German Group Cuts Support for Palestinian Rights NGO

Remembrance, Responsibility and Future, known by its German acronym, EVZ, says it supports education projects, but not those with a political agenda.

Uri Blau
Uri Blau
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Uri Blau
Uri Blau

A German foundation that helps victims of the Nazis has decided to discontinue funding the Israeli NGO, Zochrot (Remembering), which strives to raise awareness of the Palestinian Nakba among Jews in Israel. Remembrance, Responsibility and Future, known by its German acronym, EVZ, also asked the Israeli organization to remove any mention of it in its publications.

"EVZ supports educational projects but does not support organizations that also have a political agenda," one of the German foundation's directors, Gunter Saathoff, told Haaretz. "Since Zochrot supports the right of return, the foundation cannot extend its cooperation with it."

Zochrot founder Eitan Bronstein.Credit: Nir Keidar

EVZ's site states that the foundation is committed to the victims of National Socialism, a critical examination of history and working for human rights.

Recently, the Knesset has dealt with various bills to stop European funding of leftist groups in Israel. Sonja Bohme, a senior program manager at EVZ, confirmed that it received inquiries from Israel concerning its support of Zochrot.

Several months after promising 25,000 euros for an educational project dealing with the Nakba - the Palestinian term for the catastrophe that happened to them in 1948 - EVZ summoned new Zochrot director Liat Rosenberg to Berlin. "They requested we refrain from mentioning EVZ in our publications dealing with the project," said Rozenberg. After the meeting with Rosenberg, Bohme wrote a memo stating that "EVZ appreciates Zochrot's agreement not to make EVZ's support public."

In 2011 EVZ also supported Mahapach-Taghir, a Jewish-Arab organization commited to social change in Israel, but is yet to pledge future funding. Asked if the decision concerning Zochrot would influence support of Mahapach-Taghir, Saathoff said that the NGO's request had not been submitted yet and that "at this stage we cannot determine which projects will be funded in the future."

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