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Parents Circle Families Forum (PCFF)

Profile

Country/TerritoryIsrael
Websitewww.theparentscircle.org/
Founded1995, by Yitzhak Frankental, whose eldest son was abducted and murdered by Hamas; also known as Bereaved Families for Peace and Bereaved Families Forum.
In their own words"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."

Funding

Activities

  • Operates offices in Tel Aviv and El’ram (Palestinian Authority). “Friends of the PCFF” operates offices in the USA, UK, Germany, Norway, Spain, and Switzerland, in an effort to raise funds and promote activities.

Political Advocacy

  • Activities promote a highly biased view of the conflict based on the Palestinian narrative and draw an immoral equivalence between terror victims and terrorists.
  • While PCFF advocates for “reconciliation,” “dialogue,” and “knowledge of the other,” it exploits the grief of families and the language of peace to promote a highly divisive, contentious, and narrow personal agenda.
  • PCFF events have become vehicles for the personal agendas of its officials. For instance, spokesperson Robi Damelin regularly travels to the United States on behalf of the organization, promoting views that place sole blame for the continuation of the conflict on Israel.
  • Damelin regularly utilizes emotive language to elicit sympathy from her audience; refers to Hamas terrorism and Israeli self-defense as a “cycle of violence,” thereby presenting a distorted view of the conflict; and cites BDS initiatives as “yet another indication that Israel is fast becoming the pariah of the word, and how we are losing our moral fiber.”
  • Many bereaved families in Israel have spoken out against PCFF for its demands of an acceptance of the Palestinian narrative of exclusive Israeli guilt, a corresponding rejection of the legitimacy of Israeli narratives, and the political messages that are transmitted, explicitly and implicitly, through PCFF activities.
  • The parents of a fifteen-year-old girl who was murdered in a Jerusalem terror attack on August 9, 2001, wrote a blog (July 12, 2013) stating that while the Parent’s Circle “claims to speak for five or six hundred bereaved Israeli or Palestinian members,” it “exploit[s] bereavement to raise funds and to promote specific ideological positions.” They state that PCFF is “narrowly political” and “arouses deep disquiet” within bereaved families, adding that the “flow of substantial foreign grants to this small, unrepresentative group of activists ought to be critically reviewed.”
  • Produced a documentary titled, Two  Sided  Story, funded by the United States Agency for International Development  (USAID) and the  United States Institute for Peace (USIP), which attempts to provide a balanced view of the Arab-Israeli conflict, but  instead promotes the notion, albeit subtly, that the Israeli narrative is the source of the problem and must be changed. Participants who reject the legitimacy of Israel are not challenged.
  • Its documentary, “Encounter Point,” similarly blames Israel as being solely responsible for the conflict and the suffering of Palestinians and Israelis, alike. In the film, Damelin is asked how she felt after learning that her son’s killer became a Palestinian folk hero.  She responds by saying: “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?”
  • PCFF’s “Crack in the Wall” project, which received €351,006  from the European Union, aims to “create a ‘crack’ in the proverbial and literal wall by engaging Palestinians and Israelis in dialogue and providing a platform to express themselves in their own language then translated to the other side.”  While the project was originally intended to “facilitate [] direct communication between Palestinians and Israelis,” with “discussions about entertainment, hobbies, day-to-day experiences and others,” the final product became limited to political issues due to “skepticism and disinterestedness on the Palestinian side.”
  • As part of its ongoing “Dialogue Encounters” program, PCFF gives presentations to Israeli public school students, which include 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. Legal advisor of the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel, Attorney Hila Cohen, noted: “Drawing a comparison between bereaved Israeli families and Palestinian families is inconceivable, as such discussions legitimize acts of terrorism.”
  • During a PCFF program at a Seattle synagogue on October 13, 2013, speaker Bassam Aramin drew a moral equivalence between the Israeli Shas political party and the Hamas terror organization.
  • In October 2012, PCFF officials were listed as participating in an event organized by “Friends of Sabeel UK.” Sabeel is very active in anti-Israel political campaigns, including church divestment campaigns; supports a “one state” framework, meaning the elimination of Israel as a Jewish state; and utilizes overtly antisemitic language such as deicide imagery, as well as replacement and supercessionist theology.

Donors 2013-2017 (amounts in NIS)

*Figures based on annual reports submitted to the Israeli Registrar for Non-Profits, 2015-2017 figures based on quarterly reports

 
Donor20172016201520142013
USAID578,5521,267,3691,462,947224,0361,518,411
Switzerland84,658368,715
Bread for the World - EED (Germany)340,693434,322277,690
ICCO (Netherlands)244,400
Diakonia (Sweden)139,52768,468
European Union611,1961,054,330899,263
The Church of Scotland (Scotland)29,700
Sivmo (Netherlands)45,98046,80048,705
Friends of PCFF - US419,066313,847
Friends of PCFF - Germany 76,215204,636
Friends of PCFF - UK379,106196,439
New Israel Fund69,927101,319
Diakonie Austria64,500139,527
Broederlijk Delen85,310

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Further Reading