How the European Union Funds BDS

Jan. 25 2017

The EU—in the words of its foreign-policy chief—“rejects the BDS campaign’s attempts to isolate Israel and is opposed to any boycott of Israel.” Nevertheless, it gives ample funding to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) based in Israel and Gaza that work to promote boycotts of the Jewish state, as the watchdog group NGO Monitor explains in a detailed report:

The European Union is the single largest donor to NGOs active in the Arab-Israeli conflict, [having given] NIS 28.1 million in 2012-2014 to politicized Israeli NGOs alone. Indeed, NGO funding is a central component of EU foreign policy, [purportedly because these organizations] promote peace, cooperation, and human rights. [In fact, however,] the EU funds a number of highly . . . politicized NGOs that exploit the rhetoric of human rights to promote anti-Israel BDS and lawfare campaigns, inflammatory rhetoric, and activities that oppose a two-state framework.

Due to the highly complex and poorly coordinated nature of EU aid and to the lack of a consolidated database differentiating between NGOs and other types of organizations, it is impossible to determine the exact amount or proportions of EU funding to organizations that promote BDS.

However, NGO Monitor reviewed a number of EU regional funding programs designated for Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, and found that 29 out of 100 EU grants administered through the frameworks [we] reviewed funnel funds to BDS organizations (€16.7 million out of €67.1 million—roughly 25 percent). And 42 out of 180 EU grantees in total support BDS—either through participation in activities and events, signing of petitions and initiatives, and/or membership in explicit BDS platforms. Several organizations were the recipients of more than one grant. . . .

In several cases, EU funding comprises between 50 and 75 percent of an NGO recipient’s entire budget. Moreover, many recipients feature the EU symbol on their publications and websites, bolstering their legitimacy and linking the EU with their broader political activities and campaigns—such as boycotts and the rejection of normalization.

Read more at NGO Monitor

More about: BDS, European Union, Israel & Zionism, NGO

In the Aftermath of a Deadly Attack, President Sisi Should Visit Israel

On June 3, an Egyptian policeman crossed the border into Israel and killed three soldiers. Jonathan Schanzer and Natalie Ecanow urge President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to respond by visiting the Jewish state as a show of goodwill:

Such a dramatic gesture is not without precedent: in 1997, a Jordanian soldier opened fire on a group of Israeli schoolgirls visiting the “Isle of Peace,” a parcel of farmland previously under Israeli jurisdiction that Jordan leased back to Israel as part of the Oslo peace process. In a remarkable display of humanity, King Hussein of Jordan, who had only three years earlier signed a peace agreement with Israel, traveled to the Jewish state to mourn with the families of the seven girls who died in the massacre.

That massacre unfolded as a diplomatic cold front descended on Jerusalem and Amman. . . . Yet a week later, Hussein flipped the script. “I feel as if I have lost a child of my own,” Hussein lamented. He told the parents of one of the victims that the tragedy “affects us all as members of one family.”

While security cooperation [between Cairo and Jerusalem] remains strong, the bilateral relationship is still rather frosty outside the military domain. True normalization between the two nations is elusive. A survey in 2021 found that only 8 percent of Egyptians support “business or sports contacts” with Israel. With a visit to Israel, Sisi can move beyond the cold pragmatism that largely defines Egyptian-Israeli relations and recast himself as a world figure ready to embrace his diplomatic partners as human beings. At a personal level, the Egyptian leader can win international acclaim for such a move rather than criticism for his country’s poor human-rights record.

Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: General Sisi, Israeli Security, Jordan