Monday, November 21, 2011

How Much Foreign Funding Must An Israeli NGO Get Before It's No Longer An Israeli NGO?

Breaking The Silence may be a good case in point.

Breaking the Silence seems to be more a product of Europe than of Israel. Why would an Israeli NGO like Breaking The Silence have to spend so much time outside of Israel?
"[I]n contrast to the perception that BtS [Breaking the Silence] is rooted in Israeli civil society and addresses the Israeli public, the organization, in fact, focuses on lobbying and advocacy before foreign audiences. BtS exemplifies a serious problem, which has triggered a robust debate in the Israeli public and Knesset about the role of NGOs and NGO funders.

Breaking the Silence describes its mission as “expos(ing) the Israeli public to the routine situations of everyday life in the Occupied Territories....pushing Israeli society to face the reality whose creation it has enabled.” Yet, as NGO Monitor has documented in its report on the frequent international campaigning of Israeli NGOs, BtS conducts a significant amount of its activities outside of Israel.

...One must question why a group that claims to want to impact Israeli society spends so much time speaking to anti-Israel audiences abroad and reinforcing the image of the Israeli soldier as evil doer and “war criminal.”

What makes Breaking the Silence so much a product of Europe is not merely the amount of time they spend in Europe bashing Israel--it's the ridiculous degree to which they rely on Europe's money:
Another significant problem is that BtS is a patron of several European governments. More than 75% of the organization’s 2010 budget – the last available public documents – came from government funding sources, under the pretense of support for human rights and democracy."

Hmmmm, nice work, if you can get it.

According to NGO Monitor, Breaking the Silence gets direct funding from Spain, the EU, the and the UK as well as joint funds from Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands and Switzerland. Then there is the indirect funding: from Netherlands (via ICCO), Sweden (via Diakonia), Ireland (via Trocaire), Denmark (via Dan Church Aid) and UK (via Christian Aid). In 2010, Breaking the Silence received a total of NIS 1,983,472--amounting to 76.3% of their total funding.

All you need to do is follow the money to know what to expect from Breaking the Silence.

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