Frequent MSNBC Guest Leads Organization Facilitating Donations to Palestinian Terrorist Groups

Yousef Munayyer / YouTube screenshot
June 1, 2018

A Palestinian-American who has made numerous MSNBC appearances to castigate Israel leads an organization exposed for facilitating donations to a Palestinian coalition that includes several U.S.-designated terrorist groups.

Yousef Munayyer serves as executive director of the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, one of the most prominent anti-Israel organizations in the U.S. and a leader of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS) against the Jewish state.

The Virginia-based non-profit helps steer tax-exempt donations to a West Bank coalition that includes Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and other terrorist groups through a secret fiscal sponsorship arrangement with the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), Tablet reported Friday.

The U.S. Campaign, Tablet has learned, is the fiscal sponsor of a group called the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), the main West Bank and Gaza-based cohort advocating for sanctions against Israel. The BNC was created in 2007 in Ramallah with the intention of serving as the Palestinian arm of the international BDS campaign.  According to the BNC's website, one of the group's members is the Council of National and Islamic Forces in Palestine, commonly known as PNIF. Among PNIF's members are five different groups designated by the U.S. as terrorist organizations, including Hamas, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the Popular Front – General Command (PFLP-GC), the Palestine Liberation Front, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).

Since its founding, the BNC has frequently and openly collaborated with known leaders of these terror organizations: In 2015, for example, the BNC held a press conference to pressure the Palestinian government not to import gas from Israel, featuring a speech by Khalida Jarrar, then a member of the Palestinian parliament for the PFLP and still an active official in the terror group. A video of the BNC-hosted press conference features Jarrar seated alongside BNC secretariat member Omar Barghouti.

Before joining the U.S. Campaign, Munayyer was the executive director of the Jerusalem Fund and Palestine Center, and also served as a policy analyst for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), according to his website biography.

Over the years, MSNBC has often brought Munayyer on as a pro-Palestinian voice when the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has made international news.

Munayyer defended Palestinian riots in Gaza during an MSNBC appearance on April 8, criticizing Israel for a "brutally repressive response." On March 6, Munayyer appeared on "Andrea Mitchell Reports" and ripped the friendship between President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In 2014, Munayyer told Joy Reid there was no independent proof that Hamas employs human shields, and that same year, he told MSNBC's Ronan Farrow that Hamas' terror tunnels "have been used in operations to target primarily, if not exclusively, military targets." In 2015, he compared Israel to the "racist" and "nativist" Republican Party on "Andrea Mitchell Reports."

Munayyer has made appearances on other cable news outlets as well. In a 2014 Fox News appearance during the Gaza War, host Sean Hannity became infuriated when he would not answer whether he thought Hamas was a terrorist organization. Hannity repeatedly spoke over and shouted at Munayyer during the exchange.

After the interview went viral, Munayyer told Vice that Hamas had used "terror tactics" but that the group in control of Gaza was "not only a terrorist organization."

"I think that Hamas is a resistance movement that has used tactics that we all agree are terror tactics," he said. "But they're not only a terrorist organization; they're a resistance movement, they're a political organization, they're a social services organization, and I don't agree with the use of the word 'terrorism' to just hijack conversations, because that's the way it's been used."

"If you deny people their rights, they are going to resist," he added.

The U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights coordinates BDS efforts among 329 different groups. The Anti-Defamation League has condemned the BDS movement as the "most prominent effort to undermine Israel's existence" and "rampant with misinformation and distortion."

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) has called BDS "anti-Semitism" and "profoundly biased."