Row Over Alleged EU Support of Anti-Israel Groups

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Gilad Erdan, Minister of Internal Security (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

The European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has vigorously denied Israeli government reports that the E.U. is funding anti-Israel groups with ties to terrorists.

Mogherini protested on July 5 to Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan about it, claiming that his ministry was guilty of spreading disinformation, Haaretz said on Tuesday.

E.U. Ambassador to Israel Emanuele Giaufret told The Times of Israel on Tuesday that “the idea that the EU could support terrorism is entirely unfounded. We’re very determined in our fight against terrorism and remain opposed to the isolation of Israel or the questioning of its legitimacy. That’s why we don’t fund any BDS activity.”

However, Erdan said that the E.U. is ignoring the evidence his office had produced of its backing of the BDS and others with terror links.

“It is sad that the European Union foreign minister chooses to bury her head in the sand and to disregard the clear proofs that BDS organizations who receive funding from her are tied to or participate in activities with terror organizations,” he wrote. “Mogherini admits that most of the supported organizations appearing in the report are indeed promoting a boycott against Israel but explains why it is all right to support them.”

The ministry report, called “The Money Trail,” asserted that in 2016 the E.U. gave 5 million euros to organizations that “promote anti-Israel delegitimization and boycotts.”

Mogherini rejected the allegation and “any suggestion of EU involvement in supporting terror or terrorism” and warned that “vague and unsubstantiated accusations serve only to contribute to disinformation campaigns.”

“We are confident that EU funding has not been used to support boycott of Israel or BDS activities and certainly not to finance terrorism,” she stated.

Mogherini further said that Erdan’s report contained errors, and invited him “to come to Brussels at any point and present evidence you may have to substantiate these allegations.”

Continuing in a scolding tone, she wrote: “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 cooperation rather than through unsubstantiated material being publicized without prior dialogue and engagement.”