Sunday, June 16, 2019

Israel demands EU countries end funding for BDS groups - Yair Altman

by Yair Altman

Hat tip: Dr. Jean-Charles Bensoussan

Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan calls on US, Spain, Belgium, Norway, France, Brazil, India, Germany, and Britain to cease support to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. By disguising themselves as human rights activists, BDS organizations are able to raise millions of euros from Western states, he says.

Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan has contacted his counterparts in 10 countries with the demand to end funding for organizations that support a boycott of Israel.

Among the countries whose officials were contacted by Erdan were Spain, Belgium, the United States, Norway, France, Brazil, India, Germany, and Britain. In December 2018, the EU’s Court of Auditors published a comprehensive report that found a lack of transparency in the European Union’s funding of nongovernmental organizations.

At the time, Erdan, who oversees Israel’s efforts to combat the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, contacted European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker with a request to ensure the EU halts funding to Palestinian organizations that support boycotts of Israel and prevent the transfer of future funds to organizations that promote boycotts of Israel.

In March, the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council made the decision to adopt the principles of the EU’s Court of Auditors’ report.

Over the past two years, the Strategic Affairs Ministry has published two reports on EU funding to organizations that promote a boycott of Israel. According to these reports, the EU transfers at least €5 million ($5.6 million) to such organizations every year.

Another significant achievement in the effort to cut state funding to such groups came with the closure of the Ramallah-based Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat, which served as a funding mechanism for the European government and counted among its members Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Switzerland.

Although they have been able to receive funding from individual states, the Strategic Affairs Ministry believes the secretariat’s closure delivered a serious blow to the BDS groups as since then they have received fewer funds.

Some 350 participants from 30 countries are set to arrive in Israel next week for an international conference aimed at coordinating the struggle against efforts to delegitimize Israel and fight the BDS campaign.

According to Erdan, “The anti-Semitic BDS organizations disguise themselves as human rights activists, thereby succeeding in raising millions of euros from Western states. BDS organizations themselves have testified that our activity is one of the central threats they face.”

Yair Altman


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