A recent opinion piece published in The Guardian’s sister Sunday newspaper, The Observer, warned that Israel’s battle to rout Hamas risks not only “perpetuating the cycle of violence but spreading it wider.”
Written by Ahmad Samih Khalidi, a writer and former Palestinian negotiator under Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas, the op-ed is headlined: “Israel’s plans for Gaza’s future will only keep the flame of Hamas resistance burning.”
If it sounds like Khalidi is lionizing Hamas, it’s because he is.
Make no mistake, using phrasing like the “flame of Hamas resistance” in the context of an internationally proscribed terrorist group that raped and massacred countless unarmed civilians on October 7 serves to glorify them.
Reminder: Hamas is a proscribed terrorist org in the UK (& elsewhere) & murdering, raping & kidnapping Israeli civilians isn’t “resistance” – it’s terrorism.https://t.co/IzJFc5jChW pic.twitter.com/j7wlgfVpAo
— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) January 21, 2024
Khalidi opens the piece with a brief history of “Palestinian resistance,” tracing how Islamic cleric Izz ad-Din al-Qassam — after whom Hamas’ military wing was later named — led a guerilla campaign in what was then British Mandatory Palestine.
He then summarizes the last few decades of Hamas history:
The past 30 years have witnessed an accelerating competition between Hamas’s claim to embody national resistance to Israeli rule, and Fatah’s collapse into discord, corruption and collusion under the banner of the Palestinian Authority’s ‘security cooperation’ with the Israeli occupation. This race culminated in Hamas’s 7 October assault that was designed as much to shock and terrorise Israel as it was to discredit Fatah/ Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority and consolidate Hamas’s position as the primary inheritor and embodiment of the Palestinian national movement and its liberationist cause.”
Aside from the grossly flippant way in which he views the Hamas atrocities on October 7 as being the culmination of a “race” between Hamas’ claim to represent Palestinians and the Palestinian Authority’s declining loss of credibility, Khalidi’s assertion that the Hamas attacks were equally designed to “discredit” the PA is revealing.
Perhaps without realizing it, Khalidi actually let slip that the key to winning popular support among Palestinians is by doing what Hamas did and slaughtering Israelis and Jews — not, as many naive media commentators assume, by laying out a vision for a Palestinian state that is peaceful and prosperous.
The piece goes on to complain about how various powers have not devised a comprehensive plan for the Gaza Strip after Israel’s military withdrawal.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, for example, is accused of “utopian” thinking over what Khalidi scornfully described as Blinken’s focus on “an as yet invisible ‘pathway to Palestinian statehood’.”
Of course, Khalidi completely ignores why Palestinian statehood seems so elusive — specifically, that every single peace deal has been rejected by the Palestinians since Israel’s founding in 1948, including peace offers that were on the table when Khalidi himself was acting as a negotiator for the Palestinians.
There are numerous problems with the piece, including glossing over the horrors of the Hamas massacre and presenting dubious casualty figures, but the most galling aspect of is Khalidi’s suggestion that the United States and the West, in general, will be to blame for another extremist group or organization rising to power in the Gaza Strip after the war:
Hamas’s brutal tactics in its 7 October assault have been washed out of Palestinian political consciousness by the subsequent indiscriminate and mass erasure of Palestinian civilian lives, and the US/west’s complicity in supporting, arming and allowing this onslaught to continue under the guise of Israel’s right to self-defence with no evident expiry date attached. Rather than crush Hamas, its most likely effect will be to remythologise the notion of resistance and sow the seed for future iterations that may be inspired by Hamas but have no necessary connection to its history, ideology or organisational structure.”
First, the statement that Hamas’ brutal actions on October 7 have been “washed out of Palestinian political consciousness by the subsequent indiscriminate and mass erasure of Palestinian civilian lives” is absolutely absurd.
Let us be crystal clear: the depravity perpetrated by Hamas was never in any type of Palestinian consciousness whatsoever. As innocent children were being murdered in their beds and as women were sexually tortured in the streets on that Saturday morning just over three months ago, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were filmed celebrating the violence and vowing to repeat it.
