Norwegian-Funded NGOs Responsible for Norwegian Pension Fund Divestment

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Background
  • On November 1, 2013, the Norwegian Council on Ethics, an evaluation body of the Ministry of Finance and GPFG, recommended the “exclusion” of two Israeli companies, Africa Israel Investments Ltd (AFI) and its subsidiary Danya Cebus Ltd, from the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG). The given reason was “an unacceptable risk of the companies, through their construction activity in East Jerusalem, contributing to serious violations of the rights of individuals in situations of war or conflict.”
  • On January 30, 2014, GPFG announced that it had listed these companies on its “excluded from the Fund’s investment universe” list under the category of “serious violations of individuals’ rights in situations of war or conflict.”
  • NGO Monitor’s research shows that Norwegian, Israeli, and Palestinian NGOs lobbied the Norwegian Council on Ethics and GPFG to impose this ban, as part of the Durban strategy of demonizing Israel in order to isolate it internationally. Furthermore, the Norwegian government has provided significant funding for these NGOs.
  • This is the second time GPFG has excluded AFI Ltd and Danya Cebus Ltd as a result of NGO lobbying.  GPFG removed AFI and Danya Cebus Ltd from its investment fund in 2010, following NGO pressure. In August 2013, this decision was rescinded, as recommended by the Council of Ethics and the Ministry of Finance, because “information has been provided stating that neither Africa Israel Investments…nor any of its subsidiaries are involved in the construction of settlements in the West Bank anymore.” NGOs then intensively lobbied the Norwegian government to overturn the reversal.
NGO Lobbying of GPFG
  • Norwegian, Israeli, and Palestinian NGOs had a direct influence on GPFG’s January 2014 decision: Norwegian People’s Aid; Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem (CCPRJ); Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP – via Who Profits); and the Norwegian YMCA-YWCA all lobbied the Norwegian pension fund. These NGOs also receive Norwegian government funding.
  • The Norwegian-funded NGOs were joined by radical partner organizations and trade unions, including the Palestinian BDS National Committee, Adalah-NY, The Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, Norwegian Union of Municipal and General Employees, and Mattin Group.
Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA)
Amount in NOK (2012, unless otherwise indicated) Funding
15.3 million Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation
236.9 million Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
4.7 million Other public Norwegian donors
61.4 million US
7.1 million EU
29.1 million (2009-2012) UN
10.9 million the Netherlands
709,000 (2011) Solidar network
9.2 million Germany
12.9 million Other public international donors
  • On its website, Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) states, “Norwegian People’s Aid and the Norwegian Union of Municipal and General Employees (Fagforbundet) have stood together in demanding that AFI and Danya Cebus are excluded from the Oil Fund. …‘We are content that the companies are excluded from the investment portfolio again’, said the General Secretary in Norwegian People’s Aid, Liv Tørres.”
  • NPA, working closely with the Norwegian Union of Municipal and General Employees, produced a report, “Dangerous Liaisons” in May 2012, which was cited as a central resource for the GPFG campaign, as well as other Norwegian BDS efforts. The publication alleged that Norwegian companies, through financial investments in Israel, are participating in international law and human rights abuses. In its 2012 annual report, NPA cites “Dangerous Liaisons” under its “important results” section, including its lobbying to stop the sale of Ahava products in Norway.
  • In 2012, NPA spent NOK 8 million on “Information work in Norway.” NPA also maintains a “long-term agreement with the Norwegian Union of Municipal and General Employees [which] aims to ensure cooperation on collective political lobbying, activities for involving members of the association in international solidarity and international project funding. Two meetings of ambassadors have been held over the year, as well as two project trips to Gaza/the West Bank and Lebanon.” The “ambassador” program and project trips were utilized to further NUMGE’s BDS efforts.
Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP) via “Who Profits?”
  • CWP received 118,024 NIS in 2010 from Norwegian Church Aid, which receives 57% of its income from government agencies
  • CWP and Who Profits, a “sister” project founded by CWP, played a central role in lobbying the Norwegian Fund. CWP was initially involved in the 2009 appeal to Norwegian Council on Ethics and GPFG against AFI.
  • After the GPFG reversed its decision in August 2013, CWP/Who Profits wrote to Electronic Intifada, claiming that “this declaration by the Norwegians caught us by surprise, as Africa Israel is still very much involved the construction of a housing project (C-Jerusalem) in the settlement neighborhood of Gilo in occupied East Jerusalem.” As stated on EI’s website, “Electronic Intifada contributor Adri Nieuwhof communicated this evidence [provided by CWP] to the Norwegian pension fund’s ethics council, which assured her it would be reviewed.”
  • The “Dangerous Liaisons” report states that a “main source was the Israeli project Who Profits.”
  • NGO Monitor reports have highlighted CWP’s radical anti-Israel agenda. For instance, research shows that CWP officials have been photographed holding a flag of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – an EU-recognized terrorist organization responsible for numerous attacks against civilians.
Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem (CCPRJ)
Norwegian YMCA-YWCA (KFUK- KFUM)
  • The Norwegian YMCA-YWCA received NOK 8,807,861 in 2012 in “public grants.”
  • As stated on its website, “Norwegian YMCA-YWCA and YMCA-YWCA Global encourages broad economic boycott of goods and services from Israel and Israeli settlements to pressure the Israeli government to follow up UN resolutions and end the illegal occupation of Palestine.”
  • YWCA-YWCA has played a role in the Norwegian BDS lobby, including as a signatory to a petition alleging, “G4S contributes to the occupation of Palestine.”
  • YWCA-YWCA’s global branch provides organizational lobbying resources to encourage boycotts of Israel.

Norwegian-Funded NGOs Responsible for Norwegian Pension Fund Divestment

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