Report: Leading BDS Organization Tied to Palestinian Terrorist Groups

American charity facilitates donations to coalition that includes Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad

Hamas leaders Fathi Hammad (2R) and Mahmoud al-Zahar (2L) / Getty Images
June 1, 2018

An American umbrella group of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS) against Israel facilitates tax-exempt donations to a Palestinian coalition that includes numerous U.S.-designated terrorist organizations, according to a new report.

The U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, a Virginia-based nonprofit that coordinates the efforts of 329 different pro-BDS organizations, is a fiscal sponsor of the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), which is based in the West Bank and Gaza, Tablet magazine reported Friday.

The BNC, created in Ramallah in 2007, counts the Council of National and Islamic Forces, commonly known as PNIF, among its members. Five different U.S-designated terrorist organizations are members of PNIF: 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," Tablet reported. "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."

The PFLP has orchestrated attacks throughout its history, recently taking responsibility for the massacre of four Jews praying in a synagogue in Jerusalem. It has also supported the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Syria's ongoing conflict, despite Assad's murder of Palestinians in refugee camps.

The U.S. Campaign steers donations to the BNC through a fiscal sponsorship arrangement in which the former uses its charitable nonprofit status to enable fundraising for the latter.

Using fiscal sponsorship to fundraise for a foreign political entity is not the norm; according to Tablet, nonprofits usually become fiscal sponsors to extend temporarily nonprofit privileges to a group whose nonprofit status is being finalized by the IRS, or to pay for short-term projects.

Tablet reporters made a donation to the BNC and received an automated email explaining the arrangement.

"This is a receipt for your kind donation to the Palestinian BDS National Committee, the broadest coalition in Palestinian civil society that leads the global BDS movement for Palestinian rights," the email read. "For your records, the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) is fiscally sponsored by Education for Just Peace in the Middle East, which is registered as a 501(c)3 charitable organization."

Education for Just Peace in the Middle East is the legal name for the U.S. Campaign used in tax documents.

It is unclear how the money raised on behalf of BNC will be used.

"There is no indication that any of the money raised through the fiscal sponsorship is going to terror groups," Tablet noted.

The U.S. Campaign tells donors that the money is going to the BNC but does not say anything more publicly about how that money is spent.

Published under: Hamas , Israel , Terrorism