A self-described “non-political organization” which was established in 1991, the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF) states that its founders consisted of “concerned people in the U.S.” who sought to “address the medical and humanitarian crisis facing Palestinian youths in the Middle East” – most notably, refugees in Gaza, the West Bank, and Jordan. The organization’s “primary objective” has since expanded somewhat, and now aims “to identify and treat every child in the Middle East in need of specialized surgery not available to them locally.” Moreover, PCRF commonly sponsors and administers volunteer medical missions to the region.
But PCRF is by no means apolitical. “While the majority of PCRF’s work is devoted to organizing medical missions and humanitarian projects,” NGO Monitor reports, “it does promote a clear political agenda, based solely on the Palestinian narrative of victimization.” Specifically, the organization “presents a biased and distorted view of the conflict, omitting Palestinian terror attacks against Israeli civilians, including rocket attacks and terror tunnels, as well as Israel’s legitimate right to self-defense.”
From 1991 through 2001, PCRF worked closely with its “assisting organizations,” the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) and the Global Relief Foundation (GRF), both of which eventually had their assets frozen by the U.S. government because of their funding activities on behalf of terrorist groups like Hamas and al-Qaeda. Another of PCRF’s assisting organizations, the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO), was raided by the FBI for funneling money to al-Qaeda, Egyptian Islamic Jihad, and Hamas. Notwithstanding the well-established terror affiliations of HLF, GRF, and IIRO, the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund proudly declared on its website that it “works with these organizations” and expressed gratitude for their “support and cooperation.”
In 2004, the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development asked the U.S. Treasury Department for permission to transfer $50,000 of its frozen assets to PCRF.
That same year, an article in The New York Times quoted a suspected al-Qaeda supporter telling NBC television that “PCRF is a front for Islamic Jihad,” an organization which the U.S. government had designated as a terrorist entity.
Ever since its founding in 1991, PCRF has been headed by its president and CEO, Stephen Sosebee, who depicts Israel as a terrorist state and is supportive of the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) movement, a Hamas-inspired initiative that aims to advance the Hamas agenda of permanently destroying Israel as a Jewish nation-state. Sosebee also claims that the U.S. government, media, and citizenry are manipulated and propagandized by a powerful “Zionist lobby.”
On May 15, 2013, PCRF’s Orlando, Florida chapter hosted an event commemorating and lamenting the 65th anniversary of Israel’s establishment in 1948. PCRF refers to Israel’s creation as “Al-Nakba,” an Arabic term meaning “The Catastrophe.”
In October 2014 at the Harvard School of Public Health, PCRF collaborated with the North America Friends of Sabeel and some other groups in co-hosting an event that featured a speech by Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian doctor famous for his bitter denunciations of Israeli “war crimes” and “massacre[s].”
A guest speaker at PCRF’s annual Fundraising Gala Dinner in Boston on April 25, 2015 was the Palestinian legislator and activist Hanan Ashrawi, a Holocaust denier and an apologist for Palestinian terrorism.
In April 2015 as well, PCRF launched “Rachel Corrie’s Gaza Children Education Initiative,” a tutoring program for Palestinian schoolchildren in the Gaza Strip. This campaign was named in honor of the late International Solidarity Movement activist Rachel Corrie, whom PCRF describes as “a great humanitarian activist.” (For details about Corrie’s life and work, see her profile here.)
PCRF’s work and mission is also backed by Al-Awda. (a.k.a. The Palestine Right to Return Coalition), which seeks to promote the dissolution of Israel and accuses the Jewish state of human-rights violations, ethnic cleansing, and genocide.