The Swiss government has decided to de-fund its support for the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions campaign against Israel in the wake of an expose by NGO Monitor.
The Bern leadership provides approximately one million Swiss francs each year to the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat in Ramallah, which then moves the money along to more than 30 pro-Palestinian Authority NGOs (non-governmental organizations).
According to the president of the NGO Monitor, Professor Gerald Steinberg of Bar Ilan University, more than half of the groups are active in the BDS movement and lawfare campaigns. Some of the recipients are citizen groups of the Palestinian Authority — such as Al Haq, Al Mezan and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights — who may have links with alleged members of the PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) terrorist group.
Radical leftist Israeli groups such as B’tselem, Adalah and Breaking the Silence have also been recipients of the Swiss largesse.
None of the above was discussed in Switzerland among lawmakers until recently, Steinberg wrote in his blog. Briefings and and reports made available to prominent Swiss journalists by the NGO Monitor prompted requests for documents under freedom of information regulations. This led to exposure of antisemitism, lack of transparency and wasteful spending by the Secretariat.
On Wednesday the Parliament voted (111 to 78 with 4 abstentions) to ‘amend the laws, ordinances and regulations so that Switzerland can no longer subsidize, even indirectly, development cooperation projects carried out by NGOs involved in racist, antisemitic or hate incitement actions, or in BDS… campaigns.’
However, Steinberg warned in his blog that the final decision would not be taken until May, when the Swiss Council of States considers the matter.
Meanwhile, the Israeli government has passed a law barring the entry of non-citizens who participate in the BDS movement and/or publicly call for boycotts against Israel.