Sarah: Thank you and welcome to another topical and timely Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) webinar. This webinar is being sponsored by Donna Gary in loving memory of Beverly Gary.
As we all know, the barbaric massacre of October 7th killed at least 1,200 Israelis. This massacre included the butchering and burning of babies, horrific sexual violence against women and the kidnapping of hostages, amongst them elderly Holocaust Survivors. This sadistic and brutal savagery amounts to the worst pogrom against Jews in any single day since the Holocaust and included horrific attacks against Israeli Arabs as well. Yet, by October 8th, anti-Israel riots on college campuses were in full swing. By October 12th, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) had organized a “National Day of Resistance” through at least 200 chapters on American college campuses. On that day, they called for “the dismantling of Zionism on college campuses and the full support of Hamas”. SJP issued a toolkit advocating for Hamas, or other Palestinian forces, and for the complete liberation of Israel. They even issued posters glorifying the paragliders who flew into the Rave Festival. Paragliding was one of the many ways terrorists were able to enter Israeli territory and massacre and kidnap the young people there.
What exactly is SJP? What sort of relationship does this organization have with Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine? How is it funded? What are its historical ideological and sociological roots? How have members of this organization managed to brainwash so many of our young American students? Here to answer these questions and more are Dan Diker and Khaled Abu Toameh of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
Dan Diker is a Senior Fellow and longtime Director of the Counter-Political Warfare Project at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He is a former Secretary General of the World Jewish Congress and a Research Fellow at The International Institute for Counterterrorism at Reichman University, formerly the IDC in Herzliya. He has written six books exposing “the apartheid antisemitism” phenomena in North Africa and has authored studies on Iran’s race for regional Supremacy and Israel’s need for defensible borders.
Khaled Abu Toameh is a Senior Fellow on Arab and Palestinian Affairs at the Jerusalem Center of Public Affairs. Khaled is an award-winning Israeli Arab journalist, lecturer, and documentary filmmaker who covers Palestinian Affairs for the Jerusalem Post. He’s a Senior Distinguished Fellow at The Gatestone Institute. He has worked as a senior producer for NBC in the Middle East and has reported on events in the West Bank and Gaza for the Jerusalem Post, The Times of Israel and several other media outlets. It is a real pleasure to have you both.
You recently came out with a book called Campus Jihad Unmasked, which I just read from cover to cover, I found it riveting. You wrote it together with Irina Tsukerman and my dear friend, Hussein Aboubaker Mansour. Can you tell me why you felt it was important to have a sequel to your other book, Justice in Palestine Unmasked, and what these two books reveal?
Daniel Diker: First of all, Sarah, thank you very much to you and all these wonderful folks in the EMET family. In Israel, we know you as someone in the forefront of advocating for freedom and for truth or facts over feelings. This is more important than ever now because we stand at the most consequential moment since the Nazi period. In your introduction, you said there has never been a one-day mass murder of Jews more consequential than that of October 7th. We have not witnessed a similar mass murder of Jews in Israel since the fall of the second temple 2000 years ago. So, it is a very consequential moment. Over the last couple of weeks especially, my dear friend and colleague, Kahel Abu Toameh and I, felt it extremely important to pen an updated version of what had been a path-breaking monograph called Students for Justice in Palestine Unmasked.
A quick story. About eight weeks ago, I got a WhatsApp message from a dear friend who said Mark Levin is looking for you on Fox News. I said, “Me? What does Mark Levin want with me?” He said, “His producers just found Students for Justice for Palestine Unmasked online, and they want to talk to you about it on the show.” I said, “Well, that is great. I would love to do it.” Since this occurred on October 10th, I wondered what exactly they wanted to discuss. You mentioned parallels between October 7th and the Holocaust with respect to the massacre of Jews. One distinct contrast between the two is that when the atrocities of the Nazi’s were discovered, the Nazis tried to hide from the world while the opposite occurred in this case. We know that many members of the Nazi regime went crazy or committed suicide. The opposite happened on October 7th and 8th. Not only was there no shock and condemnation from around the world, there was actually glee and excitement. There was an energized feeling among thousands of students across more than 200 university campuses in North America.
