Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU)



Tustin, CA

Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2020):

Revenue: $1,499,542
Expenses: $1,620,852
Assets: $1,759,594


Pro-Palestine Foreign Policy Advocacy



Executive Director:

Margaret DeReus

Contact InfluenceWatch with suggested edits or tips for additional profiles.

The Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU) is a pro-Palestinian foreign-policy advocacy organization that works to highlight alleged human rights violations perpetrated upon Palestinians by the Israeli government.

Founded in 2005, this group presents policy analysis and advocacy papers, and offers itself as a resource to journalists and United States elected officials. Its website has a frequently-asked-question section called “What Congress Needs to Know about Palestine/Israel” that presents its view on the history of the Palestine-Israeli conflict while making foreign policy and funding suggestions to American lawmakers. IMEU takes a firmly negative view of Israel in general, and its website repeatedly refers to Israel’s “oppression” of and imposition of “apartheid” on Palestinians. 1



Institute for Middle East Understanding opposed the DEFEND Act of 2022 which aimed to mandate the United States Secretary of Defense establish a strategy for partnerships with Israel, Iraq, Jordan, and Egypt to institute air and ballistic missile defense systems capable of countering ballistic and aerial missile assaults from Iran. IMEU opposes this legislation on the grounds that it would “deepen U.S. complicity” with the regimes of these nations, which IMEU considers “oppressive.” 2 3

Biden Administration

Ahead of President Joe Biden’s June 2022 visit to Saudi Arabia and Israel, IMEU wrote a policy analysis denouncing the trip as “reinforc[ing] human rights abuses.” The analysis highlighted the assassination of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and called for congressional investigations into Israel’s involvement in the death of Palestinian-American Omar Assad who died in custody of Israeli military police after being stopped at a checkpoint. 4

IMEU also called for an investigation into the death of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. The Israeli military would later seek to indict the two soldiers who detained Assad, and also admitted that Akleh may have been accidentally killed by Israeli forces while covering military conflicts, but declined to bring indictments in the latter case. 5 6

In contrast, IMEU praised the Biden administration a few months later for its “bi-partisan policy of humanitarian support of the Palestinian people.” The policy report highlighted U.S. contributions from April 2021 to March 2022, in the amount of $417 million through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, $75 million through USAID, and over $20 million in COVID-19 relief funds, while also pointing out that the sum total of these funds was only 11 percent of the value of U.S. weapon contributions to Israel over the same period. The report also praised Biden for his future pledge of another $316 million during his July 2022 visit to the West Bank. 7

Antisemitism Definition

In 2015, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance sought to promote a non-legally binding definition of antisemitism as “a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews […] directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.” 8

IMEU opposed this initiative, stating that it served to protect “Israel’s violent apartheid rule over the Palestinian people.” IMEU further stated that such a definition seeks to turn the government into “Orwellian thought police,” and urged members of Congress to refrain from adopting such a definition.  It lamented “white supremacy” in the U.S. which “has targeted Black, brown, Asian-American, Jewish-American, and LGBTQ communities.” 9


Margaret DeReus is the executive director of Institute for Middle East Understanding, and a former advocacy coordinator of the Bay Area Immigrant Rights Coalition. She is also the former senior program officer at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI). 10

Khaldoun Baghdadi is chairman of the board at IMEU and a partner at the California-based law firm of Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger. He is also an Adjunct professor at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, and is the former chairman of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission. 11

Nasser Barghouti, board member at IMEU, is the co-founder of software development companies Nagarro and Seismic Software. He is also a former board member at the San Diego branch of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and is a member of Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC). He is also a former member of the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights’ steering committee. 12 13

Isam Salah, board member at IMEU, is also a partner at corporate law firm King & Spalding, and is a former president of the Arab Bankers Association of North America. 14


  1. “What Congress Needs to Know about Palestine/Israel.” IMEU. Accessed March 20, 2023.
  2. [1] “H.R. 7987 Defend Act of 2022.” Accessed March 20, 2022.
  3. “IMEU Policy Analysis #7: Biden’s Trip to Saudi, Israel Reinforces Human Rights Abuses.” IMEU. June 22, 2022.  Accessed March 20, 2022.
  4. “IMEU Policy Analysis #7: Biden’s Trip to Saudi, Israel Reinforces Human Rights Abuses.” IMEU. June 22, 2022.  Accessed March 20, 2022.
  5. Gold, Hadas and Salman, Abeer. “Israeli Military Admits Shireen Abu Akleh Likely Killed by Israeli Fire, but Won’t Charge Soldiers.” CNN. Accessed March 20, 2022.
  6. Gold, Hadan and Abeer, Salman. “Israel Readies Indictments in Death of Palestian-American.” Associated Press. Accessed March 20, 2022.
  7. “FAQ #2: What Is US Policy Toward the Palestinian People and Israel?” IMEU.November 30, 2022. Accessed March 20, 2022.
  8.  “What is Antisemitism?” IHRA. Accessed March 20, 2022.
  9. “IMEU Policy Analysis #9: IHRA Definition Silences Speech for Palestinian Rights.” IMEU. January 18, 2023. Accessed March 20, 2022.
  10. “Margaret DeReus.” Linkedin. Accessed March 20, 2022.
  11. “About.” IMEU. Accessed March 20, 2022.
  12. “About.” IMEU. Accessed March 20, 2022.
  13. “Nasser Barghouti.” Linkedin. Accessed March 20, 2022.
  14. “Isam Salah.” Linkedin. Accessed March 20, 2022.
  See an error? Let us know!

Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: November 1, 2005

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2020 Dec Form 990 $1,499,542 $1,620,852 $1,759,594 $96,124 N $1,492,291 $0 $7,251 $200,000
    2019 Dec Form 990 $1,938,123 $1,743,477 $1,866,361 $91,581 N $1,440,344 $0 $304 $100,000 PDF
    2018 Dec Form 990 $1,799,289 $1,780,256 $1,640,098 $59,964 N $1,199,784 $0 $33 $100,000 PDF
    2017 Dec Form 990 $2,141,794 $1,491,358 $1,643,342 $82,241 N $1,273,145 $0 $28 $100,000
    2016 Dec Form 990 $1,520,960 $1,590,594 $988,014 $77,349 N $930,200 $0 $30 $100,000 PDF
    2015 Dec Form 990 $1,564,795 $1,706,308 $1,044,069 $63,770 N $890,218 $0 $32 $190,000 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $1,505,527 $1,203,167 $1,168,528 $46,716 N $762,836 $0 $44 $95,000 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $1,197,031 $1,146,327 $875,765 $56,313 N $928,815 $0 $55 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $1,171,231 $1,031,497 $827,050 $58,302 N $710,772 $0 $88 $0 PDF
    2012 Jun Form 990 $1,010,835 $931,100 $567,204 $1,555 N $1,010,835 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2011 Jun Form 990 $529,777 $461,912 $415,283 $0 N $526,149 $0 $3,628 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU)

    2913 EL CAMINO REAL STE 436
    Tustin, CA 92782-8909