Letter to Minister of Foreign affairs
Alfonso María Dastis Quecedo
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs
June 29, 2017
Dear Minister Dastis,
We had the opportunity yesterday, on June 28, 2017, to share new research(1) conducted by NGO Monitor and ACOM with a group of members of the Spanish Congreso de los Diputados from across the political spectrum. Following a constructive discussion, we wish to call your attention to and enlist your support for addressing the misuse of public funds uncovered by this research.
Spanish taxpayer money has repeatedly been granted to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that glorify terrorism, promote antisemitism, and/or have alleged ties to terrorist organizations. Such funding amounted to over €5.1 million in 2015 alone.
The single largest Spanish donor to such NGOs is the Agencia Andaluza de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo (AACID), which granted €1,446,397 in 2015, closely followed by your Ministry’s Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo (AECID), which provided €1,326,720.
Each of these Spanish grantees supports discriminatory BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions)(2) campaigns that target Israel economically, culturally, and academically. All but one collaborate with Palestinian NGOs associated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)(3) , a designated terrorist organization by the EU(4), US(5), Canada(6), and Israel(7).
For instance, in 2015, AECID granted €184,989 (8) to the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) (9). UAWC was founded in 1968 by members of the PFLP (1o) and is an official PFLP “affiliate.” (11)
During the same year, AECID also granted €128,825 (12) to the Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counseling (WCLAC) (13). A prominent WCLAC activist, Manal Tamimi, frequently utilizes antisemitic and violent rhetoric and imagery on social media. For example, tweeting in September 2015, “Vampire zionist (sic) celebrating their Kebore day by drinking Palestinian bloods (sic), yes our blood is pure & delicious but it will kill u at the end.” (14)
Furthermore, in 2017, Tamimi was invited by the Spanish NGO NOVACT to a conference (15) on “preventing violent extremism.” The conference was funded by the provincial deputation and the municipality of Barcelona and the Agència Catalana de Cooperació al Desenvolupament (ACCD).
Moreover, over 60 municipalities and two provincial deputations in Spain have passed anti-Israel boycott resolutions in the past two years, following aggressive campaigns led by these same groups. Over fifteen court rulings, two of them from high courts, have deemed these resolutions discriminatory and hence in breach of fundamental constitutional rights.
These findings point to a distinct ideological trend against Israel – manifested in calls for its isolation, promotion of libelous distortions against Israeli entities and individuals, endorsement of violence against civilians, and the attempt to ostracize anyone affiliated with or supportive of Israel, including Spanish citizens and companies. Additionally, the one-sided campaigns promoted by these NGOs push peace between Israelis and Palestinians further away.
As such, it is clear that public funding is currently being allocated to groups whose activities undermine Spanish foreign policy objectives and violate universal principles of foreign aid.
In light of the long and enduring friendship between our two countries and our shared commitment to the fight against terror and extremism, we believe a way should be found to stop the transfer of funds to organizations that glorify terrorism and seek to delegitimize the State of Israel.
Spain, like many other European allies of Israel, has consistently expressed its opposition to BDS and other forms of delegitimization. We call on you to follow the example of countries such as Denmark, Switzerland, and Norway, and undertake decisive measures to stop this abuse of taxpayer funds.
Member of Knesset, Chair of Yesh Atid Europe
Desk Director, NGO Monitor
Angel Mas Murcia
CC: Ildefonso Castro López, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs