The European Union has been asked to cease funding dozens of European and Palestinian non-governmental organizations that drive boycotts against Israel.
Israel’s Strategic Affairs Ministry made the plea Friday when it published a 40-page report with a list of groups it says receives EU funding and call for boycotts against Israel. It said some of the groups had links to militant groups while receiving EU money, putting the scope of such assistance to European and Palestinian groups at 5 million euros ($5.9 million) in 2016.
It said it based the sum on EU figures for that year, describing them as the latest available. The report said:
The state of Israel expects the EU to act with full transparency and reveal the scope of its financial aid to organizations that have ties to terror and promote boycotts against Israel. Israel strongly urges the EU to fully implement in practice its declared policy of rejecting boycotts against Israel, and to immediately halt funding to organizations which promote anti-Israel boycotts and de-legitimization.
EU officials said the bloc’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, received the report from Israel along with a letter requesting a reply and that it’s now under consideration.
Earlier, an EU statement said the bloc was “happy to review any relevant information received concerning EU funded activities.”
“Money from the EU budget may only be spent for the purpose for which it was contracted, under strict transparency rules and is subject to extensive monitoring requirements,” it said.
One of the NGOs accused of having links to Palestinian militant groups is Norwegian People’s Aid, which received more than 1.7 million euros ($2 million) in 2016 amid claims it has links to Palestinian militant groups.
The U.S. Justice Department announced in April that the group reached a settlement with the United States over accusations that it had provided “training and expert advice or assistance” to the Islamic militant Hamas group that rules the Gaza Strip, as well as other Palestinian militant groups and Iran.
As part of the settlement, NPA “admitted to and accepted responsibility for its conduct” and agreed to pay more than $2 million.
Other groups singled out in Friday’s report included the British organization War on Want, the Dutch anti-war group PAX as well as a number of Palestinian groups, including PNGO Net, an umbrella organization that works to coordinate Palestinian civil society.
Two days before Israel made its plea to the UN, a senior European official warned Israel not to “disparage” the EU, adding that U.S. President Donald Trump’s legacy could be scaled back just as quickly as that of his predecessor Barack Obama.
“Trump won’t be president forever,” Hadashot TV quoted the unnamed official as saying during a recent visit to Israel. “Just like nobody imagined that the Obama legacy would be erased so quickly, it can happen to the other side,” the source added.
“You shouldn’t disparage Europe. Look at the numbers: We are still your biggest trade partners. You don’t understand that we are under immense public pressure against Israel.”
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