In 2018, we at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, warned about the dangers of SJP. No one understood what the big deal was. I was an outside advisor to a couple of government ministries and showed the book to them. They said, “Oh, come on, Dan, it is free speech. Come on, Dan, ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’ are just words. It is just words and not so important”.
I will tell you, Sarah, I walked around very frustrated because I understood what SJP represented. I consulted my friend, Khaled, one of the great resources on the Arab world, on Islam, on the Palestinians and on the Middle East. By 2018, we understood SJP was a disaster in the making. On October 7, 2023, Hamas proved we were correct. What concerned us so profoundly five years ago was that there was a genocidal antisemitic path to mass murder. SJP was established by Hamas political refugees in the name of Professor Hatem Bazian, the founder of American Muslims for Palestine (AMP). The Holy Land terror financing case in Texas, a Hamas terror financing case, was the worst terror financing case in American history. There were several unindicted co-conspirators in that case, one of whom was Hatem Bazian. Hatem Bazian went on to fund American Muslims for Palestine first and SJP after that. SJP is basically a Hamas cheering squad using the same rhetoric as Hamas and with the same intentions as Hamas. I will turn to my friend, Khaled, to offer his observations on whether the West is next. Hamas has been packaging terrorism on campuses in the name of SJP for many, many years.
Notice the language conditioning. SJP has nothing to do with justice. It has everything to do with support for the mass murder of Jews and friends of Israel. SJP has welcomed guests from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a popular front for the Liberation of Palestine, and from Hamas itself, via Zoom. They are very dangerous organizations which have convinced the presidents of Harvard, MIT, and Penn that calling for genocide is not actually actionable. They have been doing this for the last decade and now, at last, we finally have moral clarity.
Allow me to turn to my friend, Khaled, who was a co-author of the Jihad on Campus, together with Hussein Aboubaker. I think we should hear Khaled’s observations about the importance of producing, publishing, researching, and distributing Jihad on Campus and of starting a nationwide university initiative where we work with policymakers to establish moral codes on campuses. We want to begin with my own alma mater, Harvard. Harvard has been the greatest disappointment to my family and me since we are all graduates from that university. We need to promote this book to unmask the truth. We need to kick off our organization before greater violence is unleashed against Jewish women and men across United States universities.
Sarah: Khaled, can you provide more information about what is going on? Why is SJP outperforming pro-Israel students on college campuses?
Khaled Abu Toameh: The book that we just published, Jihad on Campus, is long overdue. I believe it should have been published 13 or 14 years ago because I observed what was happening on these campuses in around 2008 or 2009. I cannot remember the exact year I realized that there was a problem. When I visited these campuses, I met people who called themselves the pro-Palestine Camp. I asked them, “Okay, that’s nice. What is your message?” They told me, “Israel is a racist, apartheid genocidal country.” Israel. Israel. Israel. Israel. I asked them, “Excuse me, I mean, what is pro-Palestinian about your message? This sounds to me more like hating Israel than helping the Palestinians. How are you helping the Palestinians by spreading all this hate against Israel? What are you doing to promote moderate Palestinians?” What really struck me was that these people told me they were done with the PLO and that any Arab who recognizes Israel’s right to exist was a traitor. For obvious reasons, I prefer to call them anti-Israel as opposed to pro-Palestinian.
As a reporter, I covered Palestinian Affairs for more than three decades. I met and covered Hamas and noticed the tone, rhetoric and words of the pro-Palestinian Camp on campus sounded like Hamas. I told them, “You know, I do not think that hiding on university campuses and incentivizing hatred against Israel makes you a pro-Palestinian. If you really care about the Palestinians, why don’t you do something positive to help the Palestinians? Why don’t you, for example, come to Gaza to defend the rights of women and gay people living under Hamas? Why don’t you come to the West Bank and defend the rights of journalists, human rights activists and political opponents who are being persecuted and targeted by the Palestinian Authority? Denouncing Israel day and night does not really help us. Why don’t you come to build bridges and not destroy bridges? Why not, for example, come and teach Palestinian children English or do something positive?” As I said, I discovered that it is more about hating Israel than helping the Palestinians. I discovered that many of these people do not even recognize Israel’s right to exist. I discovered that it is not about criticizing Israel. They do not have a problem with a settlement or a checkpoint, or a holy site, they have a problem with Israel’s very existence.
