B’Tselem’s UN Presentation, Gov’t Responses, and the Role of European
NGO Monitor October 18, 2016
In the wake of B’Tselem’s presentation at the UN Security Council on Friday
(October 11) and the resulting debate, including responses from Israeli
government officials and Knesset members, NGO Monitor released the following
NGO Monitor’s research has focused on the disproportionate political impact
of Israeli NGOs and the role of funding provided by European governments.
From this perspective, we note the debate over and political responses to
the presentation by the director of B’Tselem at a UN Security Council
special session (convened by Egypt, Malaysia, Venezuela, Angola, and
Senegal) on Friday October 11. In this highly politicized statement, he
implored the UN to take “decisive international action” against Israel, and
made no mention of Palestinian terror attacks or incitement. This event
highlights the ways in which influential NGOs distort reality for
ideological objectives and contribute to international political campaigns
against Israel, under the façade of human rights, bypassing Israel’s
internal democratic processes.
NGO Monitor’s position is that, in order to effectively address the
disproportionate and irresponsible funding for Israeli political NGOs, an
ongoing dialogue with the European government donors is necessary. Instead
of symbolic and punitive gestures that further polarize the discourse about
political NGOs, the Israeli government and Members of Knesset should work
with their counterparts in Europe to formulate clear guidelines that
establish transparency in funding processes, and define the agendas and
groups that are ineligible for government funding. These guidelines should
focus on strengthening the shared democratic structures in Israel and
Europe, while ensuring that Israel’s democratic processes are respected.
B’Tselem’s annual average budget is approximately NIS 9 million, with over
64% originating with foreign governments. Donors include the EU, France,
Norway, the Human Rights and International Law Secretariat (pooled funding
from Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark and the Netherlands; Norway also recently
joined this mechanism), Dan Church Aid (Denmark) Catholic Relief Services,
World Vision, Diakonia (Sweden), Christian Aid Ireland, UNICEF, Bread For
The World-EED (Germany), ICCO (Netherlands), Trocaire (Ireland), and the
UNDP. B’Tselem is also funded by a number of private foundations including
the New Israel Fund (NIF) and George Soros’ Open Society Forum.
NGO Monitor provides information and analysis, promotes accountability, and
supports discussion on the reports and activities of NGOs (non-governmental
organizations) claiming to advance human rights and humanitarian agendas.
NGO Monitor, 1 Ben Maimon Blvd., Jerusalem, 92262 Israel
© 2016 The Amuta for NGO Responsibility. All Rights Reserved.