A report presented to members of Congress on Tuesday by Jerusalem-based research institute NGO Monitor shows that US Government funding of several political NGOs in the Palestinian Authority and Israel contradicts US policy, has a negative impact on the peace process, and lacks the independent oversight necessary to prevent abuses.
"Some of the NGO grantees conduct activities that sharply contradict program objectives and policies," said Professor Gerald M. Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor.
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"The National Endowment for Democracy (NED), for instance, funded by the US Government, in turn funds political advocacy NGOs that demonize Israel and promote BDS (boycotts, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns targeting Israel. This activity is entirely inconsistent with US policy."
The reports mentions that one such organization is MIFTAH ($178,740 in 2007-2012), a Palestinian NGO involved in anti-Israel campaigns and anti-Semitism, including repetition of the infamous blood libel and allegations of "the slaughter of Palestinian children," according to Steinberg.
Another group, "Windows," received $750,000 in a three-year grant from the US Agency for International Development (USAID). It is described by the Agency as "a tool for Israeli and Palestinian participants to learn about each other." But according to NGO Monitor, Windows' Youth Media Program adopts a "Palestinian narrative of the conflict including highly offensive comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany."
Steinberg said, "Obviously, USAID and NED do not endorse such views, but the funding is indicative of the lack of supervision and transparency in such grants. Self-reporting, without independent evaluation on such complex issues, violates the principles of good governance."
NGO Monitor urged US officials to conduct "detailed, professional and independent evaluations of NGO activity before grant allocation, during implementation, and at the conclusion of the grant cycle."
NGO Monitor said it recently received an assurance from US Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro that "we have put in place greater policy oversight of grant-making decisions over the past few years."
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