Eyewitness Palestine (formerly Interfaith Peace-Builders - IFPB)
|Founded||2001, with main office in Washington, D.C., and a West Coast office located in San Francisco|
|In their own words||An apolitical and non-governmental organization that fosters “a network of informed and active individuals who understand the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the United States’ political, military, and economic role in it” by “lead[ing] diverse delegations to Israel/Palestine.”|
- In 2019, total income was $617,491; total expenses were $640,140.
- According to its website, “Eyewitness Palestine is mainly supported financially by small individual donations,” but has also “attracted the support of several foundations. We continue to approach additional foundations for fiscal support.” (See below for list of partners.)
- These foundations are not named in the organization’s Guidestar entry or IRS 990 forms.
- Sends “3 – 4 delegations to Israel/Palestine every year” to expose the “everyday violence of war and occupation and learn from those committed to nonviolent struggle, human rights and peace with justice.”
- Maintains that the “US gives Israel over $3 billion in direct military aid every year,” and as a result, “people from North America have a responsibility to understand the conflict and to act to change the status quo.”
- Participants of Eyewitness Palestine tours meet with members of highly politicized NGOs including: Coalition of Women for Peace, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, Adalah, B’Tselem, Gisha, Mossawa, Badil, Zochrot, Physicians for Human Rights, Rabbis for Human Rights, and others. Many of these NGOs are active in BDS, lawfare, and other campaigns to delegitimize and demonize the State of Israel.
- Eyewitness Palestine promotes the publications of many of these NGOs, which include numerous distortions, factual errors, and fundamental political biases.
- In August 2022, Eyewitness Palestine was a signatory on a letter to President Biden condemning the decision by the Israeli Ministry to designate six Palestinian NGOs as terrorist organizations. According to the letter, “The targeted organizations form part of the bedrock of Palestinian civil society that has been protecting and advancing Palestinian human rights for decades across the full spectrum of issues of global concern.” The letter also called to “Suspend U.S. military funding to the Israeli government and cease any diplomatic efforts that enable systemic impunity for Israel’s gross violations of internationally-recognized human rights.”
- In February-May 2022, Eyewitness Palestine held a series of “virtual delegations” with the designated NGOs to “explore that important work and form deeper connections with these organizations – expanding your ability to support and advocate for them and for Palestinian freedom, justice and equality.”
- In May 2022, Eyewitness Palestine led a delegation titled “Land and the Environment” From Confiscation to Self-Determination” to explore “threats to the environment, Israeli exploitation of natural resources, and the struggle of Palestinian communities to maintain access to land, their homes, water and other resources, all in the face of forced expulsion.”
- Upon arrival, one of the delegates was questioned and denied entry. According to Eyewitness Palestine, “These racist, discriminatory and Islamophobic practices are an extension of how Israeli politics are founded and framed through normalized procedures of racial apartheid and settler-colonialism.”
- In May 2021, Eyewitness Palestine signed a letter to Dr. Anthony Fauci to “Demand the right to healthcare for the Palestinian people” and “End Medical Apartheid.”
- In April 2021, Eyewitness Palestine endorsed US Congresswoman McCollum’s proposed legislation meant to advance BDS and demonization of Israeli companies and defense forces. The entirety of the proposed bill is premised on factually inaccurate claims from anti-Israel advocacy NGOs, including direct quotes from DCIP’s “No Way to Treat a Child” 2016 report and website.
- In March 2021, Eyewitness Palestine signed a statement calling on the UN Human Rights Council to “establish an independent Human Rights Council fact-finding mission into Israel’s apartheid regime and associated obligations of states, international organizations and business enterprises.” The statement further called for the UN to “further develop in a transparent manner the UN database on business enterprises involved in Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise.”
- In July 2020, Eyewitness Palestine was a signatory on an urgent appeal to the United Nations referring to Israel’s alleged “shoot-to-kill policy” as “contributing to the maintenance of Israel’s apartheid regime of systematic racial oppression and domination over the Palestinian people as a whole, which, embedded in a system of impunity, prevents Palestinians from effectively challenging Israel’s apartheid policies and practices.”
