October 11, 2010
* On May 5, 2010, the Palestinian NGO BADIL awarded a prize to a blatantly antisemitic cartoon, featuring a grotesque caricature of a Jewish man standing over a dead Arab child and holding a pitchfork dripping with blood.
* The image was featured on its website until NGO Monitor contacted DanChurchAid, a BADIL partner, and its officials intervened.
* BADILâ€™s funding is entirely non-transparent. NGO Monitor research reveals that BADILâ€™s funders include a number of European governments and church groups, including TrÃ³caire and DanChurchAid.
* BADIL is a leader in anti-Israeli demonization, including the global BDS (boycotts, divestment, and sanctions) campaign, lawfare attempts targeting Israeli officials in international and European courts, and tendentious written and oral statements to the UN Human Rights Council. These activities are inconsistent with peace efforts.
* In correspondence with NGO Monitor a representative from DanChurchAid agreed that the cartoon was antisemitic, attributing â€œthis unfortunate incidentâ€ to â€œa misjudgment or error on behalf of Badil management.â€
* In response to NGO Monitor’s analysis, BADIL Director Ingrid Jaradat Gassner reiterated the emphasis on demonization. She called on Europeans to support the BDS campaign, and repeated anti-peace propaganda, alleging â€œIsrael has stolen and colonized Palestinian land, displaced millions of our people and imprisoned, tortured, wounded, maimed and killed hundreds of thousands of Palestinians.â€
On May 5, 2010, the Palestinian â€œright of returnâ€ NGO known as BADIL announced the winners of its 2010 â€œAl-Awda Awardsâ€ at ceremonies in Ramallah and Gaza. Second place in the â€œBest Caricatureâ€ category and $600 were awarded to a blatantly antisemitic cartoon, featuring a grotesque caricature of a Jewish man standing over a dead Arab child and holding a pitchfork dripping with blood.
BADILâ€™s funders include a number of European governments and church groups, including TrÃ³caire and DanChurchAid (DCA), even though this type of incitement violates the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rightsâ€™ antisemitism guidelines. The guidelines explicitly refer to the employment of â€œsinister stereotypes and negative character traits,â€ as well as the use of â€œthe symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.â€
BADILâ€™s caricature features a stereotypical representation of a Jewish man in traditional Hasidic attire, with sidelocks and a hooked nose. Reflecting blood libel accusations, he has a menacing grin, and is surrounded by dead and dying Arab children and skulls. He is standing on a platform with â€œ1948â€ on it, and the symbol of the State of Israel (Star of David), labeling the establishment of Israel as murderous and evil.
The offensive cartoon was displayed at an exhibition in Ramallah, and then published on BADILâ€™s website. In August, NGO Monitor included reference to this cartoon in correspondence with DCA, one of BADILâ€™s partners, and the image was removed from parts of the website; following further correspondence on this matter, by October it had been completely removed and was replaced with a disclaimer: â€œThis cartoon does not meet BADIL standards, and measures have been taken in order to ensure that future winning entries to the Awda-Award will comply with these standards.â€ There is no indication that the award was withdrawn from the producer of the cartoon.
BADIL’s Wider Agenda
BADILâ€™s funding is entirely non-transparent. Independent research reveals that BADIL received $100,000 via the NDC (joint funding of Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands) in 2008-9. BADIL has also received funding from DanChurchAid (DCA) and TrÃ³caire (the Irish Catholic Churchâ€™s humanitarian aid organization that receives most of its funding from the Irish government).
(NGO Monitor requested information from DCA and Swiss Aid regarding their funding for BADIL, but did not receive a response at publication time.)