The interactions I had on several campuses were traumatic experiences for me. I recall I wrote an article at that time saying I would not be surprised if the next generation of Jihadis graduate from those US campuses. What I saw was really awful, and we are talking about 10 or 15 years ago. Look where we are now. Since then, the phenomenon has grown, the situation has escalated, and it does not surprise me. When people talk about it, I tell them, “Why are you surprised? This has been the situation on many campuses for a long time.” What I want to say is “You guys buried your heads in the sand. You did not want to see reality. These messages coming from these so-called pro-Palestinian groups like SJP, actually empower the radicals. They amplify the voices of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and undermine moderate Arabs and moderate Muslims at the same time. How does opposition to any form of normalization with Israel help the cause for peace? How does it help to build bridges between Jews and Arabs?” Dan and I are actually countering this ideology at the Center. We are combating these attempts to sabotage relations between Jews and Arabs in the Middle East. In this regard, I am referring specifically to relations between Jews and Arabs inside Israel, and relations between Israel and its neighboring Arab countries.
So we are basically talking about an anti-peace, anti-Israel movement that is growing on US campuses. I think they are also anti-Palestinian because they are acting against Palestinian interests. Calling for a global intifada means calling for more violence which we do not want. An intifada means suicide bombings, rockets, stabbings, and car-ramming attacks. No, thank you. You may not preach to us from the comfort of your US campus. Intifada or resistance, are the words that Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad are using, why are you echoing them? Why are you amplifying them? Why are you providing a platform to these jihadis? When Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad see these anti-Israel campus demonstrations in New York, they gain energy. They are actually encouraged by this. I talked to them and the way they see it is, “Wow. It is working, look, we have friends on the campuses. Wow, look we have allies who are ready to block the bridges in America and go to Times Square and I do not know what else…”, I hear them and what we are actually talking about is US groups empowering the anti-Israel radicals in the Middle East. That is the last thing we need. They need to watch their step very carefully.
As discussed, Dan wrote a book exposing this back in 2018. As Dan said, at that time people asked, “Why are you worried? They are only words and it is okay.” No, it is not okay. It is not okay to call for an intifada because an intifada means murdering Jews. It is not okay to call for resistance because that means telling young Palestinians to go out and stab the first Jew they meet. It is not good to chant, “From the river to the Sea, Palestine will be free.” You know, Sarah, the first time I heard this slogan was in 1988 when I was sitting at the press conference in Gaza. This was when Hamas was established, and “From the river to the Sea…” is actually their message. They want to replace Israel with an Islamic State and there is no room for non-Muslims in this new Islamic state. What is going on over here on the campuses? What are these people thinking? Honestly, I stopped going to many of these campuses because I do not feel safe anymore.
These are my points. I think that people should follow what is happening and watch what we are doing at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. We are exposing these groups and their real agenda. It is very important because some people think, “Oh, it is legitimate opposition. It is freedom of speech.” People are just saying they are opposed to Israel’s policies. No, it is okay to criticize Israel and I also criticize Israel. But what we are seeing is much more than that. This is an ongoing process to delegitimize Israel and demonize Jews and we need to open our eyes to it.
Sarah: Right. I have to say, it is wonderful to partner with the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. You are a wonderful resource helping us to support and defend our arguments on Capitol Hill. We have also been writing about this issue for years.
Last week’s abysmal performance of the three university presidents before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, leads us to believe they have little understanding of where freedom of speech ends and where genocidal attacks on Jewish students begin. I found their performance legally, morally and ethically reprehensible. We at EMET are working very hard to pass the Anti Semitism Awareness Act, requiring the Department of Education to use the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism when enforcing federal anti-discrimination laws. Everyone on this call and all the thousands on our email distribution list, are going to get an action alert. We need them to call members of Congress. If university presidents at least read and understand the IHRA definition of antisemitism, they will have a tool to be able to make the distinction between where the First Amendment Rights ends and where an assault on the identity and life of a Jew begins.
