EU high representative for foreign affairs Federica Mogherini sent a sharp-worded letter to Israel's Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, accusing him of making “unfounded and unacceptable” allegations that the bloc supports terrorist activities.
In her letter, she responds to a report released in May by the Strategic Affairs Ministry that accuses the EU of giving millions of dollars to NGOs with terror ties and that promote the boycott of Israel.
Mogherini said: “The EU has very strict rules to screen and vet the beneficiaries of EU funds. We take any allegation of misuse of EU funds very seriously and are committed to investigate all those presented with substantive evidence.”
She asserted that EU funding has not been used to support the boycott of Israel or Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS) activities and certainly not to finance terrorism.
In a letter Erdan sent to Mogherini along with the report, he claimed: “An in-depth research study conducted by my ministry has revealed that in 2016 the EU funded 14 European and Palestinian NGOs, which openly and clearly promote BDS.”
He charged that “several of the BDS-promoting NGOs that receive direct and indirect EU funding are linked to EU-designated terrorist organizations.”
Erdan warned that such financing undermines the EU-Israel relationship and “also undermines the chances for peace.”
In her letter, Mogherini stated that the report in question contained errors. “For example, of the 13 organizations listed in the report, six do not receive EU funding for activities in Palestine and none of them receive EU funds for BDS activity,” she wrote.
She added that a number of the organizations referred to in the report also receive funding from other international donors, including the United States.
Mogherini went on to explain that with regard to the alleged support for the BDS movement, the EU has not changed its position regarding the movement.
While it upholds its policy of clearly distinguishing between the territory 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, she stressed.
She asserted that EU does not fund actions that are related to boycott activities.
Erdan responded to Mogherini’s response, saying she has once again chosen to “bury her head in the sand and ignore the clear evidence that the BDS organizations” are linked to or cooperate with “terrorist” organizations like Hamas and the Popular Front.