Parents Circle Families Forum
July 17, 2012
- Website: www.theparentscircle.org/. Also known as Bereaved Families for Peace and Bereaved Families Forum. See also Friends of the Bereaved Families Forum (FBFF), based in the UK.
- Describes itself as “a joint Palestinian Israeli organization of over 600 families, all of whom have lost a close family member as a result of the prolonged conflict.”
- Founded in 1995, with offices in Tel Aviv and El’ram (Palestinian Authority). “Friends of the PCFF” groups operate in USA, UK, Germany, Norway, Spain, and Switzerland – raising funds for Parents Circle and promoting the organization.
- Funding: According to PCCF’s 2008 financial report (latest available) submitted to the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits, “international contributions” totaled NIS 1,012,707, plus NIS 124,256 from Israeli donors. More recent funding is provided by some donors (see table below). FBFF reports transferring £70,000 to its Israeli counterpart in 2010; as of May 31, 2011, the amount for that year was £13,579.
- PCFF lists funders, including Belgium, United States (USAID and United States Institute for Peace), European Union (Partnerships for Peace), Spain, Switzerland, Kerk In Aktie/ICCO (Dutch government funds), Christian Aid, and Norwegian Church Aid.
- Activities include reconciliation programs with Israelis and Palestinians, public presentations, and media appearances.
- Most visible members are Robi Damelin and Ali Abu Awwad, who frequently appear together in films and at public events.
- Much of PCFF/FBFF’s activities promote a Palestinian narrative of the conflict, which is presented as promoting peace. For instance, “Encounter Point” is a documentary film that blames Israel as solely responsible for the conflict and the suffering of Palestinians and Israelis. When Damelin is asked how she felt after the Palestinian sniper who killed her son became a folk hero in the West Bank, she responds, “I’m not focusing on this, what I’m focusing on is: Why was David in the occupied territories? Why was David guarding settlers who said their safety was more important than David’s life?” (Encounter Point DVD 45:00- 46:00).
- PCFF draws an immoral equivalence between terror victims and terrorists. Presentations to Israeli public school students, as part of PCFF’s flagship program “Dialogue Encounters,” included relatives of Palestinian terrorists who had been killed, together with bereaved families of Israelis and Palestinians. Following complaints from parents, the Israeli Ministry of Education, which is responsible for authorizing extracurricular programming, declared that relatives of terrorists could no longer participate.
- An article in Ha’aretz (“Peace activists are sick of talking about soccer,” April 25, 2012) reported on a fundamental divide between the willingness of Israelis and Palestinians to participate in Parents Circle events. According to the article, “a gala event of the Bereaved Families Forum was relocated from the Palestinian town of Beit Sahour to metropolitan Israel, after 220 out of 300 Palestinian participants pulled out.” Similarly, monthly dialogue sessions in Beit Jala “have become rare.”
- The Ha’aretz article also discussed the “Crack in the Wall” project, funded by the European Union, which was significantly changed due to “skepticism and disinterestedness on the Palestinian side.” Originally, the project was intended to “facilitate direct communication between Palestinians and Israelis,” with “discussions about entertainment, hobbies, day-to-day experiences and others.” However, the final product was limited to political issues.
- Parents Circle is affiliated with pro-BDS (boycotts, divestment, and sanctions) NGOs: a number of sources demonstrate the ways in which PCFF “works closely” with EAPPI and addresses audiences affiliated with Sabeel.
|US Institute for Peace
|EU (Partnerships for Peace)