Rosenthal takes ICCO to task

Foreign minister Uri Rosenthal had a frank and open discussion today with the interchurch organisation for development, ICCO, which receives some 75 million euros in government grants per year. The meeting was prompted by ICCO’s funding of the website Electronic Intifada, which has published calls for the boycott of Israel.

Mr Rosenthal considers this to be directly contrary to Dutch government policy and has urged ICCO to remedy the situation. ICCO claims that its support for the website is paid from private donations, but the minister dismissed this argument as disingenuous.

Mr Rosenthal told ICCO that continuing activities that are in conflict with the government’s position could affect funding. ‘There’s nothing wrong with holding critical views, but going directly against government policy is something else’, he said. The minister will keep a close eye on the situation at ICCO, and other development organisations too.