The Anti Semitism Awareness Act is Bill HR6090 in the House and S3141 in the Senate and we are working very hard to get it passed. The Bill does not say you cannot criticize a particular policy of any government of the State of Israel. It does say that you should not criticize the creation and very existence of the State of Israel because that is when criticism becomes antisemitism. I am very interested to hear both of your opinions on this.
We have heard professors like Russell Rickford, Professor of History at Cornell, calling the October 7th Hamas massacre “exhilarating” and “energizing”. Columbia University’s Professor Joseph Massad, called the attacks “awesome” and “incredible”. Danny Shaw from the City University of New York defined Zionist as, “The most despicable form of human-being imaginable, greedy, selfish, racist, exclusionary anti-Jewish, anti-Muslim, anti-human”. You have written a lot about Qatar and others funding US universities. Do you think there is a correlation between this funding and the antisemitic statements from these professors?
Dan: Khal, do you want to comment on Qatar first?
Khaled: First of all, we hear a lot about Qatari money feeding American campuses. The last estimate I heard was hundreds of millions of dollars. We all know that Qatar has been playing a very dangerous game in the Middle-East. When we talk about Qatar, we are actually talking about the Muslim Brotherhood. Qatar has openly supported the Muslim Brotherhood for many years now. They embrace and encourage, not only the Muslim Brotherhood, but other groups associated with it as well. This includes Hamas and other groups in the Middle East. Without Qatar, Hamas would not be in power in Gaza right now and would not be as strong as it is. Without Qatar, the leaders of Hamas would not be safe sitting in Doha right now. Qatar also has a very important media outlet called Al Jazeera. I am referring to Al Jazeera in Arabic, not in English. As an Arab, I have followed a lot of what has been reported in Arabic over many years. I can tell you that when I watch Al Jazeera, I actually think that I am watching Hamas TV. Al Jazeera has become an official mouthpiece of Hamas, and most of Hamas’ statements are announced through Al Jazeera. Note that Al Jazeera is constantly promoting Hamas. By the way, they are trying to undermine moderate Arabs and moderate Muslims at the same time.
So Qatar not only funds American universities, it empowers and embraces Hamas and makes them feel safe in Doha. I do not understand why we are engaging with Qatar? Why is the US Administration, for example, not demanding that Qatar extradite Hamas leaders. They are not only responsible for the murder of Israelis, but of some Americans as well. Questions about US-Qatar relations need to be raised in the US. It is ironic that Qatar is mediating between Israel and Hamas because Qatar is on the side of Hamas and is not an honest broker. Qatar is on the side of Muslim Brotherhood. They are playing a very dangerous game and the Arabs get it. In 2017, some Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, decided to cut diplomatic ties with Qatar. This was after they accused Qatar of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood. The Arabs get it and are banning Al Jazeera in their countries Why is the West silent on this? Why are the Americans not doing anything in this regard? These are questions that need to be asked in the US.
Sarah: Right. Congressman Andy Ogles has put forth some legislation dealing with Qatar. They have long played a duplicitous role. They made themselves indispensable in terms of the hostage release while still paying Hamas salaries and having a relationship with them. On the one hand they use Al Jazeera, Arabic to inflame Hamas while making themselves indispensable to the US An example of this is their allowing a US airbase to operate on their territory. Since 2001, they have funded American universities to the tune of 4.3 billion dollars.
Anyway, I would also like you to talk a little bit about the relationship between the International far left and the Palestinian cause. So, Dan, would you like to talk about that?
