Foreign governments were major funders of Israeli organizations making the charge that the International Criminal Court should investigate Israel for war crimes, a new report from NGO Monitor revealed this week.
The report, by the research institution focused on nongovernmental organizations and their funding, analyzed the annual financial reports from 2017-2019 of the 35 Israeli NGOs involved in political advocacy that receive foreign government funding. They received a total of NIS 319,466,917 (about $100 million), 58% of which (NIS 185,387,008) came directly or indirectly from foreign governments.
Germany was the largest government donor, providing NIS 43,636,794 ($13 million), followed by the EU and the Netherlands.
The New Israel Fund was the largest private donor, followed by the London-based Sigrid Rausing Trust and billionaire George Soros’ Open Society Foundation.
A significant amount of the funds went to organizations that supported an ICC investigation against Israel, which was announced last week.
ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda referred to three B’Tselem documents in her brief in which she argued that the court has jurisdiction over Israel, even though it is not a member of the court and has an independent judiciary.
About half of B’Tselem’s funding, NIS 19,680,303 (about $6 million), in 2017-2019 came from foreign governments, including the EU, Spain, Denmark, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Ireland and others.
A Dutch government document from that period stated that “B’Tselem regularly refers to the [Israeli] Supreme Court as one of the main mechanisms that permits the ongoing occupation and human rights violations by granting judicial legitimacy to Israel’s policies.”
A March 2020 email from left-wing group stated: ”We hope the court will make the right decision to back the Prosecutor’s position and rule: There is jurisdiction and there will be an investigation.”
B’Tselem decided earlier this year to label Israel an apartheid state.
Yesh Din received 91% of its funding – NIS 14,560,839 or $4.3m. – from foreign governments.
In 2018, the Netherlands gave Yesh Din a grant to ensure that the “issue of impunity of [Israeli security forces personnel] in cases of offenses committed against Palestinians in the West Bank and in Jerusalem remains on [the] international agenda.”
On Jan 30, 2020, a statement from Yesh Din claimed that “the State of Israel is unable or unwilling to take resolute action in keeping with its legal duties to eradicate violence and harm to Palestinians and their property,” adding that “The international community, which shares in the responsibility for protecting the rights of Palestinians living under occupation, has an obligation to intervene and take action.”
Other organizations taking similar positions include Adalah, which received 49.665% of its donations, amounting to NIS 5,800,767 ($1.7m.), from foreign governments, and Breaking the Silence, which is 55.61% foreign government-funded (NIS 12,125,833 – $3.6m.).
The New Israel Fund provided B’Tselem, Yesh Atid and Adalah with NIS 4,063,396 ($1.2m.) in 2017-2019, telling Makor Rishon last month that it “can no longer 100% support” a “resolute statement that Israel has an independent judiciary that investigates itself without bias.”