Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Anti-Semitism in an NGO? Who'd ever guess?

Theophil Pfister, a member of the Swiss People’s Party in the National parliament, submitted a legislative query about the Swiss funds being used to fund BADIL, calling the work of BADIL the “worst anti- Semitic propaganda.”

From an article in the J POST

The Swiss government froze its funding stream for a pro-Palestinian NGO because an anti-Semitic cartoon appeared on its website, according to a report in the Swiss daily Tages-Anzeiger on Wednesday.

Switzerland, Holland, Sweden and Denmark, which together fund the NGO Development Center (NDC), have contributed $270,000 since 2008 to BADIL: Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights.

“By stopping funding to BADIL, NDC is acknowledging that NGOs sometimes misuse foreign government funding to pursue radical political agendas,” wrote Gerald Steinberg, the head of the Jerusalem-based watchdog organization NGO Monitor, in an e-mail on Saturday to The Jerusalem Post.

The cartoon, which was posted in Fall 2010, shows a caricature of a Jewish man holding a blood-soaked pitchfork and keys while standing over a dead Arab child.

BADIL, founded in 1998, advocates a boycott, sanctions and divestment (BDS) strategy against the Jewish state.

Amjad Audeh, a BADIL spokesman, told Tages- Anzeiger that the publication of the cartoon was a “slip up.”

The Swiss government has not ruled out future monies for BADIL. The four EU countries are seeking new conditions from the Bethlehembased organization in order to continue their financial support.

According to Steinberg, BADIL is in the middle of a three year, $575,000 grant from the NDC.

“They are a leader in the BDS movement, they published an anti-Semitic cartoon on their website and they reject multiple peace initiatives.

These actions are clearly out of step with their European funders, and the funding has rightfully been frozen,” Steinberg said.

He said an independent public analysis of the “antipeace and anti-human rights NGOs” that are funded by European governments is needed.

“The damage done by irresponsible funding under the NDC has been very costly,” Steinberg said.

BADIL said a posted text from the Australian Holocaust denier Frederick Töben on its website in 2008 was also an oversight.

According to an extensive 2006 Eye on the UN report, titled, “The UN-NGO Connection: Spreading the Message of Hate and Terrorism,” BADIL is listed as “advocating the end of the Jewish state” and equating “Zionism with racism.”

According to NGO Monitor, BADIL advocates the end of Israel as a Jewish State, and glorifies violence, martyrdom, and intifada.

Thank you Switzerland, for freezing funding. Its about time.

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