'Holland financing groups calling for Israel boycott'

ByBENNY WEINTHAL, JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
May 15, 2011 03:30

Dutch FM says he’ll work to stop funding estimated at 10m. euros organizations calling for divestment, boycott, denying Israel's right to exist.

Cartoon appearing on Ducth-funded group's site

anti Semitic Cartoon _311. (photo credit:Courtesy)

BERLIN – According to a ground-breaking report obtained by The Jerusalem Post last week from The Haguebased Center for Information and Documentation on Israel (CIDI), the Dutch Foreign Ministry has allocated at least 10 million euros over a five-year period to organizations urging a boycott of Israel.

Uri Rosenthal, the Dutch foreign minister, wrote to CIDI last month, saying “Intervention will occur in cases of organizations acting against Dutch policy.”



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The Foreign Ministry under Rosenthal has begun to institute sweeping reforms to stop Dutch charities from funding anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) activities and NGOs that deny Israel’s right to exist.


The 15-page CIDI report named Palestinian and Dutch NGOs that were dependent on subsidies from the Dutch Foreign Ministry, including the Ramallah-based NGO Development Center (NDC) and the Interchurch Organization for Development Cooperation (ICCO), Oxfam Novib Cordaid and IKV Pax Christi in the Netherlands.

In the letter to CIDI Executive Director Ronny Naftaniel, Rosenthal wrote, “I would like to thank you for drawing my attention to the report by CIDI entitled ‘Dutch government unknowingly funding Israel-boycott and one-state solution initiatives,’ which lists Palestinian NGOs which are active in the Palestinian Territories and which are supported [financially] by the Dutch government.

I would like to begin by saying that I share your concerns regarding BDS activities.”

The CIDI report said that “one such Palestinian NGO, Badil [the Bethlehem-based Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights], was shown to promote virulent anti-Semitic incitement. The report showed that Badil received $100,000 from a larger Palestinian NGO named NDC, which is heavily funded by the Dutch government. Since 2008, The Hague has allotted no less than $8 million to NDC.

“In the framework of a cartoon competition, Badil – which promotes a boycott of Israel – gave in May 2010, $600 to Ashraf Ahmad Ghareeb, the cartoonist who drew the anti-Semitic picture seen above. Following the publication of the CIDI report, Badil removed the link on its website to the picture.”

Rosenthal further noted in his letter to Naftaniel, “This message has been conveyed to Palestinian and Israeli partners, the Dutch aid organizations active in the Palestinian Territories and NDC in Ramallah, and during your meeting on March 22, 2011, with the director of the Dutch Foreign Ministry’s North Africa and Middle East department.

“The department, the Dutch embassy in Tel Aviv and the Dutch representative office in Ramallah are acutely mindful of the political sensitivities connected to the funding of NGOs operating in Israel and the Palestinian Territories.

A meticulous reappraisal of subsidy applicants remains necessary,” Rosenthal said.

According to the CIDI report, “Due to lacking transparency standards on the part of most NGOs reviewed, CIDI believes its findings give only a partial view of the true extent of the use of Dutch taxpayer funds for the support of initiatives which contradict the policy of Dutch governments, and which reject peace settlements which observe Israel’s right to exist.

“The report focused entirely on such organizations and initiatives. The substantial Dutch funding for the host of organizations that display a merely bias against Israel was not reviewed.”

CIDI also noted that its “report gave special attention to a Dutch organization with the misleading name of Plant een Olijf Boom [Plant an Olive Tree]. The study proved that this initiative, which is funded by Cordaid, ICCO and IKV Pax Christi is in fact a front for a Palestinian organization which promotes a boycott of Israel known as JAI [the Joint Advocacy Initiative of the YMCA-YWCA, Jerusalem].”

The Dutch ICCO charity – which was revealed last year by the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor watchdog organization to have funded events by the radical pro-Palestinian website Electronic Intifada (EI) and its Executive Director Ali Abunimah – was also the subject of the CIDI report.

NGO Monitor president Prof. Gerald Steinberg told the Post earlier this year that “EI is a leader in the demonization of Israel, including the anti- Semitic BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaign, and frequently compares the Israeli military to Nazis. EI executive director Ali Abunimah labels Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad as ‘collaborators,’ and PA participation in peace talks as ‘collaboration.’” CIDI’s new investigation of ICCO showed “that ICCO had more than funded the front office, but actually set up its website, and is possibly paying the salary of the front’s chief coordinator, who is actively involved in boycott promotion.”

The northern European countries, said CIDI, are also funding the same NGOs as the Dutch Foreign Ministry.

Norway, Denmark, Sweden are key financial providers of anti-Israel groups. Switzerland was also cited by CIDI.

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