BDS win: Pro-boycott NGOs won EU funding amid Israel anger, report reveals

BDS win: Pro-boycott NGOs won EU funding amid Israel anger, report reveals
The EU gave more than €5 million of funding to NGOs supporting the global anti-Israel boycott, side-stepping official EU policy and Israel's repeated attempts to crack down on the movement.
2 min read
23 January, 2019
The BDS movement has been gaining worldwide momentum despite Israel's crackdown [Getty]
The European Union has been funding NGOs that promote boycotts of Israel with millions of euros over the past two years, according to a newly released report from the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs.

Despite official EU policy officially opposing the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, it still granted over €5 million worth of funding to ten organisations that promote the movement. The BDS movement is championed by many as a non-violent movement to bring attention to Israel's human rights violations against Palestinians.

According to the report, "two of the most prominent Israel-boycott organisations", Al-Haq and Al-Mezan, were both awarded multi-year grants worth over €750,000 from the EU, beginning in 2018.

Both Al-Haq and Al-Mezan are independent and non-governmental human rights organisations, monitoring rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, doing advocacy work and legal intervention for victims of violence, torture and prisoners, among others.

Read more: For Palestine: Top five BDS victories of 2018

Minister of Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan said in light of the report: "The time has come for the EU to begin a deep reexamination of its policies. Instead of hiding behind empty statements, the European Union needs to implement its own declared policy and immediately cease funding organisations that promote boycotts against the State of Israel."

In recent years, Israel has been taking more and more extreme measures to crackdown on the boycott movement, which has gained momentum in recent years as high-profile companies, artists and academics refuse to do business with the Israeli government.

Israel's harsh clamp down on these individuals and organisations seems to reflect the fact it feels threatened by growing awareness of its violations of international law and human rights.

Last year, Israel banned 20 international NGOs from entering the country, including the Paris-based Association France Palestine Solidarite, British charity War on Want and the American Friends Service Committee - a Nobel Peace Prize-winning US Quaker organisation.

In 2017, Israel also banned a group of European politicians planning to visit to the country, over their alleged support for a boycott of illegal Israeli settlements.

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