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Key Findings

  • The Swiss government provides millions of Swiss francs annually – through direct and indirect funding processes at the federal, cantonal, and municipal level – to highly politicized non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Switzerland, Europe, US, Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza.
  • Grants are provided to NGOs that demonize Israel and support BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions). These NGOs have no competence or experience in the areas for which they are officially funded, such as promotion of peace or the development of democratic and economic norms.
  • Funding for these NGOs often lacks transparency. NGO Monitor research has identified several government grants that have not been reported on Swiss government websites.
  • NGOs receive Swiss federal funding through the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and three large church-based organizations – Diakonia (a Swedish NGO), HEKS, and Caritas Switzerland. NGOs also receive funding through development projects sponsored by the Geneva Canton and Geneva Municipality.

Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)

  • The goal of the SDC is “reducing poverty,” fostering “economic self-reliance and state autonomy,” and providing “better access to education and basic healthcare services.” Regarding Gaza and the West Bank, SDC claims to work toward “building a democratic and viable Palestinian state, and to enhancing the prospects of peace for Palestinians.”
  • Some SDC funding to Israeli and Palestinian NGOs is channeled through a governmental donor consortium jointly operated by Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, and the Netherlands, known as the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (“the Secretariat”). Switzerland contributed CHF 3 million for 2013-2017. Click here for more information on the Secretariat .
    • The funds are managed by the Institute of Law at Birzeit University (IoL-BZU) and a European multidisciplinary consulting company, NIRAS.
    • In February 2014, IoL-BZU published a 15-page report, “Advocating for Palestinian Rights in conformity with International Law: Guidelines” (English and Arabic). This document is a strategic manual for exploiting legal terms and rhetoric to demonize and isolate Israel internationally (“lawfare”), as well as to emphasize that Israel regardless of its borders is among “racist regimes which are absolutely prohibited in their entirety.” This report was posted prominently on the Human Rights Secretariat Facebook page.
    • At the conference on which the report is based, Secretariat Manager Mustafa Mari, of IoL-BZU, chaired a session where participants discussed Israel’s “colonial policy that dated back at least to the 1930s” and the “need for new legal frameworks which make the occupation illegal, criminalize Israeli practices, and support unification of Palestine and Palestinians.” Mari previously worked at Al Haq, a leader in legal warfare against Israel and a Secretariat funding recipient.
    • In March 2014, the Secretariat announced $10.5 million in funding, over three years, for 24 Israeli and Palestinian NGOs. While claiming to promote peace and the rule of law, NGOs engage in legal warfare (“lawfare”) against Israeli officials and companies that do business with Israel, promote BDS, and exploit a false “apartheid” analogy to demonize Israel.
    • In August 2014, The Secretariat announced “emergency funding” to nine Israeli and Palestinian NGOs to “document the violations by all parties of human rights and international humanitarian law arising from the armed conflict.” Switzerland donated CHF 100,000 to this fund. All nine of these NGOs (Al-Dameer, B’Tselem, Badil, Breaking the Silence, DCI-Palestine, Al Mezan, Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Women’s Affairs Center, Women’s Affairs Technical Committee) have extensively accused Israel of unsubstantiated “war crimes,” while disregarding clear Hamas human rights violations. In addition, some of these NGOs played a pivotal role in providing dubious and inaccurate statements to the discredited 2009 UN Goldstone inquiry.
      • Badil is a group that promotes Palestinian “right of return” and leads international BDS campaigns. In 2010 it signed a document explicitly rejecting the Roadmap for Peace and the Arab Peace Initiative, in sharp contradiction to the goals and policies of its government sponsors. Badil also sponsors annual “right of return contests” in which it has published antisemitic cartoons on its website, as well as imagery denying Israel’s right to exist. After the antisemitic cartoons were revealed by NGO Monitor in 2010, the Swiss government announced a funding freeze for this NGO; it appears that funding has been renewed.
    • In September 2014, the Secretariat approved project funding for the period of September 2014 to August 2015. Over $1.2 million was authorized for 20 NGOs, many of which accuse Israel of “de-Palestinization,” “apartheid,” “colonization,” “collective punishment,” “forced displacement,” “violations of religious and cultural rights,” “repression,” “restricting movement,” “water theft,” and a “ghettoization project,” as well as support BDS campaigns and agendas1
  • SDC provides direct funding to the following NGOs:
  • The Swiss government does not provide comprehensive information on its funding activities, demonstrating a lack of transparency. In addition to the funding disclosed by the SDC, independent research reveals Swiss government funding for the following organizations2:
    • Adalah received NIS 211,797 (approximately CHF 53,000) in 2013 and NIS 204,290 (approximately CHF 51,072) in 2012 from the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. Adalah engages in legal warfare: in 2008 the group submitted a legal opinion to a Spanish court in support of Palestinian Center for Human Right’s case against Israeli officials for alleged “war crimes” (the case was thrown out of court). Submitted a report to the UN Commission of Inquiry into the 2014 Gaza War, falsely alleging that “ Israel’s investigations…fall far short of the international standards”; in 2009, Adalah urged governments to “ re-evaluate their relationship with Israel” following the 2009 Goldstone report. In 2007, Adalah published a “Democratic Constitution” that called for supplanting the Jewish foundation of Israel with a “democratic, bilingual and multicultural” framework in which Jewish immigration would be restricted to “humanitarian reasons.”
    • Terrestrial Jerusalem received NIS 211,868 (approximately CHF 115,274) from the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs in 2012-2013 for the “Jerusalem Geopolitical project” (see Appendix 1.H). Terrestrial Jerusalem promotes a one-sided approach to the conflict that blames only Israel for the failure of the peace process. The group intensively lobbies against policies and projects undertaken by the Israeli government and Jerusalem municipality designed to benefit Jerusalem’s residents, both Arab and Jewish.
    • Parents Circle Families Forum (PCFF) received NIS 392,278 (approximately CHF 100,000) from the Swiss government in 2012-2013. PCFF’s activities promote a highly biased view of the conflict based on the Palestinian narrative, and morally equate terror victims and terrorists.

Swiss Federal Government funding to NGOs in Palestinian Authority/Israel

OrganizationAmount (CHF)
Secretariat (24+ NGOs) - SDC3 mil (2013-2017)
100,000 (2014)
ARIJ - SDC1.15 mil (2012-2014)
Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)- SDC400,000 (2014-2015)
Oxfam Great Britain-SDC3.62 mil (2011-2015)
3.4 mil (2011-2017)
Gaza Community Mental Health Programme - SDC2.2 mil ( 2011-2013)
100,000 (2014)
Adalah- MFA53,000 (2013)
51,072 (2012)
Terrestrial Jerusalem –MFA115,274 (2012-2013)
Parents Circle Families Forum - Unknown100,000 (2012-2013)

SDC Funding for International Aid Organizations

  • In response to the 2014 Gaza War, the SDC “allocated an additional CHF 4.15 million for its long term partners on the ground working to meet humanitarian needs created by the armed conflict.”
  • This amount included CHF 100,000 in SDC emergency funding for “Palestinian and Israeli NGOs” channeled through the Secretariat (discussed above) in order to “document the violations by all parties of human rights and international humanitarian law arising from the armed conflict.”
  • This emergency funding was in addition to millions already provided to the international institutions listed below:
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) received CHF 2.3 million (2013-2016). This includes CHF 1 million in emergency funding for Gaza in 2014.
  • The highly politicized UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) received a total of CHF 4.6 million (2012-2014), including emergency funding for Gaza in 2014 of CHF 1 million.
  • The UN High Commissioner of Human Rights received CHF 1.63 million 2012-2015 for a program called “Support to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the occupied Palestinian territory” to “allow the institution to strengthen its capacities in terms of legal analysis, communication and advocacy, particularly on East Jerusalem, and to fully implement its mandate, entrusted by the Human Rights Council.”
  • The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) received Swiss government funds for operations in Iraq and the Palestinian areas. ICRC received CHF 1 million for general funding in 2013. The Swiss government does not reveal the amount of funding it provided to the ICRC’s 2013 emergency appeal; in 2014 it provided CHF 1 million for Gaza emergency funding. In total, the ICRC received CHF 120 million in2013 and CHF 134.8 million in 2014 from the Swiss government. In 2013, ICRC expenditure in the Palestinian Authority was CHF 47 million.
  • The World Food Programme (WFP) received two grants in 2013 and one in 2014 from the SDC for operations in Yemen, Syria, and the Palestinian areas. Funding amounts for these grants are not revealed. The WFP also received CHF 750,000 in emergency funding for Gaza in 2014.

SDC funding to international organizations for Palestinian Issues

OrganizationAmount (CHF)2014 Emergency Funding (CHF)
UNRWA33.5 million (2010-2014)
UNRWA and ILO2 million (2010-2013)
WHO1.3 million (2013-2016)1 million
OCHA3.6 million (2012-2014)1 million
UN High Commissioner of Human Rights1.63 million (2012-2015)
ICRC1 million + undisclosed (2013-2014)1 million
World Food ProgrammeUndisclosed (2013 – 2014)750000

Church-based Organizations

The Swiss government funds three large church-based organizations that claim to promote humanitarian objectives. These groups subsequently transfer funds to anti-Israel NGO projects.

