Non-profit

Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy (MIFTAH)

Type:

Advocacy Group

Formation:

1998

The Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy, or MIFTAH, is an advocacy group that promotes Palestinian statehood and spreads anti-Israel propaganda. Headquartered in the West Bank,[1] Miftah accuses Israel of occupying Palestinian lands and of crimes including “massacres,” “apartheid,” and “summary executions” of Palestinian youth. [2] The group has published postings lifted from a neo-Nazi website and endorsing the anti-Semitic “blood libel.” [3]

Miftah is a supporter of the controversial Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) pressure campaign to delegitimize Israel. [4] It regularly publishes articles questioning Israel’s right to exist,[5] and has also written sympathetically of terrorists and suicide bombers. [6]

Miftah received media attention in 2019 when it offered to sponsor a trip by Representatives Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) to “Israeli occupied territories,” prompting Israel to ban them from entering the country. [7]

Miftah , which had assets of $1,400,000 in 2018, receives funding from private donors as well as government sponsors. [8] Supportive governments include Norway, Germany, Ireland, and the European Union. [9]

History

Miftah was founded in 1998 in Jerusalem by Hanan Ashrawi, a longtime member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and an executive committee member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). [10] Miftah is a member of the PNGO, a Palestinian NGO network that has refused to add its signature to the anti-terror clause required for U.S. government funding. [11]

In February of 2015, Canada terminated a funding agreement with Miftah for a project aimed at training women to participate in municipal politics in the West Bank. According to the Canadian government, the agreement was terminated due to Miftah failing to “acknowledge Canada’s contribution to the project.” But Miftah claims the termination came in response to Hanan Ashrawi criticizing then-Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird. [12] In response to the termination of the contract, Ashrawi alleged that “Canada is indulging in political blackmail at the expense of our civil society institutions.” [13]

U.S. Congressional Delegations

In 2016, Miftah organized a trip through Israel and the West Bank for five Democratic U.S. representatives, though its invitation was turned down by at least 65 other members of Congress. [14] The visit preceded Israel’s passage of a law barring supporters of boycotting Israel from entering the country. During the trip, Miftah arranged for the congressmen to meet with Shawan Jabarin, an alleged recruiter for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP),[15] which the United States has designated as a terrorist organization. [16] Following the trip, one of the congressmen, Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), made comparisons between Israeli settlers and termites. [17]

Miftah agreed to sponsor a trip to Israel in August of 2019 by controversial Democratic U.S. Representatives Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, both supporters of the BDS pressure campaign. In response, and under pressure from the Trump administration, Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu barred the two representatives from entering Israel, in keeping with a law forbidding boycott advocates from entering the country. [18]

Conservative writers noted that, while mainstream U.S. news articles mentioned Miftah, the coverage was mostly neutral or positive. Warren Henry wrote in the Federalist of the mainstream media’s coverage of Miftah, “The establishment press must be getting quite a crick in its collective neck from having to look away so often from the antisemitic elements of the left.” [19]

Statements about Israel and Jewish People

In 2013, Miftah published an article in Arabic alleging that Jews regularly held Passover blood rituals that used the blood of Christians to make matzoh bread—also known as a blood libel. [20] After the piece was brought to light on the anonymous blog Elder of Ziyon and later picked up by major news outlets, Miftah withdrew the article. [21]

Miftah has praised Palestinian terrorists as national heroes and endorsed the naming of a public square after Palestinian terrorist Dalal Mughrabi, who was involved in a bus hijacking attack known as the Coastal Road massacre, calling Mughrabi a “national hero.” [22] It has expressed support for suicide bombers by describing one of the first female Palestinian suicide bombers as “the beginning of a string of Palestinian women dedicated to sacrificing their lives for the cause.” [23]

Miftah founder Hanan Ashrawi defended terrorist acts in a 2017 interview by stating that they “are seen by the people as resistance. And you cannot somehow adopt the language of either the international community or the occupier by describing anybody who resists as terrorist.” [24][25]

Miftah re-posted a propaganda article from the neo-Nazi faction National Vanguard spreading the conspiracy theory about supposed “Jew-controlled entertainment media.” [26][27]

