A large number of Christian aid organizations are providing significant finances and support to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) which exacerbate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to a recent report by NGO Monitor.
“Protestant and Catholic charities are funding highly politicized anti-Israel NGOs on a massive scale,” senior NGO Monitor researcher Yitzhak Santis told Tazpit Press Service.
“Many of these NGOs act against peace as they encourage conflict and tensions while supporting the goal of dismantling the State of Israel and thereby deny the Jewish people the right to national self-determination.”
NGO Monitor’s report follows Pope Francis’ remarks last week at a meeting with leaders from the World Zionist Organization, in which he strongly condemned anti-Semitism and opposition to Israel’s right to exist.
“In light of Pope Francis’ statement that opposing Israel’s right to exist is a form of antisemitism, those Christian charities funding NGOs acting to bring about Israel’s demise need to engage in a deep soul-searching about their actions and cease their unethical funding of such groups,” Santis added to TPS.
Among the many Palestinian NGOs that are supported by Christian charities include Sabeel, Badil and Christ at the Checkpoint. NGO Monitor stated in its report that Sabeel is an active proponent of the Boycott Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel and has occasionally engaged in classic anti-Semitic deicide imagery. Sabeel has also criticized Judaism as “tribal,” “primitive,” and “exclusionary.”
A number of Christian charities finance Sabeel including Kerk in Actie, Diakonia, World Vision, Mennonite Central Committee, Church of Scotland, Presbyterian Church USA, Presbyterian Church of Canada, United Church of Christ and Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace.
The Palestinian NGO BADIL, supported by the Christian charities of Dan Church Aid and Trócaire, has gone to the extent of condoning and even praising anti-Semitic cartoon imagery. NGO Monitor referenced BADIL’s 2010 Al-Awda Nakba caricature competition in which a cartoon depicting a Jewish man dressed in Hasidic garb holding a pitchfork dripping with blood while standing on skulls and dead Palestinian children, won a monetary award for second prize.
While funding had been temporarily halted from some of BADIL’s donors after NGO Monitor disclosed the award to Dan Church Aid, the financial support was eventually reinstated without any clear explanation.
The Palestinian “Christ At The Checkpoint” NGO, whose Christian donors include Cordaid and Kerk in Actie, has on occasion attempted to delegitimize Israel with the Khazar theory.
The theory, often used by many anti-Semites, claims that Israel’s Ashkenazic population has no Semitic ancestry and instead traces its roots to the ancient nomadic Khazars, from the Eastern European Caucasus. At a Christ at the Checkpoint conference in 2010, Rev. Mitri Raheb claimed that “Netanyahu comes from an East European tribe who converted to Judaism in the Middle Ages.”
NGO Monitor explained in its report that Israel’s “Amutot (Non-Profit Organizations) Law” requiring all Israeli NGO to disclose all foreign government financing to Israel’s Registrar of Nonprofit Organizations at the Ministry of Justice, has helped NGO Monitor gather more data on donations to Israeli NGOs from Christian aid organizations.
NGO Monitor stated that since 2012, Christian charities have contributed approximately NIS 17 million shekels to 14 Israeli NGOs, some of which undermine Israel and its Jewish identity.
Christian charities comprised as much as 83% of the foreign funding to Zochrot, an NGO which pushes for the “right of return” for all Palestinian refugees since Israel’s War of Independence in 1948. Zochrot’s director Eitan Bronstein even admitted that “when the refugees return, Jews will become a minority in the country. Israel as a Jewish state will change radically, and it will no longer be defined as such.”
The “Who Profits” NGO, which is an active participant in the BDS movement, received as much as 81% of its foreign funding from Christian aid organizations. The NGO has helped BDS activists target Israeli banks, security companies, civil infrastructure facilities and even private companies.
NGO Monitor’s report added that the financial statements and lists of funders for the NGOs in both Israel and the Palestinian Authority, indicate that a good number of the NGOs depend on donations from Christian aid organizations for their financial survival.