Swiss Government funding to church-based organizations actively funding NGOs in the Palestinian Authority/Israel

OrganizationAmount (CHF)
Diakonia (Sweden)2.25 mil (2012-2014)
HEKS15 mil (2013-2014)
Caritas Switzerland20 mil (2013)



  • According to its mission statement, “HEKS acts on behalf of the Protestant Churches of Switzerland, whose mandates determines its scope of action.” In 2013, HEKS’s total revenue was CHF 66.6 million.
  • In Israel and the Palestinian Authority, HEKS is “keen to promote peace based on justice and the observance of human rights.” In 2013, HEKS’ budget for “Palestine/Israel” was CHF 1.13 million. The SDC provided CHF 361,382, which amounted to 31% of this budget.
  • HEKS funds political advocacy NGOs Badil, Zochrot, Yesh Din, and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I).
    • Zochrot received CHF 20,652 in 2013. The group seeks to “raise public awareness of the Palestinian Nakba…The memory and responsibility that the Jewish public should take on the Palestinian Nakba are basic conditions to peace between people, but it is not enough. Along with it, the rights of the refugees to return must be accepted.” This mission is equivalent to calling for the elimination of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. Zochrot officials have publicly supported a one-state framework. Eitan Bronstein stated, “I don’t know who will want to return, but whoever will want to- let him return. And if the result is that there will not be a Jewish state, then there won’t be one. My preferred concept is one state from the sea to the Jordan River” (emphasis added).
    • Yesh Din received CHF 21,668 in 2013 and CHF 9,412 in 2014. Yesh Din is a leader in attempting to portray Israel and its security forces as unaccountable to the rule of law. This is part of a wider strategy of prosecuting Israeli officials in foreign courts and in the International Criminal Court (ICC) for “war crimes.
    • PHR-I received CHF 223,127 in 2013. The group exploits a medical mandate to advance political advocacy and demonization against Israel. A January 2015 publication, “ Gaza, 2014: Findings of an independent medical fact-finding mission ,” alleged Israeli violations of human rights and international legal norms during the 2014 Gaza War. A detailed analysis of the claims shows that PHR-I’s research contains fundamental methodological flaws; ignores Hamas violations and other evidence that does not comport with its one-sided, political agenda; and relies on a panel of eight “medical experts,” of which at least five have backgrounds in anti-Israel advocacy. For more information about PHR-I, see NGO Monitor Monograph, “ NGO Malpractice” (July 2013).
    • Badil (no funding information available) See above for information on this group.
  • In 2012, HEKS funded a joint Badil and Zochrot trip to Cape Town, South Africa, “to learn from cases of expulsion and return.” Following this visit, Zochrot published “The Cape Town Document”; conclusions of this document advocate for the elimination of a Jewish state:
  • “It is our hope that the new political structure created in de-Zionized Palestine will be that of a single democratic state (as opposed to the logic of ethnic separation embedded in the so-called ‘two-state solution’) with clear separation of church and state.”
  • HEKS has funded BDS initiatives. According to a 2012 Jerusalem Post report, HEKS sponsored an ad in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung supporting a supermarket’s decision to boycott Israeli products and urging readers to back the initiative.
  • HEKS “is responsible for Switzerland’s involvement in the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) .” EAPPI presents a one-sided Palestinian narrative, participates in activities commemorating the Palestinian “Nakba” (catastrophe) and promotes a “right of return.” The organization ignores terror attacks against Israelis and blames Israel alone for the conflict. EAPPI frequently uses inflammatory and demonizing rhetoric against Israel and engages in BDS campaigns.
  • According to its website, in 2014, HEKS granted CHF 1.2 million to civil society organizations in Palestine/Israel through a project called Open Forum, “a network for Jewish and Palestinian organisations in Israel as well as organisations in the occupied Palestinian territories and East Jerusalem.” Due to a lack of transparency, the names of participating NGOs are not available.

HEKS’ NGO funding in Palestinian Authority/Israel4

BadilNot Disclosed
ZochrotCHF 20,652 (2013)
Yesh DinCHF 21,668 (2013)
CHF 9,412 (2014)
PHR-ICHF 223,127 (2013)

Caritas Switzerland

Caritas Switzerland funding in Palestinian Authority/Israel

OrganizationAmount (CHR)
WCLAC498,810 (2013-2015)
DanChurch Aid428,750 (2011-2014)

Geneva Municipality

The Geneva Municipality’s international development budget is managed by the Geneva Solidarity City Delegation (DGVS) and amounted to approximately CHF 5.5 million in 2013. The Geneva Municipality funds the following groups that are active in the Israeli-Arab conflict:

