Italy / 06-12-2012
Report on Italian government funding for NGO's involved in demonization campaigns
By Prof Gerald M. Steinberg, President, NGO Monitor and Political Science Department, Bar Ilan Universit
For more than ten years, the Italian government and local authorities have provided taxpayer funds to a number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that are centrally involved in anti-peace and anti-Israel political advocacy. Like many other Western European governments, the flow of millions of Euros annually from the Italian budget to a number of radical political advocacy groups has been largely hidden from public view. There have been no government documents detailing how the recipients are chosen; listing the amounts and recipients in a comprehensive framework; or evaluating what, if anything useful has been accomplished. Clearly, this money has not led to breakthroughs in the Arab-Israeli peace efforts, or helped the Palestinian population under the control of Hamas become economically independent and democratic.
Similarly, the Italian parliament has not debated the justification of these policies, or examined the outcomes by asking whether these tens of millions are being spent wisely, or are actually counterproductive to stated policy goals of promoting peace, democracy, and human rights. In parallel, the otherwise active Italian journalists have allowed the NGO "halo effect" to prevent any serious independent investigations.
Given this history of failure, the following report, based on systematic, detailed and fully sourced research, marks an extremely important contribution to understanding the Italian government's annual budgetary allocation to a small group of political advocacy NGOs operating in the Middle East. For the first time, the evidence is presented both to the Italian public and the citizens in the region (particularly Israelis).
The analysis clearly demonstrates that, at the very least, millions of Euros in Italian taxpayer funds are being wasted every year on a small group of favored political NGOs that accomplish nothing of significance.
In a more disturbing analysis, this money is used for immoral objectives related to political warfare against Israel, singling out the Jewish state in a racist manner and exploiting the language of human rights to destroy these very principles. Since the notorious NGO Forum at the 2001 UN Durban conference adopted a strategy for the elimination of Israel based on false allegations of "apartheid" and "war crimes", these radical NGOs have received European government funding, including from Italy. There is no moral justification for government support of these anti-human rights, anti-peace, and anti-Israel organizations. While many use the language of human rights, humanitarian aid, and peace, their agendas are not consistent with any of these moral objectives.
The publication of this independent research report should not mark the end of this project, but rather, the beginning. On this basis, government ministries and officials have been put on notice -- the era of secret and immoral NGO funding is over. Parliamentary committees can begin investigations of the responsible officials and branches, while journalists now have a document that details this funding and the counterproductive NGO activities that result. In this way, Italy can join the UK and Canada, whose governments have begun to stop such wasteful and immoral NGO funding.