Dan: Yes. I’m going to make just a couple of points here. I think we in the Jewish community, both in the diaspora and in Israel, must hold ourselves accountable for what has happened on university campuses across the United States. I will tell you why. The BDS rage and SJP murderous chants are rooted in the 1960s and did not start yesterday. They started in the late 1960s when Yasir Arafat embraced leaders in the Black Militant Movement including Stokely Carmichael, Huey Newton, Louis Farrakhan and Malcolm X. By the late 1960s and early 1970s, Israel was already portrayed as a white supremacist colonialist country. Arafat leveraged America’s period of self-doubt regarding the Vietnam War and regarding the race riots across the country. Arafat rode the wave of American self-doubt under Soviet tutelage. During that period, Professor Edward Said of Colombia became known as a consequential American intellectual on the issue of Palestinian relations. Professor Edward has been read on thousands of campuses across the United States and is considered the grandfather of Middle Eastern studies in the United States. Professor Said engaged in whole scale erasure of Israel as a 3700-year-old indigenous member of the Middle East. In his book, Ivory Tower on Sand, Professor Martin Kramer exposed how, over the previous 20 years, Israel had been re-fashioned Israel as a white supremacist, racist, illicit, illegitimate, implant in an indigenous brown oriental Middle East. We turned a blind eye to this malign influence. American alumni donated huge amounts to fund these institutes of higher learning as well.
Over the last 55 years, Sarah, we allowed Israel, and Jews by extension, to be delegitimized, defamed, and dehumanized. What happened on October 7, 2023 is that Hamas read the tea leaves. Hamas was energized and reassured by the genocidal antisemitic rhetoric that has been going on for years in the United States under the umbrella of academic and intellectual freedom. They took it to its logical conclusion which is the mass murder of Jews and Arab Muslims. This October 7th attack was the climax of this decades-old campaign that has been bubbling and brewing. That is the historical context of what we are seeing today and addressing it requires moral clarity on the part of Jewish trustees, of Jewish donors and of Jewish alumni. We must follow the lead that Bill Ackman has taken at Harvard and that Ronald Lauder and Ross Stevens have taken at Penn. We must pull major funding because, at the end of the day, this is what our universities respond to. So that is the historical context. We want to go to all these major university campuses and present these facts and this context. We plan to invite senior presidents of the universities to Israel to see the truth, to watch the videos, to meet the kidnapped victims, to meet the families, to meet the government, to meet the Army and to meet the normal people in both the Arab and Jewish communities. We want them to get a sense of truth as to what is really going on. Hussein Aboubaker addresses all of these issues in his path-breaking article in a booklet, which you can get at JCPA.org for free. We will also make sure that we have a landing page at EMET and we will be delighted and honored to partner with you on this initiative.
Sarah: Thank you. We just have a few minutes. I apologize if we don’t get to all the questions, but Joseph Epstein, my wonderful legislative fellow, will read some of the questions that have come in.
Joseph: Thank you, Sarah. Thank you, Khaled and Daniel for speaking with us today. Khaled this is a question from one of our viewers. You mentioned earlier that SJP never does anything to promote moderate Palestinians voices. Do you believe that Israel has done enough to support these voices?
Khaled: Well, absolutely. Over the past 30 years, Israel has engaged with the Palestinian Authority, the so-called moderates among the Palestinians. Relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority are still very strong despite everything you hear. In the West Bank, Israel and the Palestinian Authority Security Forces are still coordinating on security and this is ongoing. Since the signing of the Oslo Accords 30 years ago, Israel and the Palestinian Authority have been talking and negotiating. Yes, Israel has not offered 100% but has made very generous offers. In 2005, Israel withdrew completely from the Gaza Strip. The irony is that the October 7th attack came at a time when Israel was beginning to ease restrictions in the Gaza Strip and was beginning to allow more workers to come and work inside Israel. Around 18,000 Palestinians had permits to come and work inside Israel.
What was the Israeli objective in this regard? Israel’s goal was to move forward by creating a moderating effect via a strengthened economy and eased restrictions. Unfortunately, that approach proved to be wrong. What happened on October 7th is similar to what happened during the second intifada and what has happened in many other past instances. This showed the conflict is not about money or improving living conditions of the Palestinians. If it were, by the way, we would have seen peace between Israelis and Palestinians a long time ago since the Palestinians have received tens of billions of dollars over the past 30 years. When the Palestinians went to vote in the election in Gaza, they voted for Hamas. Public opinion polls published in the past few days showed Hamas’s popularity is on the rise and that a majority of Palestinians justify the October 7th massacre. Outside of committing suicide to placate the moderates or to empower the moderates, what more can Israel do? Israel has been trying to persuade President Mahmoud Abbas to return to the negotiating table but he does not want to. He already boycotted Israel back in 2014. I think he has good reason because he has radicalized his people against Israel to the point where he can no longer make peace with Israel.
