The Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF), a major American foundation that contributes to many pro-Palestinian causes, gave grants to organizations which funnel money and support to terrorist groups, and continued to do so after being told about the NGOs’ activities, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
The two organizations are Education for Just Peace in the Middle East, also known as the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, and Defense for Children International-Palestine, which received grants of $60,000 and $25,000, respectively, from the RBF in March 2017.
Consul-General to New York Dani Dayan said on Monday that he met with RBF president Stephen Heintz in early 2017 to inform him of these connections. Dayan came to the meeting with documentation on RBF-funded NGOs that encourage terrorism or do not recognize Israel’s right to exist.
“He denied the claims, but the facts were too strong,” Dayan said.
Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCI-P) is a Ramallah-based NGO meant to promote Palestinian children’s rights, and tries to convince foreign governments and UN bodies that Israel is systematically abusing Palestinian children. Many of its officials and board members are linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), designated as a terrorist organization in the US, EU, Canada and Israel.
The PFLP is responsible for hijacking an Air France plane to Uganda in 1976, which led to the famous IDF raid on Entebbe; attacking a preschool on Kibbutz Misgav Am in 1980, killing two-and-a-half-year-old Eyal Gluska; and for massacring Jewish worshipers in a Jerusalem synagogue in 2014, among many other terrorist attacks.
A report by the NGO Monitor research institute found several examples of DCI-P’s ties with PFLP.
DCI-P employee Hashem Abu Maria was hailed as a leader of the PFLP, after he was killed by the IDF in a violent confrontation in Beit Umar in July 2014. DCI-P director Rifat Odeh Kassis spoke at Abu Maria’s memorial service, surrounded by PFLP flags and posters.
The PFLP wrote on its website that Abu Maria “was in the ranks of the national liberation struggle and the PFLP from an early age, arrested several times, and was a model for a steadfast struggler and advocate for the rights of our people through his work in Defense for Children International.”
DCI-P general assembly president Nasser Ibrahim, a former editor of the PFLP’s weekly publication, can be seen in a 2015 video claiming Palestinians have a “right of resistance,” including the right to “raise the gun.” He also co-wrote The Palestinian Intifada: Cry Freedom, a 2002 book in which he said, “Every checkpoint, every soldier and every settler are legitimate targets in the struggle for freedom… everything becomes a target: Jerusalem, Haifa, Hadera, Tel Aviv, Ashkelon, the settlements.”
IN ADDITION to the RBF, DCI-P receives money from UNICEF as an “implementing partner” for the UN agency’s projects, even though it violates both UNICEF and UN guidelines for partners to be “neutral, impartial and independent from all parties to the conflict.”
Last week, Tablet online magazine reported how the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, a major US-based organization calling to boycott Israel, facilitates the funneling of tax-free donations to several Palestinian terrorist groups, including the PFLP, Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The organization coordinates the work of 329 organizations that advocate for the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel and to shift US policy toward Israel and the Palestinians.
The US Campaign is the fiscal sponsor of the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), the Ramallah-based branch of the international BDS campaign, which counts the Council of National Islamic Forces in Palestine as a member. That council includes Hamas, PFLP, the Popular Front-General Command, the Palestine Liberation Front and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. BNC has also held events with leaders of these terrorist groups.
Since November 2017, the BNC website has allowed Americans to make tax-deductible donations through fiscal sponsorship, by which an organization can share its tax-exempt status with another organization that applies for similar status with the US tax authorities or is taking part in a short-term project or campaign.
As a result, Tablet reporters received an email after they donated to the BNC that said: “This is a receipt for your kind donation to the Palestinian BDS National Committee, the broadest coalition in Palestinian civil society that leads the global BDS movement for Palestinian rights. For your records, the Palestinian BDS National Committee is fiscally sponsored by Education for Just Peace in the Middle East [US Campaign for Palestinian Rights’ legal name], which is registered as a 501(c)3 charitable organization….”
The email concluded: “Our fiscal sponsor’s EIN is 42-1636592,” which is the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights’ IRS identification number.
NGO Monitor president Prof. Gerald Steinberg said, “About 25 years ago, the PFLP leadership recognized the potential benefit of having their own NGO network under the banner of human rights. This has proven very useful for funding and granting legitimacy in institutions where they would otherwise have no access.”
Most donors do not undertake due diligence, Steinberg lamented. He pointed out that after the Swiss and Danish governments were recently confronted with DCI-P’s PFLP links, they cut funding to the organization.
The Rockefeller Brothers Fund “provides an imprimatur for other donors,” who may see that a major foundation supports these organizations and then follow suit. The RBF also funds BDS groups in the US like Jewish Voices for Peace and IfNotNow.
“Various attempts to discuss the destructive impacts of this funding have not made any progress,” Steinberg said, “but the newly uncovered links to the PFLP, which is classified as a terrorist group by the US, may have exposed the RBF’s due diligence failures.”
The Rockefeller Brothers Fund, US Campaign for Palestinian Rights and Defense for Children International – Palestine did not respond to requests for comment.