Europe funds what could be most vicious smear against Israel yet

In its research, NGO Monitor discovered that the groups are working together an an agenda whose goal is to besmirch Israel with false charges.

By World Israel New Staff

The European Union is funding an anti-Israel smear campaign organized by Palestinian and international NGOs to accuse the IDF of abusing Palestinian children in order to level international sanctions against Israel, the watchdog group NGO Monitor said in a report released Thursday.

“Palestinian and international NGOs – funded by European governments and working in tandem with UNICEF’s West Bank and Gaza branch – have built an extensive campaign, using false charges of abuse of Palestinian children in the effort to trigger sanctions against Israel,” the report said.

“In reality, they are financing advocacy campaigns that fuel the conflict – including some led by organizations with ties to the PFLP – pushing for sanctions and other forms of BDS against Israel,” the group said, referring to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a Palestinian group that the EU itself designated as a terror group.

NGO Monitor demands greater transparency by the foreign-funded groups that operate in Israel claiming to be “human rights” organizations.

In its research, NGO Monitor discovered that the groups are working together with an agenda whose “core goal is to have the IDF included on a list of child rights abusers, published annually by the UN Secretary General as an annex to the report on Children and Armed Conflict.”

According to the report, those claims can then be taken to the International Criminal Court to prosecute IDF officers for alleged “war crimes” against children and also try to get international sanctions against Israel.

Following a 2018 report on UNICEF that documented the beginnings of the anti-Israel campaign, UNICEF stopped publishing a list of its NGO partners in what the report said was either a lack of transparency, or “perhaps in response to NGO Monitor research.”

The consortium of groups working with UNICEF to blacklist Israel over the alleged child abuse includes at least 13 organizations, several of which openly promote the BDS agenda “and other forms of political warfare against Israel, and a number are closely linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP),” which is also designated a terror group by the U.S. and Canada.

According to the report, UNICEF wanted $3.35 million in funding for “human rights mechanisms … to hold Israel accountable for its obligations under international law.” That language is used by anti-Israel groups as a means of pushing for sanctions against Israel, the report noted.

In total, since 2018, the campaign has received at least €3.2 million from the EU and $6.7 million from other European countries and UN frameworks.

“NGOs that receive this funding continue to accuse Israel of violations against Palestinian children, often inventing legal doctrines and standards in order to do so,” the report noted, and many of the groups use the funding to lobby Congress to push the anti-Israel agenda.

The allegations pushed by the anti-Israel groups “are often based on invented standards, distortions of international law, unreliable sources collected by terror-linked and BDS-supporting actors; they reflect a marked lack of familiarity with actual Israeli practice,” the report said.

While attacking Israel for alleged crimes, the same groups totally ignore the abuse of children by Palestinian authorities, including inciting them to commit terrorism and the active recruitment of minors for military training by Palestinian terrorist organizations – a clear violation of international laws.

As standard operating procedure, the working group of NGOs has no official Israeli representative or Israeli experts on the needs of children, and the report noted that no Palestinian child experts are involved either.

“These and other NGOs create a political echo chamber by writing their own reports alleging Israeli violations of child rights and often citing each other. These reports are anecdotal and do not appear to adhere to human right fact-finding standards. They also rely on invented legal definitions in order to paint Israeli action in a harsher light,” NGO Monitor said.

In its conclusions, NGO Monitor called on the EU to immediately comply with its own anti-terror laws and  stop funding any groups with ties to the PFLP, and instead of relying on anti-Israel groups, the EU should engage in direct diplomacy with Israel to resolve any issues.

The EU Delegation in Israel issued a statement denying it was funding “any campaign aiming at adding an Israeli or Palestinian entity to the annex of the UN annual report on children and armed conflict,” Israel Hayom reported.

Bypassing the specific allegations in the NGO Monitor report, including the links to the PFLP, the EU said it “will continue to support civil society organizations which play an indispensable role in any democratic society, in fostering pluralism and democratic values as well as in promoting good governance, human rights and rule of law, both in the EU and across the world.”