How the European Union Funds BDS

January 25, 2017 | NGO Monitor
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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.

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