Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP)
|In their own words||“promote a just resolution” to the conflict “through education and advocacy, publications about the conflict, a speakers’ program to introduce Israeli, Palestinian, and other experts to U.S. audiences, public speaking by officers of the Foundation, and a small grant program to support groups that advance the cause of peace in Israel and Palestine.”|
- In 2019, total income was $530,794; total expenses were $963,268.
- According to its website, FMEP “supports its publication, education, outreach, and grant programs with funds from an endowment from its founder, the late Merle Thorpe, Jr., and from donations.”
- According to its website, Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP) provides grants to a number of highly biased and politicized NGOs, including: +972, Adalah, Al-Shabaka, B’Tselem, Breaking the Silence, Bimkom, Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P), IfNotNow, Ir Amim, Jewish Voice for Peace, Military Court Watch, Just Vision, Palestine Legal, Churches for Middle East Peace, Social TV, Gisha, and Yesh Din. Some of these organizations promote BDS campaigns and antisemitic rhetoric. (See chart below for detailed funding information.)
- Foundation for Middle East Peace’s (FMEP) rhetoric includes accusation of “apartheid,” “collective punishment,” and “war crimes.”
- Provides on its website data titled “The Stealth Campaign to Support Settlements” that tracks States and Congressional resolutions regarding anti-BDS and settlements legislations that “giv[e] unprecedented legitimacy and recognition to Israeli settlements by, in effect, making it U.S. policy to treat them as part of Israel.” According to FMEP, “much of this legislation is patently unconstitutional, amounting to laws designed to gag free speech.”
- Regularly publishes a “Weekly Settlement Report,” covering “what is happening this week related to Israeli settlement activity…for the explicit purpose of dispossessing Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem of land and resources, and depriving them of the very possibility of self-determination in their own state with borders based on the 1967 lines.”
- In November 2021, FMEP President Lara Friedman hosted a podcast with Bisan Center Director Ubai Aboudi, alleging that Israel was “Terrorizing Palestinian Human Rights Defenders.”
- Aboudi was arrested by Israeli authorities in November 2019. In June 2020, Aboudi was sentenced to 12-months in prison. According to his conviction, Aboudi “was convicted of being a member and an activist of the Popular Front organization during the period starting from 2016 and ending in July 2019.” Specifically, Aboudi “was responsible for recruiting additional activists to the organization from young people and students, as well as strengthening the organization’s infrastructure in the area” (on file with NGO Monitor).
- On October 22, 2021, the Israeli Ministry of Defense declared Bisan a “terror organization” because it is part of “a network of organizations” that operates “on behalf of the ‘Popular Front’.”
- In November 2021, FMEP held a webinar titled “The Nakba and its Generational Impact on Palestinian lives: Memory, Identity, and a Future rooted in Justice” that included “the personal stories of those who survived the ethnic cleansing of their cities and villages, and learn from them and their descendants how the trauma of the Nakba and Israel’s ongoing policies of erasure have shaped their lives.”
- In October 2021, FMEP published an article “Challenging the IHRA Definition of Antisemitism.” According to FMEP, “in practice this ‘double standard’ language has paved the way for attacking virtually all criticism of Israel as prima facie antisemitic, based on the simplistic argument that focusing criticism on Israel, when other nations are guilty of similarly bad behavior, can only reflect animus against Jews.”
- The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, adopted by nearly 30 countries and counting, represents the international consensus definition of antisemitism, as well as how to distinguish between legitimate criticism of Israel and antisemitism. An example of the latter includes denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.
- In April 2021, FMEP hosted in a webinar titled “Medical Apartheid”: COVID Vaccinations Under Occupation.” During the webinar, the panellists falsely claimed that Israel has “legal obligations” to provide vaccines to the Palestinians while altogether ignoring that Palestinians residing in Jerusalem are part of the Israeli health care system, that under the Oslo Accords the PA is responsible for health care of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, and that the PA has adopted its own vaccine policyfor its population.
- In January 2021, FMEP held a webinar titled “Calling the Thing by its Proper Name: ‘Apartheid’ Between the Jordan River & the Mediterranean Sea.”
- In June 2020, FMEP held a webinar titled “A Travesty of Justice: Palestinian Child Prisoners and Israeli Military Justice” that discussed the “role and impact of military justice on Palestinians and its function in Israel’s occupation.” The webinar contained multiple distortions and omissions. See the NGO Campaign to Exploit Children’s Rights for more information.
- The webinar featured Farah Bayadsi (Addameer), Smadar Ben-Natan (B’Tselem), Nadia Daqqa (HaMoked), and Rachel Stroumsa (Public Committee Against Torture in Israel).
- On April 13, 2020, FMEP hosted a webinar on “Israel-Palestine at the International Criminal Court,” featuring speakers from Human Rights Watch(HRW), Al-Haq, Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), and B’Tselem. The webinar advanced the NGOs’ long-standing campaign to pressure the International Criminal Court (ICC) to open an investigation of Israelis over alleged war crimes.
- In April 2020, FMEP held a webinar with Yesh Din titled “COVID-19 and the Settlements.” During the webinar, Yesh Din referred to Israel as an “apartheid regime” and emphasized that there was an Israeli “ideological purpose to take over these [Palestinian] lands and do whatever you need to do to do it.” Yesh Din’s executive director also claimed, without providing further details, that COVID-19 policies for Israelis are different than those for Palestinians.
- In May 2019, FMEP posted an article by Peter Beinart stating that “It’s Time to End America’s Blank Check Military Aid to Israel.” The article discusses “specific Israeli practices that the United States should refuse to fund because they serve no legitimate security goal and produce immense suffering.”
