A day after MSNBC was forced to apologize for factual errors made during a controversial report about Israel, supporters of the Jewish state are demanding in a series of petitions that the cable news network’s longtime Middle East correspondent be fired as a result of several inaccurate and highly biased reports wrongly accusing Israel of murdering innocents.
Ayman Mohyeldin, an NBC News foreign correspondent and MSNBC anchor, has come under fire for claiming on the air last week that he saw Israeli authorities shoot an unarmed Palestinian individual.
This turned out to be incorrect. The terrorist was holding a knife in his hand and attempting to murder Israelis.
Mohyeldin, a former Al Jazeera reporter, has long faced criticism for what many say are his efforts to portray Israel as an aggressor and dismiss Palestinian terrorism. He also has given speeches before anti-Israel organizations.
MSNBC’s pattern of biased reporting about Israel has prompted multiple petitions demanding that Mohyeldin be removed from the Middle East beat and fired.
"Tell NBC: Don’t let a terror denier be the one reporting on terror in Israel," reads one online petition launched Monday evening by The Israel Project (TIP), one of the nation’s foremost pro-Israel organizations. It garnered around 5,000 supporters overnight.
"MSNBC viewers aren’t getting the facts. They are getting anti-Israel bias," the petition reads. "NBC must remove Ayman Mohyeldin from the Israel beat."
A second petition, launched late last week on Change.org, is calling on NBC to fire Mohyeldin as a result of his broadcasts. It had already garnered nearly 25,000 signatures.
"Ayman has systematically provided biased reporting for NBC over the years, with his journalism frequently shown to be misleading and inaccurate under scrutiny," states the petition, which was created by Ben Lieblich, a New York City resident.
"This most recent episode in which he had to backtrack live on air on his claim that Israeli Defense Forces killed an unarmed civilian when the civilian in question was in fact a knife wielding attacker is only the latest incident in a string of biased reporting incidents of which NBC should be ashamed," the petition reads. "This petition is to have Ayman removed from our television sets and have him stop poisoning the minds of the less informed."
Lieblich said on Tuesday that Mohyeldin has "abused" his role as a reporter.
"Mohyeldin has time and again abused his power and I am concerned about the serious effect on the opinions of his (particularly less informed) viewers," Lieblich said. "He vilifies the brave men and women, both in this country and in Israel, who put their lives at risk to protect innocent civilians.
"Mohyeldin has a clear agenda, and he’ll be damned if he lets the whole truth get in the way," he added.
Mohyeldin has long been a subject of controversy at the network.
In January, he accused Chris Kyle, the former Navy SEAL who was the subject of the film American Sniper, of having "racist" tendencies and going on "killing sprees in Iraq on assignment."
In July of 2014, Mohyeldin falsely claimed that he had witnessed an Israeli Defense Forces missile attack on a Palestinian hospital. In fact, the missile had been fired by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group and was meant to kill Jewish people.
He has also referred to Hamas as a "highly revered" organization and was criticized in June for delivering a speech to the Arab Anti-Discrimination League, an organization long accused of harboring anti-Israel and anti-Semitic views.
The calls for Mohyeldin to be fired come as MSNBC fights to deal with the fallout over a recent broadcast that accused Israel of stealing land from the Palestinians.
That broadcast, which featured a series of maps similar to those long disseminated as propaganda by anti-Israel groups, was viewed as highly misleading and prompted MSNBC to issue a retraction over the weekend following inquiries from the Free Beacon.
"In an attempt to shed light on the geographic context of the Israeli-Palestinian issue, we aired a map that was factually wrong," a NBC spokesperson said on Sunday.
One senior official at a pro-Israel organization said that NBC must be held accountable for Mohyeldin’s reporting.
"Usually conspiracy theorists like Mohyeldin publish their anti-Jewish incitement on Internet cesspools," said the source, who was not permitted to be quoted on record. "Instead NBC gave this one a microphone."
An NBC spokesperson declined to comment about Mohyeldin’s reporting and the petitions demanding his removal.