In a letter, EU’s Federica Mogherini asked Minister Gilad Erdan to provide proof of his ministry’s “vague and unsubstantiated” allegations that the EU is financing terror and boycott activities against Israel through nonprofit organizations.
BRUSSELS—Israeli Minister of Public Security and Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan has accepted an invitation to come to Brussels from EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini after she sent him a personal sharp-worded letter in which she accused him of making ‘’unfounded and unacceptable’’ allegations that the EU supports terror and boycott activities against Israel through nonprofit organizations, according to a report in daily Haaretz.
In her letter, Mogherini asked him to provide proof of his ministry’s “vague and unsubstantiated” allegations that the EU is financing terror and boycott activities against Israel through nonprofit organizations.
The letter responds to a report issued in May by the Strategic Affairs Ministry titled “The millions given by EU institutions to NGOs with ties to terror and boycotts against Israel.”
The report read : “An in-depth research study conducted by my ministry has revealed that in 2016 the EU funded fourteen European and Palestinian NGOs which openly and clearly promote BDS.”
It also mentioned that “several of the BDS-promoting NGOs that receive direct and indirect EU funding are linked to EU-designated terrorist organizations.”
The report claimed that in 2016 the EU had transferred more than 5 million euros (nearly $5.9 million) to organizations “that promote delegitimization and boycotts against Israel.”
Erdan said at the time that such funding undermines the EU-Israel relations and “also undermines the chances for peace.”
In her letter, Mogherini writes, “Allegations of the EU supporting incitement or terror are unfounded and unacceptable. The title of the report itself is also inopportune and misleading; it mixes terrorism with the boycott issue and it creates unacceptable confusion in the public eye regarding these two distinct phenomena.”
She added that the EU strongly objects “to any suggestion of EU involvement in supporting terror or terrorism,” and that “vague and unsubstantiated accusations serve only to contribute to disinformation campaigns.”
Mogherini also claims that the report in question contained errors. “For example, of the 13 organizations listed in the report, 6 do not receive EU funding for activities in Palestine and none of them receives EU funds for BDS activity,” she wrote. She also noted, “In addition, as reported widely by the Israeli press in recent weeks, a number of the organizations referred to in the report also receive funding from other international donors including the United States.”
With regard to the alleged support for the BDS movement, Mogherini writes to Erdan, “The European Union has not changed its position regarding the so-called ‘Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions’ (‘BDS’) movement. While it upholds its policy of clearly distinguishing between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied by it since 1967, the EU rejects any attempts to isolate Israel and does not support calls for boycott.’’
Minister Erdan responded to this report by stating: “It’s sad that the European Union’s foreign minister has once again chosen to hide her head in the sand and ignore the clear evidence that the BDS organizations which receive funding from it, either directly or indirectly, are linked to or cooperate with terrorist organizations like Hamas and the Popular Front. Mogherini admits that most of the funded organizations which appear in my ministry’s report indeed promote boycotts of Israel, yet she employs the ridiculous excuse that the money is given to the boycott organizations but used for other purposes, and not for their activities aimed at boycotting Israel.’’
In her letter, the EU foreign affairs chief invited Erdan to Brussels.
“You and your officials are welcome to come to Brussels at any point and present evidence you may have to substantiate these allegations.’’
“In the meantime, we invite your government to pursue a productive dialogue on civil society issues with us, as foreseen by the EU-Israel Action Plan, in a spirit of open and transparent cooporation rather than through unsubstantiated material being publicized without prior dialogue and engagement.”
Erdan said in a tweet that he accepted the invitation.