If your position is, Israel must give 100% or there is no deal, then I can understand why you do not want to go back to the negotiating table. There is nothing left to negotiate. If that is your position you just sit at home and wait until Israel delivers it to you. At the end of the day, we have to remember something which I say regretfully. Israeli concessions and Israeli gestures are being read as signs of weakness and so we have to be very careful about how we frame this conflict and how we look at it.
Sarah: Can I just say one thing? The Israeli-Arab population opposed the war in 2021. However, this time, Israeli Arabs were kidnapped and brutalized and Arab-Israelis have largely been loyal to Israel. On the other hand, I have read many polls saying at least 75% of the Palestinian population living in the West Bank, or Judea and Samaria, do not want the Palestinian Authority in control, perhaps because of their corruption. They want the al-Qassam Brigades of Hamas in control, which is very disappointing. It is also disappointing that Vice President Kamala Harris recently told Mahmoud Abbas she wants a contiguous Palestinian State between Gaza, East Jerusalem and the West Bank. I am not sure who she was speaking for but this would be very difficult for Israel to defend given current trends.
Joseph: Given that the ties between SJP and the Muslim Brotherhood, or Hamas, are pretty evident, why has the problem mostly been ignored? Do you think that now the issue is in the spotlight, it will change?
Dan: I will comment very briefly and then turn over to my colleague, Khaled. One of the reasons the issue has been ignored is due to a perceptual and conceptual problem that still exists today. People view the conflict in the same way as what has been expressed by Kamala Harris, President Biden and Tony Blinken, my former classmate from Harvard College. They are looking at this as a resolvable political dispute between two sides and not as a problem of existence. If Hamas taught us anything in their immoral clarity, it is that this conflict is not a political problem to be resolved via compromise. It is a war of existence. It is a war of annihilation. This is a war of annihilation against Jewish Israelis and their Arab countrymen and women, and against all of the Jewish people in the diaspora.
The reflex question asking how we are going to solve the Israeli-Palestinian question immediately following an expression of outrage at the mass murder and rape and incineration of children and families, is an indication of moral collapse. We are not in a political imbroglio. This conflict has always been an ideological religious Islamic war against the existence of any Jewish Political Sovereign entity anywhere in the Arab Muslim Middle East. According to Islam, any land lost by Islam must never ever be allowed to be retained by non-Muslims. This is something I would love Khaled to weigh in on. I turn to him for more information on this.
This war of annihilation is the war that nobody wants to talk about. This is the war we are in and Hamas reminded us of that eight weeks ago. As such, it is really a matter of moral clarity and we need to unmask the idea that we are in a political territorial conflict. Joseph, this is the reason that SJP has gone unmonitored, undisturbed and free to express themselves over the past years.
Sarah: Khaled, can you just comment on what is in the 1988 Hamas Charter and what the Islamic roots of this conflict are?
Khaled: The original 1988 Hamas charter includes about 36 or 37 articles. The most prominent amongst them are those stating that all of the land of Palestine is Muslim-owned. It belongs to the Islamic trust. No Arab leader, government, country, president or monarch, is entitled to give up one inch of it, especially to non-Muslims. Another article talks about Jihad, or holy war, as the way to liberate Palestine. It states it is a duty of all Muslims to join the Jihad. There is an appeal to other Arabs and Muslims to join the Jihad to liberate Palestine and they quote the famous Hadith, the saying attributed to the Prophet Muhammad. To paraphrase it, when a Jew hides behind the tree, the tree will shout and say, “There’s a Jew hiding behind me. Come and kill him”. I think it is article 31 or 32 that says that non-Muslims, including Christians, by the way, will be able to live only under the wing of Islam. By the way, the original 1988 Hamas Charter, was never changed contrary to what I read in the foreign media.
