Israel's UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90) (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
Gilad Erdan

Mogherini’s “baseless accusations against me won’t stop me from stating the facts: EU taxpayer funds go to NGOs linked to BDS and terror. Mogherini invited me to Brussels to present our evidence. I’m happy to accept,” stated Erdan.

By: United with Israel Staff

Israel’s Minister of Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan rejected “baseless accusations” made by the European Union’s (EU) foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini that he was providing “vague and unsubstantiated” allegations that the EU has been financing activities against Israel through nonprofit organizations.

Israel’s Haaretz reported Tuesday that Mogherini sent a “personal and sharply worded” letter to Erdan demanding that he provide proof of his ministry’s “vague and unsubstantiated” allegations that the EU is financing terrorism and boycott activities against Israel through nonprofit organizations.

Mogherini’s letter was a response to a report issued in May by the Strategic Affairs Ministry, titled, “The millions given by EU institutions to NGOs with ties to terror and boycotts against Israel.”

Erdan replied to her letter publicly Tuesday on Twitter, saying Mogherini’s “baseless accusations against me won’t stop me from stating the facts: EU taxpayer funds go to NGOs linked to BDS and terror. Mogherini invited me to Brussels to present our evidence. I’m happy to accept.”

In a letter Erdan sent to Mogherini along with the report in May, he wrote that “an in-depth research study conducted by my ministry has revealed that in 2016 the EU funded 14 European and Palestinian NGOs which openly and clearly promote” the anti-Israel BDS campaign.

He also charged that “several of the BDS-promoting NGOs that receive direct and indirect EU funding are linked to EU-designated terrorist organizations.”

Erdan added that such funding weakens the EU-Israel relationship and “also undermines the chances for peace.”

5 Million Euros to Anti-Israel Groups

Israel said the NGOs received a total of 5 million euros ($5.9 million) in 2016, the last year for which data was available, according to the ministry report.

It accused some of the NGOs of having links to Palestinian terrorist organizations, citing, for example, the Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), which received more than 1.7 million euros ($2 million) in 2016.

In an April 2018 US court settlement, the NPA admitted to working with Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist organizations in Gaza.

The US Justice Department announced in April that the group had reached a settlement with the US over accusations that it provided “training and expert advice or assistance” to Hamas, the terrorist organization that rules the Gaza Strip, as well as other Palestinian terror groups and Iran. As part of the settlement, NPA “admitted to and accepted responsibility for its conduct” and agreed to pay more than $2 million.

The US, along with the EU, considers Hamas, a group that has targeted civilians in suicide bombings and other attacks, as a terrorist organization.

Others singled out in the report included the British organization War on Want, the Dutch anti-war group PAX and a number of Palestinian groups, including PNGO Net, an umbrella organization that works to coordinate Palestinian civil society.

Funding Violates EU Policy

Israel called on the EU to halt the funding, saying the financial support violates the EU’s stated policy of opposing boycotts against the Jewish state.

“The State of Israel expects the EU to act with full transparency and reveal the scope of its financial aid to organizations that have ties to terror and promote boycotts against Israel,” the report said. “Israel strongly urges the EU to fully implement in practice its declared policy of rejecting boycotts against Israel and to immediately halt funding to organizations which promote anti-Israel boycotts and de-legitimization.”

AP contributed to this report.