The larger framework of BADILâ€™s ideology is premised on promoting a so-called Palestinian â€œright of return,â€ and rejecting Israel as a Jewish state. BADILâ€™s website describes the establishment of the State of Israel as follows: â€œForced displacement which created the refugee issue, has been yet another dimension of the Zionist project to establish the state of Israel as a racist colonial entityâ€ (emphasis added). Like the cartoon, this rhetoric is a political variant of antisemitism, as defined by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights: â€œDenying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.â€
BADIL is a leader in the global BDS (boycotts, divestment, and sanctions) campaign, featuring a â€œBDS campaign updateâ€ on its website. In 2007, BADIL published a strategy document aimed at antagonizing Jews, advocating efforts to â€œ[e]nlist journalists to organize a targeted campaign to expose the lies of AIPAC and the Anti-Defamation League and to expose the Jewish and Zionist community’s double standards regarding Nakba & Occupation.â€
BADIL is similarly involved in lawfare attempts to prosecute Israeli military officials in international and European courts, and has accused Israel of â€œgenocideâ€ and â€œslow genocide.â€ Another focus is submitting condemnatory written and oral statements to the UN Human Rights Council.
Funder Response: DanChurchAid
One of BADILâ€™s most prominent supporters and funders is DanChurchAid (DCA), a major Danish â€œfaith-based and ecumenical, non-missionary organisation rooted in the Danish National Evangelical Lutheran Church.â€ In a 2006 evaluation of BADIL, conducted by DCA and TrÃ³caire, BADIL was praised for its â€œimportant role in the coordination and launching of the BDS campaign.â€
On August 25, 2010 NGO Monitor wrote to DCA officials, asking whether they were familiar with the cartoon and whether DCA had funded the contest. DCA claimed that they did not fund the Al-Awda Awards, and were unaware of the cartoon. The regional DCA representative, however, agreed that the cartoon was antisemitic, but attributed â€œthis unfortunate incidentâ€ to â€œa misjudgment or error on behalf of Badil management.â€(Click here to read the full correspondence.)
NGO Monitor also raised the problem of DCA support for radical NGOs that obstruct peace efforts and reject a â€œtwo-stateâ€ solution, such as BADIL, in a September 14, 2010 op-ed in the Danish-language Berlingske Tidende.. In a follow-up article (September 23), NGO Monitor showed how BADILâ€™s antisemitic cartoon was an example of the immorality of some of DanChurchAidâ€™s partnerships.
BADIL Director Ingrid Jaradat Gassner responded (September 25) by calling on â€œthe populations and governments in Europeâ€ to â€œsupport the BDS Campaign because it advocates a just peaceâ€ (translation by NGO Monitor). She also alleged that â€œFor decades, Israel has stolen and colonized Palestinian land, displaced millions of our people and imprisoned, tortured, wounded , maimed and killed hundreds of thousands of Palestinians.â€ Gassner completely ignored the cartoon and did not deny that it was antisemitic.
DCA General Director Henrik Stubjkaer also replied to NGO Monitorâ€™s analysis. He affirmed that BADILâ€™s cartoon is antisemetic, but also reiterated that DCA considers the partnership with BADIL â€œimportantâ€ because DCA was able to â€œcall BADIL and criticize the poster, which was then removed. In our opinion, such a dialogue also contributes to peaceâ€ (translation by NGO Monitor).
In contrast to peace and compromise, BADILâ€™s political agenda focuses on extensive advocacy for a Palestinian â€œright of return,â€ rejection of normalization with Israel, and demonization of Israel as a â€œracist state.â€ As demonstrated by the highly offensive cartoon, which won an award as part of a â€œmobilizationâ€ campaign for commemorating the â€œNakbaâ€ (catastrophe) of 1948, this agenda is rooted in an antisemitic ideology, manifested in classic and modern forms, that precludes and vilifies Israel and Jews.
By funding and supporting BADILâ€™s activities, NGOs such as DanChurchAid and Trocaire are facilitating incitement, including classic antisemitic themes. It is immoral to partner with an organization that rewards blatant antisemitism and uses highly offensive images as part of its anti-Israel campaigns.
The governments and taxpayers of Denmark and Ireland, respectively, which heavily fund these organizations, are also implicated. This example further highlights the need for an independent and systematic examination of all funding for political advocacy NGOs active in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.