Jerusalem – Legislation ostensibly addressing Israel and children’s rights, introduced in Congress yesterday by Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), is the latest BDS strategy to demonize and impose sanctions on Israel, notes Jerusalem-based research institute NGO Monitor. The accusations are drawn from on a combination of false and distorted claims originating with radical NGOs, some of which are linked to terrorism,. The main source behind the bill is is a group calling itself Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP).

“Although 10 members of Congress have been misled by BDS groups, this campaign that consists entirely of distorted allegations about Israel’s alleged treatment of Palestinian children and invented international legal claims is built on immoral foundations,” said Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor. “Other members of Congress, as well as journalists and others interested in this issue, would be well advised to verify the NGO allegations with a credible source.”

NGO Monitor research has shown that the allegations echoed in McCollum’s proposed law originate with DCIP’s “No Way to Treat a Child” Campaign and the infamously defective 2013 UNICEF report. These allegations have no credibility  they are propaganda. Our analysis demonstrates that these campaigns simplistically misstate international and domestic law, including basic jurisdictional concepts, criminal adjudication, and juvenile justice standards. The proposed legislation repeats the same mistakes and reflects DCIP’s political and ideological goals. In addition, the bill and accompanying campaign ignore the systematic exploitation of Palestinian children for terror and confrontations with Israel.

Furthermore, Israeli treatment of arrested minors compares favorably to other Western countries and the procedures and standards employed by the military courts are identical in almost every respect to  the Israeli civil justice system.

NGO Monitor also notes that the proposed legislation’s group of endorsers – including American Friends Service Committee, Amnesty International USA, Center for Constitutional Rights, DCI-P, and Jewish Voice for Peace – are leaders of the BDS campaigns in the US. Their declared aim is to demonize and isolate Israel, not to protect the rights of children – both Palestinian and Israeli.

In addition, research shows that DCI-P has alleged links to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist organization. DCI-P board members Shawan Jabarin, Nassar Ibrahim, and Dr. Majed Nassar all have alleged affiliations with PFLP, and Hashem Abu Maria, a DCI-P employee, was hailed by PFLP as a “commander” after his 2014 death. The PFLP is proscribed as a terror organization by the United States, Canada, the European Union, and Israel.

“Israel’s military justice system meets all the relevant legal standards and accepted international norms,” notes NGO Monitor Senior Military Consultant Maurice Hirsch (Lt. Col. Res.). “The suggested legislation will have no effect whatsoever other than to prove that the underlying claims are fictitious.”

For more information, see NGO Monitor reports: