Middle East Childrens Alliance (MECA)
|In their own words||“We educate North Americans about children in the region and the brutal impact of US foreign policy on their lives.”|
- In 2015, total income was $3.4 million; total expenses were $2.9 million.
- Does not list donors reflecting a complete lack of transparency and accountability. According to its website, “MECA relies on the support of individuals dedicated to peace and justice in the Middle East.”
- MECA was the fiscal sponsor for ISM-USA. In 2009, donations for ISM’s campaign to “interfere with the construction of the annexation barrier” were to be made to “MECA (ISM-USA Fund).”
- Between 2015-2017, received $180,000 from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund for its “Creative Palestinian Communities Fund,” a “funding and support model that incentivizes civic engagement, funds creative solutions, and raises social capital among communities and grassroots organizations across Palestine.”
- MECA’s stated goal is to “educate North Americans about children in the region and the brutal impact of US foreign policy on their lives.”
- MECA organizes delegations to “Palestine/Israel” where participants can “witness the impact of the Israeli occupation and…learn about refugees, land confiscation, political prisoners…” Trip highlights include learning “about the origins of the Palestinian refugees and the Right of Return, and how it can be implemented” (emphasis added).
- In March 2017, MECA sponsored the “Shoruq Debka & Hip-hop US Tour,” which featured lyrics “written by people in the camp [Dheisheh refugee camp] and reflect their desire to return home and to document their lives under Israeli occupation.” One member of the troop equated their rapping to throwing stones at Israeli soldiers, “Throwing stones at soldiers is a way of expressing yourself, a way of unleashing your frustrations…When you throw a stone at a soldier, you are demanding a better life. And when we discovered hip-hop, we used that same energy that used to draw us to the streets to throw stones.”
- On July 29, 2015, MECA sponsored a “Congressional briefing” titled “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.” The briefing featured speakers from the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (formerly known as US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation), Adalah, and Defense for Children International- Palestine (DCI-P).
- In June 2009, MECA raised $75,000 for British MP George Galloway’s “Viva Palestina” convoy “following the massacre in Gaza.” Viva Palestina was shut down by the UK Charity Commission in 2012 due to the Commission’s “continuing concerns about the charity’s financial management and its outstanding annual accounts and returns” and eventually ceased to exist in September 2016.
Demonization of Israel
- MECA rhetoric includes accusations of “genocide,” “apartheid,” “ethnic cleansing,” and “collective punishment,” as well as supporting a Palestinian “right of return.”
- In November 2016, MECA hosted Noura Erakat on the topic of “How Israel Expanded Its Use of Force and Diminished Palestinian Resistance.”
- Noura Erakat is an assistant professor at George Mason University and former legal campaigner for “US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation,” where she “helped seed BDS campaigns” and facilitate “lawfare” cases against two former Israeli officials in US federal courts for alleged war crimes. Her writings have accused Israel of “ethnic cleansing.” While a student at UC Berkeley she spearheaded a divestment campaign along with Students for Justice in Palestine. Erakat is also the U.S.-based Legal Advocacy Consultant for highly politicized Palestinian NGO BADIL and spoke at the Right of Return Conference at Boston University (April 6-7, 2013).
- MECA was a sponsor alongside Jewish Voice for Peace, Amnesty International, Interfaith Peace Builders, and Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA) for 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. During this tour, Tamimi spoke to a class of third graders about the suffering of the Palestinians. Following the event, the Superintendent of the school district stated that Tamimi’s remarks were “skewed, inflammatory.” 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.”
- MECA founder and Executive Director Barbara Lubin wrote, “I think that the Jewish State is racist to the core.” Lupin refers to the 1948 “ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian population” and wrote that “[t]he concept of ‘Jewish morality’ is truly dead. We can be fascists, terrorists, and Nazis just like everybody else.”
- In January 2013, Lubin was a signatory on a statement titled “Jews for Palestinian Right of Return,” which stated that “relentless ethnic cleansing continues- armed and financed by the U.S. and its allies,” and discussed how “Israel inflicts particularly brutal collective punishment.”
- In 2012, MECA sponsored an art exhibit titled, “A Child’s View from Gaza,” with displayed numerous art pieces created by children who “witnessed the destruction of Operation Cast Lead…Israel’s December 2008/January 2009 attack on a virtually unarmed Gaza.”
- The Museum of Children’s Art in Oakland decided to cancel their display of the exhibition, due to what MECA believed was a “concerted effort by pro-Israel organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area to pressure the museum to reverse its decision to display Palestinian children’s art,” as the exhibit “contained numerous violent images depicting a politically biased view squarely and exclusively against Israel.”
- In April 2011, Barbara Lubin was a signatory on a statement alleging that apartheid is not an “inaccurate term to describe the conditions in Palestine,” and discussing the “continuing ethnic cleansing of occupied East Jerusalem,” the “apartheid wall,” and the “institutionalized racism of the State of Israel.”
- In 2010, MECA art director Jos Sances created a billboard campaign stating “From LA to Palestine Clean, Drinkable Water is a Human Right.”
- On June 28, 2016, MECA and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) “attempted to deliver a petition signed by 25,000 people urging musician Carlos Santana to respect the call for a cultural boycott of Israel in support of Palestinian human rights and cancel his upcoming concert in Tel Aviv.” However, the petition was ignored by the staff at Santana’s Milagro Foundation, who “refused to open the door when the delegation arrived, and closed the blinds.”
- In September 2015, MECA signed on a letter to the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon urging the UN to terminate its contracts with international security company G4S, as the company is “complicit with Israel’s human rights violations.”
- In August 2014, MECA endorsed a protest titled “Block the Boat, End Israeli Apartheid” to block the Israeli owned ZIM shipping line from reaching the Port of Oakland in order to “refuse to allow Israel to conduct its business as usual.” The protest called to “end the colonial occupation of Palestine,” and “just as apartheid fell in South Africa, so too it will fall in Israel!”
- In July 2011, MECA was a signatory on a petition urging the National Building Museum to rescind their annual Prize for Innovation in Construction Technology granted to Caterpillar as “Caterpillar Inc. has a long history of complicity in extensive human rights abuses and violations of international law within the Occupied Palestinian Territory…Caterpillar long has been on notice about the pattern of Israeli human rights violations committed with its equipment, yet it continues to sell to the Israeli government, putting corporate profit before human rights.”
- In March 2011, MECA signed a “Statement by Jewish Activists and Organizations active in BDS against Israel” stating that BDS “rightfully place accountability on Israeli institutions (and their allies and partners) that use business, cultural, and academic ties to white-wash Israel’s responsibility for continuing crimes against humanity,” and defined BDS as an “anti-racist movement against the daily, brutal occupation of Palestine and military threat to the region by the State of Israel.”
Ties to Union of Health Work Committees
- Union of Health Work Committees (UHWC) is a PFLP-affiliated health committee active in Gaza, as identified by USAID and in Palestinian documents. MECA lists UHWC as an organization “we support.”
- Dr. Mona El-Farra, the director of Gaza projects for MECA is also a member of the Union of Health Work Committees, and according to American Friends Service Committee’s website, El-Farra also “heads the Rachel Corrie Children’s Center, which is also in Gaza. The center is a project of the Union of Health Work Committees.”
- In 2015, El Farra was denied a visa by the Israeli authorities to travel to a conference on Palestine in Dublin for “security reasons.”
- In an interview in 2004, El-Farra explained that UHWC refused USAID funding because it came with the condition that they promise “not [to] give any help or any aid whatsoever for the families of the militiamen, or their relatives, or anyone related to ‘terrorist attacks’” because “we consider it resistance.”
- Wafaa El Derawi, MECA’s Gaza Project Assistant, volunteered with the UHWC as a “health educator.”
- MECA provided funding for a children’s library in Beit Hanoun run by the UHWC. The library was used for “psychosocial activities for children after this summer’s military attacks devastated the area and terrified the residents.”
- Partners include pro-Palestinian groups such as Addameer, Badil, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, Union of Health Work Committees, Arab Association for Human Rights in Israel, the Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, Altufula Center, Baladna Youth Center, Bat Shalom, Ibdaa Cultural Center, Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP), The Palestinian Environmental NGOs Network (PENGON), Women’s Study Center, and Palestinian Counseling Center.
- Also partners with the Lajee Center, which refers to the “Israeli regime of Apartheid, colonization, and belligerent occupation.”
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