- In June 2018, FMEP President Lara Friedman participated in a Churches for Middle East Peace conference in Washington, sponsored by Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P). The conference also featured representatives from American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and B’Tselem.
- In May 2018, during the violence on the Gaza border, FMEP President Lara Friedman stated that “The humanitarian situation there is genuinely turning catastrophic. We have to remember this is not an earthquake zone. This is an entirely man made catastrophe…These are people who are inside Gaza, these are not people who have invaded Israel and are threatening to take the town, this is shooting into Gaza.” Friedman ignored the violent nature of the protests, which have consisted of an organized armed attack on the Israeli border and IDF positions, attempts to destroy and breach the border fence, and sustained arson, rocket, and mortar attacks on Israeli civilian communities.
- In February 2017, Friedman wrote an op-ed in The Huffington Post that Americans need to pay attention to Israel’s “expanding settlements” and its goal of “securing permanent Israeli control over territory occupied by Israel in 1967” as “the same “Greater Israel” agenda that has eroded Israeli society is today poisoning America’s democracy… many Americans who today are vociferously opposing Trump’s illiberal policies may awaken soon to find that their support for Israel and concerns about anti-Semitism have been abused, and that they have allowed themselves to become the cat’s paw in a broader assault on American democracy” (emphasis added).
- In December 2016, following John Kerry’s speech “outlining his vision for an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” FMEP “applaud[ed]” and “commend[ed]…the decision last week to allow passage of a resolution at the United Nations Security Council declaring Israeli settlements inconsistent with international law and calling for freezing all settlement construction as well as an end to incitement and attacks on civilians in the region.”
- Until 2014, “in view of the growing threat of Israeli settlements to peace, the Foundation introduced the bimonthly Report on Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Territories,” which presents an entirely distorted view of the Arab-Israeli conflict based solely on the Palestinian narrative of victimization and Israeli aggression. The March-April 2014installment claims that the U.S. policy insisting that all issues must be resolved through negotiations, rather than encouraging the Palestinians to “resort to international law and the UN,” “is egregiously unfair and self-defeating.” The report goes on ask: “Must Palestinians waive their rights forever, while Israel continues to abuse these rights unilaterally?”
- It concludes with a statement from Archbishop Desmond Tutu who alleges that the “systematic humiliation of Palestinian[s]” is “familiar to all black South Africans who were corralled and harassed and insulted and assaulted by the security forces of the apartheid government.” Tutu goes on to urge nations worldwide to “reverse decades-long support for the apartheid regime” and support BDS against Israel.
- Lara Friedman
- Lara Friedman, FMEP President, was the Director of Policy and Government Relations Director for Americans for Peace Now, and has “work[ed] closely” with Daniel Seidmann, founder of Terrestrial Jerusalem.
- She has used “apartheid” rhetoric, and in October 2016, called on the UN Security Council to “send a message to Israel and to end” its policy in the settlement as “Israeli policy in the settlements is ending the chance for peace.”
- Matthew Duss
- Mitchell Plitnick
- Plitnick, former Vice President of FMEP, previously worked as Director of the US Office of Israeli NGO B’Tselem, as well as the Director of Education and Policy/Co-Director at Jewish Voice for Peace.
- Plitnick has compared Israel’s security barrier to a “ghetto.” His tweets include: “Using administrative detention & punitive home demolitions in rare cases vs Jews will legitimize use vs Palestinians”; “BDS has no stronger supporter than Netanyahu who has done more to strengthen the movement than anyone.”
- Plitnick published a February 4, 2015 blog post, “Toward a New Two-State Solution,” maintaining that while there “is no magical formula for resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict,” it is necessary to “[b]ring in more voices” to the dialogue, particularly “those who support a single democratic and/or bi-national state.” Any such approach would effectually mean the elimination of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people.
- While at JVP, Plitnick promoted “selective and targeted divestment that is aimed exclusively at the occupation, not at Israel itself.”
- FMEP’s “Index of Related Organizations” includes a number of NGOs that are highly active in promoting demonization campaigns against Israel, such as BDS and legal attacks, including: Al Mezan, Al Haq, BADIL, Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Jewish Voice for Peace, Islamic Relief Worldwide USA, +972 Magazine, Adalah, Addameer, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, B’Tselem, Breaking the Silence, Churches for Middle East Peace, Just Vision, Gisha, Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, and Rabbis for Human Rights.
Funding Provided in 2016-2019 to Highly Biased and Politicized NGOs active in the Arab Israeli Conflict (Amounts in $US)
|American Friends of UNRWA||14,000||10,000||9,500||9,500
|Breaking the Silence||10,000
|New Israel Fund||127,500||107,500||90,000||10,000
|Churches for Middle East Peace||7,500||15,000||20,000||30,000
|Rabbis for Human Rights||5,000
|Americans for Peace Now||20.000||30,000||20,000||25,000
|J Street Education Fund||15.000||20,000||22,500||10,000
|Jewish Voice for Peace||5,000||7,500||
|Middle East Institute||25,000||25,000||50,000
|The Telos Group||5,000||5,000
|Alliance for Middle East Peace||5,000||5,000||10,000||5,000
|Middle East Policy Network*||10,000||10,000||15,000||10,000
|Military Court Watch||5,000||
*”The Middle East Policy Network, Inc., is a nonprofit public benefit corporation registered in the State of California, and does business as Al-Shabaka, The Palestinian Policy Network.”
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