Dutch question mark over finance for website

By Benjamin Weinthal, December 2, 2010
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The Dutch Foreign Minister, Uri Rosenthal, has backed an investigation of government funding for the Interchurch Organisation for Development Co-operation (ICCO), a Dutch aid organisation which finances the Electronic Intifada website. EI is plagued by antisemitic content and frequently compares Israeli policies with those of the Nazi regime.

Professor Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor, the Jerusalem-based organisation that tracks the activity of NGOs which violate their stated human rights agendas and advocate anti-Israeli policies, said: "This type of poisonous activity is precisely why European government funding of NGOs requires close oversight and full transparency."

NGO Monitor's revelations provoked Mr Rosenthal to say: "I will look into the matter personally. If it appears that the government-subsidised NGO ICCO does fund EI, it will have a serious problem with me."

The Netherlands funnelled €124 million to ICCO in 2008. The European Commission also funds ICCO.

But Marinus Verweij, chairman of ICCO's executive board , defended ICCO's financial support of EI.

He said: "EI reports frequently about the violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by the state of Israel. In no way is the EI anti-Israel or antisemitic."

    Last updated: 10:08am, December 3 2010