Last week, Denmark announced that it would cease its funding for the Ramallah-based Human Rights International Humanitarian Law Secretariat, which for the past five years has received millions of dollars annually from a group of European governments. In turn, the Secretariat uses the money to fund some two dozen nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), all of which are connected either to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)—a Leninist terrorist group—or to the BDS movement. The move by Copenhagen is a small but important step toward dismantling a large network of European-funded anti-Israel NGOs that engage in incitement and support terror, and have disproportionate clout at the UN and with the media, as Gerald Steinberg explains. (Interview by Ruthie Blum.):
NGO funding—under the banner of “development” and “civil society”—has been a major part of West European foreign policy for the past two or three decades. In addition, many countries give money to NGO networks because they see that other countries are doing so. They figure that if others are doing it, it must be good for Europe. Moreover, much of the system is faith-based, in the sense that all a group has to say to garner the support of many European politicians is that its mission is to promote human rights. . . . [G]roups that claim to promote values seen as universally good—such as peace, human rights, justice, and coexistence—are automatically perceived as credible and above criticism or investigation.
Moreover, the money is not tracked; it is funneled into large and powerful mechanisms that serve as distributors for what are considered worthy causes. . . . In most cases, the government ministers and directors-general of ministries responsible for signing off on pledges do not have the time, the resources, or the inclination to follow up, particularly as they accept and trust that the “positively motivated organizations” receiving money will use it for good.
Another key factor is that many of the annual reports submitted by NGO-funding networks [like the Human Rights International Humanitarian Law Secretariat] are extremely brief and vague. Such reports will say something like: “We help NGOs in the following 45 countries in the pursuit of opportunities and fairness.” A perfect example is the governmental Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), which has a huge budget and signs off on funding for all kinds of radical groups. . . .
In Europe, the images of Palestinian suffering, and the overall sympathy for Muslim victims in general, are so strong that it is very hard to cut through the myths and slogans surrounding them. This is true across the board, even in the British Conservative party. It is so deeply embedded in the culture that any criticism, including of NGOs with links to terrorists, immediately becomes labeled “Islamophobic.”