References

  1. “Contact Us.” Miftah.org. Accessed September 11, 2019. http://www.miftah.org/ContactUs.cfm ^
  2. “MIFTAH profile.” NGO Monitor. April 26, 2018. Accessed September 11, 2019. https://www.ngo-monitor.org/ngos/miftah/ ^
  3. Handa, Sahil. “Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Miftah, and the problem of anti-Semitism within the movement for Palestinians’ right to self-determination.” Business Insider. Aug. 25, 2019. Accessed September 11, 2019. https://www.businessinsider.com/rashida-tlaib-ilhan-omar-miftah-anti-semitism-israel-palestine-bds-2019-8 ^
  4. Eakin, Britain. “BDS – Yes We Can.” Miftah.org. October 14, 2009. Accessed September 9, 2019. http://www.miftah.org/display.cfm?DocId=20766&CategoryId=13 ^
  5. Handa, Sahil. “Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Miftah, and the problem of anti-Semitism within the movement for Palestinians’ right to self-determination.” Business Insider. Aug. 25, 2019. Accessed September 11, 2019. https://www.businessinsider.com/rashida-tlaib-ilhan-omar-miftah-anti-semitism-israel-palestine-bds-2019-8 ^
  6. Mifta.org. Accessed September 11, 2019. http://www.miftah.org/Doc/Reports/2006/Jul05MHC2k6.html ^
  7. Baker, Peter and Isabel Kershner. “Israeli Decision on Omar and Tlaib Inflames Politics in Two Countries.” The New York Times. August 15, 2019. Accessed September 9, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/15/world/middleeast/trump-israel-omar-tlaib.html ^
  8. “Independent Auditor’s Report to Members of the General Assembly of MIFTAH.” Ernst & Young. December 31, 2018. Accessed by PDF September 9, 2019. http://www.miftah.org/Programmes/FinancialStatements/FS-2018-Final.pdf#page=5 ^
  9. “MIFTAH profile.” NGO Monitor. April 26, 2018. Accessed September 11, 2019. https://www.ngo-monitor.org/ngos/miftah/ ^
  10. Baker, Peter and Isabel Kershner. “Israeli Decision on Omar and Tlaib Inflames Politics in Two Countries.” The New York Times. August 15, 2019. Accessed September 9, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/15/world/middleeast/trump-israel-omar-tlaib.html ^
  11. Handa, Sahil. “Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Miftah, and the problem of anti-Semitism within the movement for Palestinians’ right to self-determination.” Business Insider. Aug. 25, 2019. Accessed September 11, 2019. https://www.businessinsider.com/rashida-tlaib-ilhan-omar-miftah-anti-semitism-israel-palestine-bds-2019-8 ^
  12. Plecash, Chris. “Canada Pulls Funding for Palestinian NGO After Founder Criticizes Baird.” Miftah.org. February 28, 2015. Accessed September 10, 2019. http://www.miftah.org/Display.cfm?DocId=26281&CategoryId=35 ^
  13. Plecash, Chris. “Canada Pulls Funding for Palestinian NGO After Founder Criticizes Baird.” Miftah.org. February 28, 2015. Accessed September 10, 2019. http://www.miftah.org/Display.cfm?DocId=26281&CategoryId=35 ^
  14. Handa, Sahil. “Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Miftah, and the problem of anti-Semitism within the movement for Palestinians’ right to self-determination.” Business Insider. Aug. 25, 2019. Accessed September 11, 2019. https://www.businessinsider.com/rashida-tlaib-ilhan-omar-miftah-anti-semitism-israel-palestine-bds-2019-8 ^
  15. Lifhits, Jenna. “Dem Reps Met With Alleged Member of Palestinian Terrorist Group.” Washington Examiner, November 17, 2016. https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/weekly-standard/dem-reps-met-with-alleged-member-of-palestinian-terrorist-group. ^
  16. Henry, Warren. “Media Won’t Report That Tlaib And Omar’s Israel Trip Was Planned By A Pro-Terrorist Group.” The Federalist. August 19, 2019. Accessed September 11, 2019. https://thefederalist.com/2019/08/19/media-wont-report-tlaib-omars-israel-trip-planned-pro-terrorist-group/ ^
  17. JTA. “‘Termites’ congressman toured West Bank with pro-Palestinian group.” Times of Israel. August 13, 2016. Accessed September 11, 2019. https://www.timesofisrael.com/termites-congressman-toured-west-bank-with-pro-palestinian-group/ ^
  18. Baker, Peter and Isabel Kershner. “Israeli Decision on Omar and Tlaib Inflames Politics in Two Countries.” The New York Times. August 15, 2019. Accessed September 9, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/15/world/middleeast/trump-israel-omar-tlaib.html ^
  19. Henry, Warren. “Media Won’t Report That Tlaib And Omar’s Israel Trip Was Planned By A Pro-Terrorist Group.” The Federalist. August 19, 2019. Accessed September 11, 2019. https://thefederalist.com/2019/08/19/media-wont-report-tlaib-omars-israel-trip-planned-pro-terrorist-group/ ^
  20. “Article In Jordanian Daily: Is Obama, Who Celebrates Passover, Aware Of The Jewish Use Of Christian Blood On This Festival?” April 3, 2013. Accessed September 11, 2019. http://memri.org/reports/article-jordanian-daily-obama-who-celebrates-passover-aware-jewish-use-christian-blood ^
  21. Tweet by Elder of Ziyon. Posted August 15, 2019. Accessed September 11, 2019. https://twitter.com/elderofziyon/status/1162095208906887168 ^
  22. Elder of Ziyon Blog. “Miftah deliberately ignored PA incitement and delegitimization – and supported terrorists as heroes.” June 05, 2013. Accessed September 10, 2019. http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2013/06/miftah-deliberately-ignored-pa.html ^
  23. Henry, Warren. “Media Won’t Report That Tlaib And Omar’s Israel Trip Was Planned By A Pro-Terrorist Group.” The Federalist. August 19, 2019. Accessed September 11, 2019. https://thefederalist.com/2019/08/19/media-wont-report-tlaib-omars-israel-trip-planned-pro-terrorist-group/ ^
  24. Deutsche Welle. “Hanan Ashrawi on ‘Conflict Zone’: DW: 08.02.2017.” DW.com, February 8, 2017. https://www.dw.com/en/hanan-ashrawi-on-conflict-zone/av-37462593. ^
  25. Henry, Warren. “Media Won’t Report That Tlaib And Omar’s Israel Trip Was Planned By A Pro-Terrorist Group.” The Federalist. August 19, 2019. Accessed September 11, 2019. https://thefederalist.com/2019/08/19/media-wont-report-tlaib-omars-israel-trip-planned-pro-terrorist-group/ ^
  26. Tweet by Elder of Ziyon. Posted August 15, 2019. Accessed September 11, 2019. https://twitter.com/elderofziyon/status/1162097524078809088 ^
  27. Henry, Warren. “Media Won’t Report That Tlaib And Omar’s Israel Trip Was Planned By A Pro-Terrorist Group.” The Federalist. August 19, 2019. Accessed September 11, 2019. https://thefederalist.com/2019/08/19/media-wont-report-tlaib-omars-israel-trip-planned-pro-terrorist-group/ ^
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