TEL AVIV – Millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars are given to groups promoting anti-Semitic agendas, including justifying terror attacks against Israel and equating Israelis with Nazis, the Washington Free Beacon states, citing a report from a watchdog for non-governmental organizations.
The lack of transparency and incongruities in federal spending databases have meant that determining the exact dollar amount is impossible, the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor found. The watchdog, which analyzes and reports on the international NGO community, will publish a new study on its findings later this month.
The U.S. government has granted funds to organizations that call for divestment from Israel, rationalize terrorist attacks against the Jewish state, and compare Israelis to Nazis, according to the report.
“We encourage the end of all funding, both directly and indirectly, for NGOs that participate in the demonization and delegitimization campaigns,” Naftali Balanson, the chief of staff at NGO Monitor said during a meeting last week on Capitol Hill.
“When you have organizations that are receiving money ostensibly for peace, human rights, and democracy, but they refuse to work with Israeli partners, they refuse to meet with Israelis, and push for boycotts, those are in direct contradiction and seems to be a complete waste of taxpayer money,” he added.
The report cited a number of U.S.-funded organizations that express anti-Israel views, such as Jewish Voice for Peace, American Friends Service Committee, and the New York-based Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
Funded by Congress and reliant on support from the White House, the National Endowment for Democracy provides more than 1,200 NGO grants worldwide. One example is the Human Rights and Democracy Media Center, which receives money from the NED despite its anti-Israel rhetoric. It accuses Israel of “ethnic cleansing” and “targeting innocent people,” and calls it the “state of terrorism” and an “enemy” of women.
Another group, the Al-Dameer Association for Human Rights, receives taxpayers’ dollars even though it refers to terrorists as “martyrs” and claims terrorism is justified by the Palestinians’ “right to resist.”
Jane Jacobsen, a spokeswoman at the National Endowment for Democracy, justified the grants, saying that they are limited to providing financial aid for human rights training courses for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, and are not funneled toward other, possibly anti-Semitic activities.
“NED program officers regularly monitor grantee activities, statements, and websites to ensure that the organizations we fund do not endorse or incite violence or anti-Semitism, regardless of whether or not this is within the context of a NED-supported activity,” Jacobsen told the Free Beacon.
“NED has zero tolerance for anti-Semitism or incitement to violence, and would immediately cease to fund any organization that engaged in it.”
She told the Free Beacon that funding to the two groups in question is limited to intensive courses and training on human rights standards for university students and youth clubs in Gaza and the West Bank.
Balanson called on the United States to improve transparency by creating a spending database so taxpayers can clearly see how their money is being spent. He also said the government must begin thoroughly vetting grant recipients to prevent groups promoting delegitimization from being publicly funded.
“The U.S. should be using its money to encourage peace, more cooperation, and the reduction of tensions,” Balanson said.