In early February 2020, Belgium, which holds the rotating presidency of the UN Security Council, invited Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCI-P) Senior Advisor for Policy and Advocacy Brad Parker to brief the Council on February 24. DCI-P has ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), designated as a terrorist organization in the US, EU, Israel, and Canada.
Parker later told AFP that he intended to discuss “grave violations in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories from 2014 to the end of 2019.”
However, following a public information campaign highlighting the terror links of Parker’s employer and diplomatic protests by the Israeli government, Belgium rescinded the invitation. The evidence suggests that, at the time of the invitation, Belgian officials did not properly vet the NGO and were unaware of the nature of its activities and the links to the PFLP organization.
DCI-P Ties to the PFLP
- At least 12 officials with ties to the PFLP have been employed and appointed as board members at this NGO. For detailed information on DCI-P’s PFLP ties, read NGO Monitor’s report “DCI-P’s Ties to the PFLP Terrorist Organization.”
- Hashem Abu Maria “served as the coordinator of DCI-P’s community mobilization unit.” In July 2014, Abu Maria was killed during a violent confrontation in Beit Ummar. Following his death, he was hailed by the PFLP as a “leader,” which issued an official mourning announcement. The PFLP announcement praised his work for DCI-P, stating “he was in the ranks of the national liberation struggle and the PFLP from an early age.”
- Riyad Arrar, Director of DCI-P’s Child Protection Program, addressed a December 2014 PFLP memorial event for a group member who was killed “while engaging in a demonstration confronting the occupation forces with stones and Molotov cocktails.” The event featured PFLP paraphernalia and individuals clad in military garb – some of whom appear to be children (video on file with NGO Monitor).
- Nassar Ibrahim, President of DCI-P’s General Assembly until at least 2017, is the former editor of El Hadaf– the PFLP’s weekly publication. In May 2014, the PFLP unveiled a mural “developed by writer and journalist Nassar Ibrahim,” honoring PFLP founder George Habash. Several PFLP members attended and spoke at the event.
- In June 2018, in light of the PFLP links, Citibank and Arab Bank closed accounts belonging to DCI-P. Global Giving, a US-based crowdfunding resource, also removed DCI-P from its website.
Brad Parker’s BDS Advocacy
- As part of DCI-P’s “No Way to Treat a Child” campaign, Parker was the driving force behind BDS legislation in the US Congress introduced in 2017 and 2019 by Betty McCollum (D-MN). Parker initiated these efforts in 2015.
- Both bills are based on inaccurate and distorted DCI-P claims pertaining to alleged Israeli mistreatment of Palestinian minors.
- Similarly, both ignore the involvement of Palestinian minors in launching acts of violence against Israeli civilians.
- The 2019 bill seeks to allocate $19 million US funds to DCI-P and its NGO allies, repeating the same false claims and distortions of international law in other DCI-P material.
- In January 2019, during the violence on the Gaza border, Parker used his position at CUNY School of Law Human Rights and Gender Justice Law Clinic (where he holds an adjunct position) to file a joint submission to the UN replete with egregiously false statements, gross distortions of the law and the facts, and the whitewashing of terror groups- including Hamas.
- Following complaints, CUNY launched an investigation into the partnership between the law school and DCI-P.
- In June 2017, Parker organized a congressional briefing on “persistent human rights violations, systematic impunity, discrimination and a hyper-militarized environment affect the lives of the Palestinian children growing up under a military occupation with no end in sight.”
- On July 29, 2015, Parker spoke at a congressional briefing “Gaza One Year Later: The Quest for Accountability,” to “examine Israel’s misuse of U.S.-supplied weapons in Gaza and call on lawmakers to hold Israel accountable for its violations of U.S. and international law.” Parker accused Israel of violating international law and “indiscriminate attacks.” This event was sponsored by the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, American Friends Service Committee, American Muslims for Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace, and Middle East Children’s Alliance.