t need the pre- approval of static int’l law codes. Its not ‘our duty to expose the bloody barbarism of zionism, their actions as a fascist state & a ruthless army are more than sufficient to undertake this task. We remain attached to our land & in our humanity, as Pal Arabs no need to prove our humanity to those who have lost it.”
  • On October 9, Hmaidan shared a picture on Facebook of a Palestinian terrorist Ibrahim Nabulsi aiming a gun, and wrote, “A message of intense love. The picture of one of the men of the ‘flood’ [referring to the name ‘the flood of Al-Aqsa’ given by Hamas to the murderous October 7 attacks], during a confrontation in one of the [israeli] bases that was stormed [by Palestinian terrorists]. This picture carries a thousand signs and meanings. Observe the picture that the sniper of the flood stuck on his rifle. Do you recognize who is in the picture? This is the intense love is for Ibrahim [Nabulsi].”
  • On October 9, Hmaidan posted on Facebook, “To Palestine alone we give everything, until it is pleased. And for what the world wants – may it go to hell.”
  • On October 7, Al-Bajeh tweeted by quoting Hamas head Ismail Haniyeh, “Leave our land, get out of our faces.”

Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P) (Human Rights Programme Palestine 2018-2023)

  • On October 8, 2023, DCI-P Advocacy Officer Miranda Cleland tweeted, “It is beyond insulting and blatantly racist to assume Palestinians resisting Israeli colonization & trying to take back their landwill result in anti-Semitic attacks in DC. What a joke” (emphasis added). Cleland shared a statement by the Mayor of DC condemning the Hamas attacks and committing to protect the Jewish community in DC.

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR; partner of a Sweden-funded project with Save the Children)

  • On October 7, 2023, PCHR Fundraising and Program Officer Feda’a Murjan posted on Facebook, “We will truly step in our land. Allah, you are our protector and supporter.”
  • During the May 2023 conflict between Israel and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), PCHR published a statement in which it “affirms the Palestinian people to resist the occupation by all available means, including armed struggle….”