In 1997, I interviewed the founder of Hamas shortly after he was released from prison. I was working for an Israeli publication and back then Hamas was still talking to the Israeli media. I published the interview in a Hebrew paper. He said, “Look, we do not have a problem with Jews as Jews, but they need to understand that this land is Muslim-owned land. We want to replace Israel with an Islamic State. If there are some Jews who would like to live as a minority under our new Islamic regime, they are welcome. Otherwise, get out of here or we will kill all of you.” This is basically the original Hamas Charter. In 2017, Hamas published another document which was falsely misinterpreted by some people in the West as a sign of moderation. If you read that document, however, you will see what Hamas is really saying. They are saying, “Since we cannot destroy Israel now, we are ready to accept a Palestinian State on any part that Israel gives us in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. However, we will not recognize Israel’s right to exist and we will continue the Jihad to liberate all of the land from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.”
Now, please tell me what’s moderate about this document? Hamas is saying, “If you give me a Palestinian State next to Israel, I will use it as a launching pad to destroy Israel.” I remember many of my foreign colleagues calling me back then and saying, “Wow. Hamas has recognized the two-state solution and Hamas is really to accept a Palestinian State next to Israel”. I told them, “Folks, read very carefully. Hamas is not saying that they will accept a Palestinian State next to Israel because they recognize Israel’s right to exist. They are saying, “Give me a state or any piece of land that I can use to destroy you'”. There is a problem with the West and with Western media. We can hold another webinar and talk about the role of the media, but I want to go back to the issue of why all these anti-Israel voices have been ignored on the campuses.
I think one of the reasons is because there is this perception that the conflict in the Middle East is a conflict between good guys and bad guys. It is a conflict between superpower Israel and the poor-oppressed Palestinians and therefore liberal, open-minded, progressive and enlightened colleges must side with the underdog. In this case, of course, the underdogs are the Palestinians. I think this is where it begins. This feeling that this is a just cause and we have to side with the weak. If SJP really cared about justice in Palestine, as I mentioned earlier, they would defend human rights under Hamas and under the Palestinian Authority. They would try to promote democracy in Palestine. What have they done to demand an end to human rights violations and crackdowns on journalists and human rights activists under both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas? What have they done to encourage Palestinians to embark on reforms in good governance, transparency, and accountability? What have they done to promote elections among the Palestinians? I never saw them over there. I never saw them accomplish anything. One of the questions you need to ask them is, do they recognize the two-state solution? And the answer you will get from them is no because ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’. So again, we are talking about Hamas affiliated or Hamas inspired voices on campuses and sadly it is spreading.
Sarah: We see all of these marches Gays for Palestine, Gays for Hamas. As the meme goes, it is like chickens for Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Khaled: Yeah, I saw that. If these LGBTQ people show up in Gaza, they will be thrown from the rooftops or burned alive or beheaded. We had a recent case of a young Palestinian who fled the West Bank for Israel. He was a member of that community. The day after he went back to the West Bank to visit his family, they discovered his decapitated body. I didn’t see an uproar in the campuses. I did not see Queers for Palestine protesting or anything like that. Which human rights are we talking about? Do the Palestinians have human rights? Are the Palestinians not entitled to live in dignity under a good government? If these people really wanted to help the Palestinians, they would be encouraging the Palestinians to get rid of the bad leaders they have and to elect new leaders. Hamas is bad. The Palestinian Authority is also bad and that is very important. But again, I keep saying, spewing hatred against Israel does not help the Palestinians. It only radicalizes the Palestinians and drives more and more Palestinians into the open arms of Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Sarah: Liberation of the Palestinians from Hamas, is actually what Israel is trying to accomplish with this war.
Joseph: We have talked a lot about groups that are sponsoring the SJP and other malevolent forces on campuses. Is there a philanthropic group that is supporting strong, pro-Israel, Zionist, pro-Western organizations in the same way that other groups support SJP?
Dan: Chabad and Hillel are two very important campus umbrella organizations. There are others such as the ADL and Students Supporting Israel, which has been very strong on campus. I think the main challenge has been conveying messages to young people, to Generation Z, in a way that appeals to them. I know in our generation facts matter and in this generation feelings matter. Therefore, we have got to be able to convey messages that can be embraced emotionally by the young people who are inclined to like Israel and to connect to the Jewish Community. I really think it is a very different emotional-mental mindset than it was decades ago.
