Founded in 1998, Partners for Peace (PFP) is a Washington, D.C.-based, Palestinian-allied nonprofit group which also is listed as a United Nations Non-Governmental Organization (NGO). The group's start-up working committee merged with another non-profit, the American Alliance for Palestinian Human Rights, retaining the Partners for Peace name for the two merged entities. PFP today has the same Washington address as another Palestinian-allied group, the Council for the National Interest. PFP's founder and current President is Jerri Bird, wife of retired State Department Foreign Service Officer Eugene Bird (a career diplomat with many Middle East postings).
PFP generates publicity for Palestinian causes, partly via media interviews, and partly through its regular speaking tours in U.S. cities -- usually by trios of Middle Eastern women who are presented as interfaith peace activists from Jewish, Muslim and Christian backgrounds. The PFP-sponsored tours are called "Jerusalem Women Speak: Three Women, Three Faiths, One Shared Vision." One of the more notable participants in these events is Nina Mayorek, who charges that "Since its foundation, Israel has lived by its sword." In the spring of 2005, PFP lecture venues included Washington's Georgetown and American Universities; an African-American congresswoman's Capitol Hill office; the University of Virginia; the Chicago Council of Foreign Relations; and Islamic centers, Protestant churches, seminaries, synagogues, colleges, law schools, and public libraries in North Carolina, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Some of these events received media coverage from C-SPAN television.
The PFP website presents an "Introduction" to the organization's worldview and agenda. Written by PFP President Jerri Bird, this piece begins as follows: "It may come as an unpleasant surprise for many of you to learn that for over 30 years, Israel has repeatedly detained, tortured and incarcerated Americans of Arab origin, without suffering any sanctions or even a public reprimand from Washington. Of course the Palestinians have been suffering this torture for 35 years on a scale that is truly unimaginable." The PFP website encourages likeminded activists to: "Get acquainted with the editor of the Letters to the Editor section and establish yourself as a credible, knowledgeable citizen"; "Call in [to radio talk shows] whenever the subject relates to the Middle East"; and "[A]rrange an event at your church, mosque, synagogue, or elsewhere that includes food, music, and educational material from the region."
Partners for Peace also highlights what it believes are cases of Israeli government abuse of Arab-Americans in the Occupied Territories, though Israeli and U.S. courts generally have not sided with PFP's position in these cases.
The Partners for Peace Board of Directors includes anti-Israel activist Adam Shapiro, who also heads the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). PFP has posted, on its website, ISM press statements about alleged Israeli military harassment of ISM activists. Moreover, PFP echoes ISM's description of the Israeli security barrier as an "Apartheid Wall."
The PFP Board of Advisors includes George McGovern, the former Democratic presidential candidate, and Betty Bumpers, wife of former U.S. Senator Dale Bumpers (D-Arkansas). The group's Executive Director, Michael Brown, previously worked as a pro-Palestinian activist in Gaza.