By: Kate Anderson, Daily Caller News Foundation
A Palestinian nonprofit received $78,000 from the United States Agency For International Development (USAID) despite board members’ ties to and/or support of terror groups, according to a report by NGO Monitor.
The Community Development & Continuing Education Institute (CDCEI), a Palestinian nonprofit designed to improve educational and socio-economic conditions, was given nearly $80,000 by USAID in a Civic Participation and Community Engagement grant from 2021 to 2023, according to USAID’s announcement. The aid was given despite CDCEI’s board chairman Imad Al-Zeer being photographed at a celebration event in 2019 with the U.S.-designated terrorist group Popular Front for Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), as well as terrorist support from other board members, according to NGO Monitor’s report.
The event was celebrating the 52th anniversary of PFLP’s founding and had a full minute of silence to commemorate the “souls of the martyrs,” and noted Al-Zeer’s attendance, according to the Al-Hadaf news outlet, which is affiliated with the PFLP.
“The festival, which was moderated by the student Donia Dandis and the student Rami Al-Ahmar, began with standing a minute of silence in honor of the souls of the martyrs, followed by the national anthem, and was attended by the Chairman of the University’s Board of Trustees, Professor Dawood Al-Zeer, Dr. Emad Al-Zeer, Vice President of the University, Dr. Nafeh Al-Hassan, Dean of the Faculty of Law, and Dr. Muhammad Sa’abneh, Dean of Student Affairs, many families of martyrs and prisoners, and a large crowd from the Labor Front and university students,” the article read.
Al-Zeer was photographed during the event next to signs and posters with the PFLP insignia and faces of associated terrorists on them, according to NGO Monitor’s report.
Al-Zeer has been the chairman since at least 2012, according to a post on the CDCEI’s Facebook page, and he is not the only one with questionable relations to terrorism. CDCEI’s deputy chairman Mike Salman has multiple posts on his own Facebook account praising terrorists who bombed and murdered Israelis as “hero martyrs.”
On April 16, 2020, Salman posted on Facebook celebrating the anniversary of the death of the “prince of martyrs, Khalil Al-Wazir,” who was the founder of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, another terrorist group, responsible for multiple terror attacks including the 1978 attack on an Israeli bus that ended with the deaths of 38 Israelis, according to the Times of Israel.
NGO Monitor’s report discovered two additional CDCEI board members, Jiries Abu Ghannam and Rana Abu Farha, had many social media posts glorifying Palestinian terrorists and their attacks against Israel. The CDCEI is also a supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which seeks to force businesses to withdraw all funding and support for Israel to protest the alleged apartheid Jewish state, in 2020 and 2021.
“These findings reinforce the need for USAID to consult a wide array of publicly available sources when vetting potential grantees, to ensure that taxpayer funds are not provided to organizations led by individuals that glorify violence, espouse anti-Semitic rhetoric, or embrace anti-normalization,” NGO Monitor told The Washington Free Beacon. “USAID grantees should align with U.S. goals and values.”
USAID and CDCEI did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.