Irish Gov’t-funded Trocaire Pays Sadaka (Ireland) to Lobby for BDS
Sadaka, an Irish, pro-Palestinian group is running a campaign in advance of the February 26 elections, lobbying candidates to sign a “Pledge for Palestine.” This pledge is actually a call for anti-peace BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) against Israel, demanding that “the Irish Government  use all institutional mechanisms at its disposal… seek an EU ban on trade and investment with Israeli colonies/settlements…[and] to suspend military export licenses to Israel and suspend Department of Defence public procurement from Israeli arms companies.”
According to a Call for Proposals from December 2015, Sadaka “secured partnership funding from Trócaire to recruit a consultant to work on its behalf to ensure that the issue of justice and rights for the Palestinian people is active on the General Election agenda.” Per the document, “The overall aim of the initiative is to directly influence Irish foreign policy as it relates to Palestine and Israel within the term of office of the next Government.”
- Trocaire, which describes itself as a “charity to express the concern of the Irish Catholic Church,” receives more than 60% of its funding directly from governments, including over 30% from Ireland, 10% from the UK and the rest from various EU and international frameworks. During Lent 2016, UK Aid, a British government framework, will match donations to Trocaire at 125% (up to £5 million).
- Both the Irish and British governments have formally rejected BDS against Israel. Nevertheless, they continue to fund Trocaire, which itself leads BDS campaigns, and as seen with Sadaka, funds political warfare against Israel via lobbying of the Irish government.
- Although Ireland and the UK and justify funding Trocaire on the basis of its human rights mandate, Trocaire and its partners, such as Sadaka, actively promote a highly politicized narrative of the Arab-Israeli conflict that has little or nothing to do with human rights.
- This is an example of the “echo chamber” phenomenon – when an NGO funded by a government is involved in lobbying that very same government. As is the case here, this lobbying is often in opposition and detrimental to the country’s foreign policy and interferes with mutually beneficial agreements and diplomacy. In this “echo chamber,” when Irish funding facilitates the very NGO lobbying that informs Irish policy, it naturally excludes pluralistic debate, and ensures that funds for future projects are earmarked for Trocaire, its partners, and other like-minded NGOs.
- Trocaire also funds other highly politicized and biased NGOs that support BDS and other forms of political warfare against Israel, and/or utilize demonizing rhetoric against Israel. These NGOs include Al Haq, Badil, Zochrot, Breaking the Silence, and Who Profits.