A Democrat-led bill condemning Israel’s so-called military occupation of Palestinian lands relies on research from an Israeli-designated terrorist organization.
Rep. Betty McCollum (D., Minn.), along with nearly 30 of her Democrat colleagues, introduced earlier this year the "Defending the Human Rights of Palestinian Children and Families Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act." The legislation accuses Israel of wrongfully detaining Palestinian children and subjecting them to interrogation and imprisonment.
But the bill relies heavily on research and statistics produced by Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCIP), a nonprofit group that Israel designated in 2022 as a terrorist organization. The Israeli government says the group is controlled by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a militant organization that has killed Americans and is a U.S.-designated terror outfit.
House Republicans say legislation like McCollum’s bill—which is co-sponsored by a who’s who of anti-Israel advocates in Congress, including Reps. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.), Cori Bush (D., Mo.), and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.)—is par for the course among House Democrats, where anti-Semitism has become commonplace. Tlaib, for instance, attempted to organize an event in May mourning the "catastrophe" of Israel’s creation, prompting last-minute intervention by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.). And a July speech by Israel’s president sparked boycotts among many Democrats, with Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D., Wash.) calling Israel a "racist state."
Rep. Jim Banks (R., Ind.) pointed to the disturbing trend among Democrats, saying McCollum’s recent legislation crosses the line into a partnership "with a known terrorist organization."
"Democrats have hurled every insult under the sun at our closest ally Israel, and they haven’t stopped at words," Banks told the Washington Free Beacon. "Democrats have now partnered with a known terrorist organization in a push to leave Israel more vulnerable to terrorist attacks by cutting U.S. aid."
House Republicans, Banks added, "must remain firm in our commitment to Israel’s security by calling out Democrats’ radical anti-Semitism."
The bill cites research from DCIP without discussing the organization’s credibility. Figures from the group allege that 75 percent of Palestinian children detained by Israeli security forces "endured physical violence following arrest." It also claims Israeli "interrogators used stress positions, threats of violence, and isolation to coerce confessions from detained children."
Gerald Steinberg, founder of NGO Monitor, a watchdog group that tracks pro-Palestinian nonprofits, said that DCIP’s research is unreliable and used as a tool by Israel’s detractors to delegitimize the Jewish state.
"This bill highlights McCollum's alliance with DCIP—a notorious Palestinian NGO that systematically exploits children for crude propaganda and is led by individuals with direct and open-source links to the PFLP Marxist terror group," Steinberg said. "Their campaign of false accusations erases the Israeli victims of terror attacks, including hundreds of children, and is cynically designed to further demonize and dehumanize Israelis under the facade of protecting minors."
In designating DCIP as a terrorist organization, Israel’s government provided evidence the group is "controlled by the senior leaders of the 'Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine' and employ many 'Popular Front' activists in field and management positions, including activists who participated in terror activity." Money the group receives from international donors is often diverted into the PFLP’s coffers, according to the charges.
DCIP and several other groups included in the 2022 designation, "present themselves as acting for humanitarian purposes," according to the Israeli government. "However, they serve as a cover for the promotion and financing of Popular Front activity."
McCollum's office did not respond to a request for comment on the legislation and its reliance on DCIP.