Wednesday, June 29, 2016
The U.S. government funnels millions of taxpayer dollars into groups that promote anti-Israel and anti-Semitic views, according to a forthcoming report from a watchdog for non-governmental organizations.
Determining the exact dollar amount is impossible to total due to a lack of transparency and widespread discrepancies in federal spending databases, the group NGO Monitor found in a new study that will be published later this month.
U.S. grants have gone to organizations that have called for the international community to divest from Israel, rationalized terrorist attacks against the Jewish state, and compared Israelis to Nazis.
Naftali Balanson, the chief of staff at NGO Monitor, said groups that promote policies that directly contradict U.S. government support for peace efforts should be disqualified from receiving funding.
“We encourage the end of all funding, both directly and indirectly, for NGOs that participate in the demonization and delegitimization campaigns,” Balanson 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 NGO Monitor report cited Jewish Voice for Peace, American Friends Service Committee, and the New York-based Rockefeller Brothers Fund as groups that engage in anti-Israel rhetoric.
The National Endowment for Democracy, which provides more than 1,200 NGO grants worldwide, is funded largely by Congress and is dependent on continued support from the White House.
The organization pours taxpayer money into the Human Rights and Democracy Media Center, which accuses Israel of “ethnic cleansing,” “targeting innocent people,” and calls it the “state of terrorism,” and an “enemy” of women, according to the report.
Another group that receives grants from the endowment, the Al-Dameer Association for Human Rights, is cited in the report as referring to terrorists as “martyrs” and refers to the Palestinian “right to resist” through measures of terrorism.
Balanson said the United States needs to enhance transparency by creating a spending database that provides detailed information on approved grants so that taxpayers know where their money is being spent. He said the government also needs to implement a rigorous evaluation system so that U.S. grants are not sent to groups promoting delegitimization.
“The U.S. should be using its money to encourage peace, more cooperation, and the reduction of tensions,” he said.
Update 9:17 a.m.: Following publication, Jane Jacobsen, a spokeswoman at the National Endowment for Democracy, told the Free Beacon that funding to the two groups goes directly toward intensive courses and training on human rights standards for university students and youth clubs in Gaza and the West Bank.
“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 said. “NED has zero tolerance for anti-Semitism or incitement to violence, and would immediately cease to fund any organization that engaged in it.”