update deskU.S. News

‘Examiner’ report: State Department funds group with ties to terror in Gaza

Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), who leads the House Subcommittee on Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations, said the issue is “raises alarming questions.”

The Luhaidan Building at the Islamic University of Gaza. Credit: Manar al Zraiy via Wikimedia Commons.
The Luhaidan Building at the Islamic University of Gaza. Credit: Manar al Zraiy via Wikimedia Commons.

The Phoenix Center for Research and Field Studies—affiliated with the Islamic University of Gaza and which received a $90,000 grant from the U.S. State Department—has ties to two entities designed by the United States as terrorist groups, according to a Sept. 27 report from the Washington Examiner.

Ostensibly a charity, the center received $60,000 in U.S. federal funding for a current project to “further promote diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility” and to “enhance the knowledge and skills of Palestinians in public speaking, storytelling and digital networking.” Another grant—this one for $30,000—supports a current project to “raise the awareness of IT trends and provide networking opportunities with IT employers in Europe and Asia for target audiences.”

The Phoenix Center does other sorts of networking, including with Palestine Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, both of which have been on the State Department’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations for more than 25 years.

An event held by the center on Sept. 19, 2022 featured a senior member of Palestine Islamic Jihad who has called for the “slaughter” of Jews, and photographs on the center’s website portray a room decked out in Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine flags, per the Examiner, citing NGO Monitor. Another 2022 event featured another senior member of the PFLP and four members of PIJ.

Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), who leads the House Subcommittee on Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations, told the Examiner that the State Department’s funding of the center is “deeply disturbing and raises alarming questions.”

“Under absolutely no circumstances should the State Department be sending U.S. taxpayer dollars to subsidize terrorist workshops and conferences that are decorated with the flags of terrorist organizations and posters of known terrorists who are actively seeking the slaughter of Jews and the annihilation of Israel,” he told the publication. 

“Never mind the sheer stupidity of thinking Palestinian terrorists would respond to DEI programs,” wrote Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.), using the acronym for diversity, equity and inclusion. “It is an international embarrassment that the Biden administration is actively funding violent anti-Israel groups in Gaza and the West Bank. I stand with Israel, period.”

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