  • Alternative Information Center (AIC) reported to the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits a donation of CHF 6,075 from the Geneva Municipality in 2013. AIC strongly opposes “normalization,” meaning cooperation and positive interactions between Israelis and Palestinians. Founder and head, Michael Warschawski stated , “one has to unequivocally reject the very idea (and existence) of a Jewish state, whatever will be its borders,” and has written that “Peace, or, better, justice, cannot be achieved without a total decolonization (one can say de-Zionisation) of the Israeli State.”
  • The Swiss National Committee of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine (RToP) received CHF 20,000 in 2013. RToP is a pseudo-court that aims to put Israel and its allies on “trial” and calls for “existing legal actions and campaigns in the context of BDS to be stepped up and widened within the EU and globally.” RToP uses a legal façade, but completely lacks any legitimacy and basic notions of impartiality and fairness integral to any legal proceedings.
  • The anti-Israel association Collectif Urgence Palestine received CHF 113,000 in 2011 for two projects. Collectif Urgence Palestine engages in demonization campaigns, promotes the Nakba narrative, accuses Israel of torturing Palestinian youth, and advocates for economic and cultural boycott of Israel. In December 2011, the Collectif also organized a protest against the Jewish National Fund annual event in Geneva. Badil (see above) is a member of the Collectif’s network.

The Geneva Canton

The Geneva Canton’s funding for humanitarian, human rights, and development projects amounted to CHF 25 million in 2012-2014. The Geneva Canton also subsidizes projects indirectly through the Geneva Federation for Cooperation (FGC), which was allocated CHF 12 million for 2009-2016. The Geneva Canton funds the following groups that are active in the Israeli-Arab conflict:

  • Organisation Mondial Contre la Torture (OMCT) received CHF 600,000 the Geneva Canton in 2012-2014. OMCT accuses Israel of systematic violations of terror suspects’ and detainees’ human rights, as well as judicial harassment against human rights activists. OMCT cooperates with radical Israeli and Palestinian NGOs, includingAl Haq, Al Mezan,Hamoked,Addameer, and the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel.
  • CSS (Centrale Sanitaire de la Suisse Romande) received indirect funding from the Geneva Canton through the FGC of CHF 397,125 in 2011 and CHF 81,125 in 2013 for two projects claiming to focus on juvenile mental health. The projects were in cooperation with other Swiss NGOs and the Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS).
    • CSS accuses Israel of undermining and intentionally destroying health infrastructure in the Palestinian Authority, and causing the spread of disease. CSS adopts an anti-Israeli narrative, and exploits medical language to blame Israel for and trauma and disability among Palestinian youth. CSS has published material supporting BDS on its website.
    • CSS transferred CHF 391,669 to Palestinian Medical Relief Society, which views its work “as an entry point” for political advocacy and action. Accordingly, it has attempted to link Israeli policies to specific medical conditions in Gaza, ignoring key factors that do not contribute to its radical theories. PMRS has also repeatedly accused Israel, without evidence, of deploying unconventional weapons. PMRS also supports BDS campaigns.
    • It is unknown if the Canton is aware of the organizations that indirectly receive funding through the FGC, and whether the Canton has adopted mechanisms to monitor partners with respect to official cantonal and federal development policy.

Geneva Municipality and Canton NGO funding related to the Israeli-Arab Conflict

MunicipalityAICCHF 6,075 in 2013
MunicipalitySwiss National Committee of the Russell Tribunal on PalestineCHF 20,000 in 2013
MunicipalityCollectif Urgence PalestineCHF 113,000 in 2011
CantonOMCTCHF 600,000 (2012-2014)
Canton via FGCPMRS via CSSCHF 391,669 (2011)
Canton via FGCCSS in cooperation with PMRSCHF 397,125 (2011)
CHF 81,125 (2013)

Swiss Federal Funding for BDS

The BDS movement (boycotts, divestment and sanctions) is a form of political warfare targeting Israel, based on the exploitation of human rights, double standards, comparisons to apartheid South Africa, and false accusations of “war crimes.” The BDS leadership seeks to end the “occupation and colonization of all Arab lands” and promotes claims of a Palestinian “right of return” These goals are incompatible with a peace process based on two states, and deny the right of the Jewish people to self-determination. BDS takes the form of demonstrations (often violent); call for the boycott of Israeli products, artists, academics and others; as well as campaigns calling for divestment of holdings in Israeli firms, and similar actions. The NGOs funded by Switzerland that promote BDS include:

Swiss Federal Government

OrganizationAmount (CHF)
ARIJ (Palestinian) – SDC1.15 mil (2012-2014)
Oxfam Great Britain - SDC3.62 mil (2011-2015)
3.4 mil (2011-2017)
Norwegian Refugee Council -SDC400,000 (2014-2015)
Gaza Community Mental Health Programme – SDC2.2 mil ( 2011-2013)
100,000 (2014)
Secretariat (24+ NGOs) - SDC3 mil (2013-2017)
100,000 (2014)
Adalah - Department of Foreign Affairs53,000 (2013)
51,072 (2012)
Parents Circle Families Forum - UnknownApprox 100,000 (2012-2013)