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June 15, 2017 8:37 am

Switzerland Votes to Ban Funding of Antisemitic Groups

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Switzerland. Photo: Princeton University.

JNS.org – The Federal Assembly of Switzerland on Tuesday passed a resolution prohibiting the government from funding organizations that promote racism, antisemitism, hatred and incitement. A similar resolution was passed by the assembly’s National Council two months ago.

NGO Monitor, a Jerusalem-based watchdog group investigating anti-Israel activity by nongovernmental organizations around the world, said the decision was the result of “three years of NGO Monitor publications and presentations documenting the issue of unchecked and unaccountable NGO funding by Switzerland” involving anti-Israel and anti-Semitic activity.

According to NGO Monitor, the primary channel for Swiss funding of Israeli and Palestinian organizations is the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat, a joint funding mechanism used by Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands and Norway. The Secretariat operates out of Birzeit University near Ramallah, and funds organizations that support the BDS movement.

NGO Monitor President Prof. Gerald Steinberg said the decision “marks a fundamental change.”

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“When we first approached Swiss government officials, including the Foreign Ministry, their response was denial,” he said. “For the first time, a European country has passed legislation to end funding for NGOs that are vehicles for incitement and hate speech, specifically including antisemitism.”

Steinberg said NGO Monitor would “continue to work with officials, parliamentarians and diplomats from Switzerland, Denmark and throughout Europe to monitor implementation of these changes, particularly regarding Secretariat funding.”

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