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Denmark to suspend funding to BDS groups

Danish Foreign Minister, Anders Samuelsen [Eget Arbejde/Wikipedia]
Danish Foreign Minister, Anders Samuelsen [Eget Arbejde/Wikipedia]

Denmark has announced that it will no longer provide any funding to groups that endorse the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, in what pro-Israel activists have called a significant step.

Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen announced the new policy earlier this month is a document entitled ”Explanations about the conditions for Danish support for Israeli and Palestinian civil society organisations.”

“The use of Danish funds for political purposes, including BDS activities, is unacceptable,” read the conditions. The other guidelines mandate the defunding of any recipient caught “associating with a terrorist movement”, violating human rights principles or “questioning Israel’s right to exist”.

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Olga Deutsch, the director of the Europe Desk at the right-wing, pro-Israel watchdog, NGO Monitor commended the Danish move.

“Switzerland and Norway addressed similar issues earlier this year, and we hope that Denmark’s guidelines will serve as an example for other European countries,” she said.

Last December, Denmark suspended its aid to many Palestinian groups and then more than halved the number of such recipient groups it had decided to fund in 2018.

The investigation started after the Palestinian village of Buraq opted to name a women’s centre after slain Palestinian resistance fighter, Dalal Mughrabi. The Swiss Foreign Ministry also announced last year that it had stopped funding the Palestinian NGO Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat due to the name change, alongside Norway. In 2017 Belgium also ended its funding for Palestinian schools over the naming of one such institution in honour of Mughrabi.

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Numerous Palestinian organisations have come under fire from donors due to their support for the BDS campaign. Pro-Israeli groups have often been behind such action, after convincing policymakers that any attempts at Palestinian resistance, including support for the non-violent BDS movement, equates to terrorism.

Earlier this month, France announced that it would no longer label products produced in illegal Israeli settlements after it was sued by a pro-Israel think tank for “discrimination”. In August, two municipalities in Spain rescinded their support for the BDS movement after a pro-Israel group threatened them with legal action. In May 2017, Israel also successfully pressured the Danish government into suspending support and funding to groups that advocated for a boycott of Israeli goods.

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