Watchdog says its efforts spur Norwegian government to nix anti-Israel funding



The flag of Norway. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

( NGO Monitor, a Jerusalem-based research institute and watchdog group, said Monday that its efforts have led Norway to abandon its financial commitment to an international funding mechanism that supports anti-Israel non-governmental organizations.

Norway no longer appears as a donor on the website of the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (IHL Secretariat), whose members now include Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Denmark. According to a fact sheet published by NGO Monitor in September—before Norway’s pullout—IHL Secretariat’s $17.6 million three-year budget for 2014-2016 devoted a total of $5.78 million to 13 organizations supporting the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Norway joined IHL Secretariat in 2016 and contributed about $300,000 to the group, and it is “unclear how this funding was used,” NGO Monitor stated in its fact sheet.

After Norway joined IHL Secretariat, NGO Monitor “sent documentation to stakeholders in Norway, outlining our detailed research into the IHL Secretariat's funding to numerous political NGOs,” the watchdog group said Monday in an email to supporters.

“NGO Monitor fully briefed the Israeli mission in Norway and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” the group said. “Following this, Israeli officials raised NGO Monitor's concerns with Norwegian counterparts. This, coupled with the negative media attention, led many Norwegian officials to acknowledge the depth of Israel's concerns about this problematic funding scheme, ultimately leading [the Norwegian government] to leave the IHL Secretariat.”

The institute also noted its ongoing efforts to get the Netherlands to follow Norway’s lead on leaving IHL Secretariat. NGO Monitor said that its research, which was recently mentioned twice on the floor of the Dutch Parliament, found that the Dutch Policy and Operations Evaluation Department’s most recent review of government funding failed to “professionally, effectively, and impartially” analyze Dutch funding of groups with ties to terrorism and BDS.

Posted on November 28, 2016 .