At the end of the day, SJP is a highly emotional sell. Occupation-hatred sells very well on a visceral level. They have a palpable experiential advantage over Israel because supporters of Israel have to explain the history and context from Biblical times until now. It is a bit more of a complex sell, but there are ways of selling it. Khaled and I, as fellow Israelis, share the view that Israel is the best product out there. Israel is just the most wonderful place in the world and there is so much to see and sell, buy and experience there. I think that the mission now, is to encourage, enhance and energize a mutual re-embrace between young people and the young state of Israel. It’s only 75 years old, goodness gracious, almost 76. That is what we have to do. Our mission is to re-engage Jews with the Jewish democratic state.
Joseph: Thank you so much. Viewers are asking what people at home can do to combat this sort of thing, besides writing to their congressmen to try to pass bills like the Anti Semitism Awareness Act? What else can viewers at home do to combat this trend?
Dan: Well, clearly now is the moment of great moral clarity. We are trying to do what EMET is trying to do and has done so well for so long. That is to coalesce the Jewish community around the eternal truths that we have been discussing today. We have been kidnapped and hijacked by mendacious propaganda, and we have allowed it to fester, bubble and build. Now is a very consequential moment where we have to reset as a Jewish community including liberals, progressives, conservatives and centrists. We have to unite around the essential truths of the Jewish community and also embrace our brothers and sisters in Israel who are not Jews. Together we must embrace Israel together as the flourishing Jewish majority multicultural country it is and convey that message to the larger Western community. We have been subject to the worst possible genocidal antisemitism and the worst violent propaganda against the very essence of what the Jewish people and their collective expression is.
I would encourage people to support and partner with organizations like the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and like EMET. I believe that we all have to partner, unite and coalesce. Everybody has been making Shabbat for themselves. It is time that we really connect with one another and leverage all of our collective power and moral clarity. We are organizing diplomatic visits on campus. We have Arabs and Jews writing books together because exposing the truth involves not only the Jews, others as well. It includes Richie Torres. It includes the Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel with Pastor Dumisani Washington and Olga Meshoe-Washington. It includes all the other wonderful people out there in the non-Jewish communities who believe that our message is true and that our cause is just. I think that we all have to converge around these types of people and unmasking programs and really do justice to the relationship between Israel and the Black community, the American community, the Asian community and the Hispanic community. We have to communicate the full rainbow represented by Israel.
Sarah: Thank you so much. I really encourage all of our listeners to go to JCPA.org, the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.org and to support their work. You have a podcast every morning, right Dan?
Dan: We have two. Firstly, Khaled and I have a podcast once a week called, Our Middle East, for Jews and Arabs together. We invite you to look us up Our Middle East on Google. It is really a very good video cast and unusual, if I do say so myself. It reflects the Jerusalem Center’s position of a shared Middle East. Number two, we have a live contextual update at JCPA.org every day at 9:00 A.M EST. We invite all of our friends at EMET to join that update which is free of charge. Also, please sign up also for our daily alert. It is a wonderful hyperlinked briefing bringing you the most essential and current information about Israel, North American Jewry, the Jewish world, and the Middle East. We really look forward to cooperating with you Sarah and all at EMET. Washington is such an important audience for us because decisions are made in Washington and destinies are determined there. That is why it is so important for us to engage with the legal and political audiences in Washington and in the public discussion and discourse there.
Sarah: Thank you so much. It is an honor, a pleasure and a privilege to connect with you. All of this is time-consuming and expensive. If you like our podcasts and you support what we are doing every day to inform and educate policymakers on Capitol Hill, we ask you to please support the important work of EMET at www.emetonline.org. Please also support the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs at JCPA.org. Thank you very much for listening. Thank you, Joseph. Thank you, Daniel, and thank you so much, Khaled.
Dan: Thank you. Thank you both.
Why Calls for an Immediate Ceasefire in the Gaza War Becomes a Strategic Liability for the United States Transcript
ACTION ALERT: NOW IS THE TIME TO PASS THE ANTISEMITISM AWARENESS ACT, HR 6090 in the House, S 3141 in the Senate
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