Breaking the Silence receives most of its funding from Europe

March 18, 2016  

NGO Monitor, a watchdog which tracks extremist anti-Israel NGOs, on Friday revealed that the leftist organization Breaking the Silence received 78% of its budget between 2012 and 2015 from European governments, including Switzerland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, France, and the EU.

Additional amounts came from the New Israel Fund, NGO Monitor revealed. During those years, Breaking the Silence’s budget amounted to some 6.8 million shekels, or $1.8 million.

The revelation comes in the wake of the investigative report on Breaking the Silence which aired on Channel 2 on Thursday and found that the group has apparently been collecting sensitive information on IDF methods and equipment.

“Major donations from European governments have enabled the members of Breaking the Silence to implement their radical agenda, including obtaining potentially classified information with no connection to ethics or human rights,” Professor Gerald Steinberg of NGO Monitor said in a statement Friday.

“All of Breaking the Silence’s activities, including false campaigns regarding alleged war crimes and revelations regarding potential espionage, are enabled by the financial support of foreign governments. The latest revelations highlight the need for European governments to implement vital transparency and oversight, without the excuses offered in the past, and adopt strict guidelines regarding secret funding processes for political NGOs that do so much damage in the Arab-Israeli context,” added Steinberg.

In correspondence with NGO Monitor following the Channel 2 program, the EU Ambassador to Israel Lars Faarborg Andersen stated that the EU was unaware of Breaking the Silence’s activities in collecting sensitive information on the IDF, and had not requested nor received such information from the NGO.

NGO Monitor noted in its statement that contrary to Breaking the Silence’s claim their materials “do not express the position of the funders,” the European governments are enablers that are automatically implicated in all of the activities of their grantees. In some cases, this linkage is very specific: NGO Monitor research reveals that in 2009 some funders made grants conditional on the NGO obtaining a minimum number (90) of negative and anonymous “testimonies.”

“I reiterate the urgent need for European governments and parliaments to examine in detail their funding processes, to act according to the requirements of due diligence, and to ensure that all groups they fund act in accordance with basic moral principles,” continued Prof. Steinberg.

MKs from across the political spectrum reacted with anger to the investigative report on Breaking the Silence, calling for an investigation into the group.

On Friday, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon ordered the Military Advocate General to launch an investigation following the investigative report.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had already announced on Thursday night that Breaking the Silence would be investigated, warning that it had “crossed another red line.”

The organization for its part chose to lash out at Netanyahu, saying that he should be investigated for wanting to investigate them.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)

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