- In November 2017, Eyewitness Palestine “endorsed” an event titled “Building Solidarity Against Militarization: Panel on Political Prisoners and Incarceration” featuring Sahar Francis, the general director of Addameer.
- Addameer is an official Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) “affiliate,” and a number of Addameer staff members have alleged connections to terror groups. The PFLP is a terrorist organization designated as such by the US, EU, Canada, and Israel.
- In October 2017, Eyewitness Palestine co-sponsored the “World Without Walls” delegation featuring “grassroots leaders from and working with communities impacted by the US/Mexico border.” The delegation aimed to allow participants to “meet, learn from, and share with Palestinians resisting Israel’s apartheid wall in order to build together toward a world without walls.”
- In October 2017, Eyewitness Palestine’s Olive Harvest Delegation, aimed at “Learn[ing] about threats to the environment, the exploitation of natural resources, and the struggle of Palestinian communities to maintain access to land and water,” was scheduled to be led by Raed Jarrar, Amnesty-USA ‘s Middle East and North Advocacy Director. However Jarrar was denied entry in Israel for his past BDS activities with the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). (Read NGO Monitor’s report “Amnesty International: Experts or Ideologues?”)
- In May 2017, Eyewitness Palestine’s delegation on “Incarceration, Detention, and Political Prisoners” was co-led by Brad Parker, International Advocacy Director for Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P) and Huwaida Arraf, International Solidarity Movement (ISM) co-founder. The delegation aimed to “Connect with leaders of the No Way To Treat A Child Campaign.”
- In 2015, American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and Defense for Children International- Palestine (DCI-P) initiated a campaign, entitled “No Way to Treat a Child,” to “challenge Israel’s prolonged military occupation of Palestinians by exposing widespread and systematic ill-treatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system.” The groups call upon the United States government to pressure Israel to end “abuse of Palestinian children,” and encourage supporters to write members of congress on behalf of their cause. (Read NGO Monitor’s reports: “No Way to Represent a Child” and “The Origins of ‘No Way to Treat a Child’.”)
- In July 2016, Eyewitness Palestine organized a visit by a group under the heading “Indigenous and People of Color” to Israel and the West Bank, including from the Movement for Black Lives (MBL). Details have not been released, other than a meeting with Addameer focusing on the NGO campaign on behalf of Bilal Kayad, a member of the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). MBL released a statement regarding the trip, accusing Israel of “ethnic cleansing…genocide funded by the United States and perpetrated by Zionists vigilantes and the Israeli Defense Forces on Palestinian people.”
- From May 21-June 3, 2016, Eyewitness Palestine and American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) co-sponsored a tour focused on “the effects of incarceration and detention on Palestinian society… The delegation also includes meetings with Israeli military refusers, imprisoned for their opposition to military occupation.” The delegation, which featured Edith Garwood, Amnesty USA “country specialist on Israel and Palestine” with a long record of bias and hostility towards Israel, and Alicia Koutsoulieris, Amnesty USA “case coordinator on Israel and Palestine,” met with members of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), Grassroots Jerusalem, BADIL, and Omar Barghouti, co-founder of Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI).
- Eyewitness Palestine was a sponsor, alongside JVP, Amnesty International, Middle East Childrens Alliance (MECA), and Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA), of Bassem Tamimi’s 2015 U.S. speaking tour. Tamimi, a promoter of BDS, is known for his involvement in violent confrontations with the Israel army and has posted antisemitic content on social media. In March 2016, the U.S. government cancelled Tamimi’s visa for lying on his application form, specifically for “failure to expose prior arrest and conviction.”
- Hosts Grassroots Advocacy Trainings to mobilize activists in an effort to “Expose AIPAC” and protest AIPAC Policy Conferences against “illegal Israeli settlements, expressed solidarity with Palestinian political prisoners on hunger strike, and more,” and put acquired “skills into practice immediately!”
- Interfaith Peace-builders, together with COPEPINK and other groups promoting economic warfare, launched a campaign to “End US Military Aid to Israel.”
- In October 2021, Eyewitness Palestine participated in a campaign titled “No Tech for Apartheid,” calling on Google and Amazon to “end all ties with Israeli apartheid and cut the Project Nimbus contract.” According to the campaign, “Technology should be used to bring people together, not enable apartheid, ethnic cleansing, and settler-colonialism.”
- In May 2021, Education and Advocacy Coordinator Omar Zahzah published an article calling to “support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, until Israel agrees to cease its colonial and apartheid practices for good.”
- In October 2020, Managing Director Nada El-Eryan was a signatory on a letter to Congress calling for the U.S. to “stop funding Israel’s military, which regularly engages in violations of human rights and international law without accountability.”
- In June 2020, during Black Lives Matter protests, Eyewitness Palestine signed a letter to congress calling to “divest from militarism and policing, from the US to Palestine.” According to the letter, “Just as we join in the demand for our tax dollars to be divested from brutal police violence and a repressive military response to protesters asserting that #BlackLivesMatter, we call for an end to U.S.-funded violence abroad.”
- In April 2017, Eyewitness Palestine sponsored an event titled “A Call to Action: Black and Palestinian Liberation,” which featured workshops titled “BDS: the Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement” and “Nonviolent Direct Action as a tool for social change.”
- In July 2014, Eyewitness Palestine hosted a delegation to Israel and the West Bank in conjunction with AFSC, aimed at exposing participants to “the multi-faceted ways and places in which Palestinians resist occupation- including… Israeli refusers, Boycott Divestment & Sanctions (& many more!)”
- On January 29, 2014, Eyewitness Palestine held an on-line training called “Mobilizing the Grassroots: The BDS Campaign and You.”
- In December 2013, Interfaith Peace-Builders signed on a call to thank “the National Council of the American Studies Association (ASA)… decision to endorse the Palestinian call for the academic boycott of Israel.”
- In 2011, members of the Interfaith Peace Builders’ first African Heritage Delegation to Israel/Palestine issued a call on African Americans to support the struggle for Palestinian rights, and have declared their support for the Palestinian-led campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) on Israel.
Board members include: Ilise Benshushan Cohen, co-founder of the Atlanta chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace; Adam Horowitz, co-editor of the anti-Israel news portal Mondoweiss; Katie Huerter, founder of the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) Chapter and the former American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) Middle East Peace Building Associate; Lisa Nessan, member of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM); and Sarah Scruggs, former civilian accompanier with Christian Peacemaker Teams and former fundraiser for Save the Children.
- IFPB works with partners on “co-sponsored delegations and on national programming in our Education and Advocacy Program.” These partners include: The American Friends Service Committee, The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, The National Peace Foundation, The Fellowship of Reconciliation, The Resource Center for Nonviolence, Friends of Tent of Nations North America, Global Majority, and Kirkridge Retreat and Study Center.
- Also works with Jewish Voice for Peace, Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP), CODEPINK, Badil, Adalah, Youth Against Settlements, Wi’am Palestinian Conflict Resolution Center, Coalition of Women for Peace, Mossawa, B’Tselem, Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions, Zochrot, Rabbis for Human Rights, Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, and Physicians for Human Rights.
- Interfaith Peace Builders is a member of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, a “national coalition of hundreds of groups working to advocate for Palestinian rights and a shift in US policy.”
- Accuses Israel of maintaining a “matrix of control” over the Palestinian population and enacting “laws that discriminate against [Palestinians], much as Black Americans had been treated during the Jim Crow era.”
- In May 2017, USCPR published “50 Years of Israeli Military Occupation – FAQs” accusing Israel of “ethnic cleansing” and “apartheid” and stating that “Even though the United States has consistently opposed Israel’s building of settlements for the past fifty years…the United States has worked to ensure that the international community does not impose sanctions on Israel for its continued illegal colonization of Palestinian land.”
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