Foreign States Meddle in Israel to Tune of 35M NIS

Transparency Law reveals 13 political advocacy NGOs received foreign grants totaling 21.6M NIS in 2012.

Gil Ronen,

Yariv Oppenheimer, Peace Now
Yariv Oppenheimer, Peace Now
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Jerusalem-based research institute NGO Monitor released a report Sunday analyzing submissions made by NGOs to the Israeli registrar of non-profits in 2012, as legislated under the NGO Transparency law.

The reports for 2012 show that a total amount of 34,355,579 NIS annually was provided to 30 NGOs, from a number of foreign governments.

NGO Monitor highlights in its analysis the use of foreign government money to fund political advocacy NGOs based in Israel. Most of this money 

As of January 27, 2013, 13 political advocacy NGOs reported grants from foreign governments totaling 21,671,115 NIS.

These groups include B'Tselem, Physicians for Human Rights Israel, Gisha, and Yesh Din. A number of other political advocacy NGOs that regularly receive funding from foreign governments did not submit quarterly reports in 2012 for reasons unknown.

"The law, implemented by the Israeli Ministry of Justice, is an international model for transparency; it has been proven to be effective and serves as a contribution to the democratic processes," said Professor Gerald Steinberg, President of NGO Monitor.

"Once received," said Steinberg, "the funding information is made public, allowing all Israelis to access data on the influence of foreign governments on political discourse.  Most alarming is the amount of foreign funding going to NGOs involved in polarizing activity in the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict, often contrary to the stated positions of the government funders.

"Additionally some of the donors involved through indirect government support, such as Christian Aid, Diakonia, and the Norwegian Refugee Council, are also involved in the Durban Strategy based on delegitmization campaigns targeting Israel."

The Transparency Law, passed in February of 2011, mandates that NGOs file quarterly reports about support received from foreign government bodies. The law was passed despite intense lobbying against it by foreign-funded NGOs.

NGOs in Israel receive funding from two primary channels, explained NGO Monitor: via direct funding from foreign governments, or indirectly via third parties such as foundations, and humanitarian, development, and religious NGOs.

For example, according to the NGO Monitor website, B’Tselem funders include the New Israel Fund (NIF); the EU; Netherlands, Norway, and Britain. Also helping the group, which helps Arabs to videotape IDF soldiers in Judea and Samaria in a way that demonizes Israel, are Church groups Christian Aid (UK), DanChurchAid, Diakonia (Sweden) and others; another funder is the Ford Foundation.

Yesh Din, which also engages in activity against Israeli soldiers in Judea and Samaria, receives money from the NIF, George Soros' Open Society Institute, the European Union, Norway, Netherlands, Ireland, Germany, UK, and NGO Development Center (joint funding of Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, and the Netherlands).

Adalah, a militant group of Arab citizens of Israel, receives cash from the NIF, European Union, Switzerland, Ford Foundation, Open Society Institute, Oxfam Novib, Christian Aid, ACSUR, NGO Development Center (joint funding of Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, and the Netherlands), and UN Development Program.