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Israeli minister calls on EU foreign-policy chief to halt funding of BDS activities

E.U. funding of groups that promote Israel boycott harms Europe-Israel ties, encourages continuation of Palestinian conflict, Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan writes to Federica Mogherini • E.U. delegation to Israel: We oppose any attempt to isolate Israel.

European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini. Credit: Annika Haas via Flickr.
European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini. Credit: Annika Haas via Flickr.

Israel’s Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan has called on the European Union to end its “hypocrisy” and stop funding organizations that support the boycott of Israel.

In a letter to European Union foreign-policy chief Federica Mogherini, Erdan wrote, “The fact that the European Union provides funds to organizations that support a boycott of Israel and call for the arrest of IDF officers discriminates against the Jewish state, harms ties between the European Union and Israel, and encourages the continuation of the conflict with the Palestinians.”

The E.U. has upheld the rights of its citizens to call for a boycott of Israel as freedom of expression, but has stressed that as a body it opposes any boycott of Israel.

Erdan sent the letter to Mogherini after the Strategic Affairs Ministry found the E.U. was donating millions of dollars to organizations that support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement in violation of its own policy.

According to a report by the ministry, the E.U. has directly transferred more than €5 million ($5.9 million) to organizations that promote the delegitimization of Israel. Millions more are transferred indirectly to such organizations via third parties, according to the report.

Erdan called on Mogherini to “stop the funding of organizations that promote a boycott of Israel, demand that organizations that receive E.U. funding not be involved in promoting boycotts against Israel, and act with full transparency” in how those organizations use E.U. financial assistance.

In a statement, the E.U. delegation to Israel said it was examining the report’s findings.

“The European Union opposes any attempt to isolate Israel and does not support calls for a boycott,” the statement said. “The union does not fund activities related to boycotts. …  Claims that the E.U. supports incitement or terrorism are unfounded.”

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