Second, the suggestion that America’s support for Israel’s defense will unintentionally “remythologise the notion of resistance” with groups inspired by Hamas taking their place, is a tacit way of absolving all Palestinians — including those in the future — of any responsibility.
In Khalidi’s view, if another extremist group akin to Hamas rises to power in the Strip and wages war against Israel, the fault will not lie with the Palestinians. Rather, it will be America’s responsibility, due to its sheer temerity in supporting Israel’s right to self-defense during this conflict.
And that’s the crux of it: for those like Khalidi, Palestinians are always blameless and Israel is the original sin. And nothing — facts or otherwise — can disturb that dichotomy.
The author is a contributor to HonestReporting, a Jerusalem-based media watchdog with a focus on antisemitism and anti-Israel bias — where a version of this article first appeared.
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South Dakota Passes Bill Adopting IHRA Definition of Antisemitism
South Dakota’s state Senate passed on Thursday a bill requiring law enforcement agencies to refer to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism when investigating anti-Jewish hate crimes.
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem (R) already adopted the definition, which has been embraced by lawmakers across the political spectrum, via executive order in 2021. This latest measure, HB 1076, aims to further integrate the IHRA’s guidance into law and includes the organization’s examples of antisemitism. It now awaits a vote by the state House of Representatives.
“As antisemitism continues to rise across America, having a clear and standardized definition enables a more unified stance against this hatred,” the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM), said in a statement. “We appreciate Governor Kristi Noem for making this legislation a policy goal of hers, strengthening the use of the IHRA Working Definition in South Dakota through legislation, following the December 2021 adoption via executive proclamation.”
CAM called on lawmakers in the lower house to follow the Senate’s lead and implored “other states to join the fight against antisemitism by adopting the IHRA definition, ensuring the safety and well-being of their Jewish residents.”
First adopted in 2005 by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism states that “antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews,” and includes a list of illustrative examples ranging from Holocaust denial to the rejection of the Jewish people’s right to self-determination. The definition is used by hundreds of governing institutions, including the US State Department, European Union, and the United Nations.
Widely regard as the world’s leading definition of antisemitism, it was adopted by 97 governmental and nonprofit organizations in 2023, according to a report Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) Antisemitism Research Center issued in January.
Earlier this month, Georgia became the latest US state to pass legislation applying IHRA’s guidance to state law. 33 US States have as well, including Virginia, Texas, New York, and Florida.
Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.
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Columbia University Sued for Allowing Antisemitic Violence and Discrimination
Columbia University allowed for antisemitism to explode on campus endangering the welfare of Jewish students and faculty, StandWithUs Center for Legal Justice and Students Against Antisemitism (SAA) alleges in a lawsuit announced on Wednesday.
Filed in the US District Court of Southern New York, the complaint recounts dozens of reported antisemitic incidents that occurred after Oct. 7 which the university allegedly failed to respond to adequately because of anti-Jewish, as well as anti-Zionist, bias.
“Columbia refuses to enforce its policies or protect Jewish and Israeli members of the campus community,” Yael Lerman, director of SWU Center for Legal Justice said on Wednesday in a press release. “Columbia has created a pervasively hostile campus environment in which antisemitic activists act with impunity, knowing that there will be no real repercussions for their violations of campus policies.”
“We decline to comment on pending litigation,” Columbia University spokesperson and vice president for communications told The Algemeiner on Friday.
The plaintiffs in the case accuse Columbia University of violating their contract, to which it is bound upon receiving payment for their tuition, and contravening Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. They are seeking damages as well as injunctive relief.
“F— the Jews,” “Death to Jews, “Jews will not defeat us,” and “From water to water, Palestine will be Arab,” students chanted on campus grounds after the tragedy, violating the school’s code of conduct and never facing consequences, the complaint says. Faculty engaged in similar behavior. On Oct. 8, professor Joseph Massad published in Electronic Intifada an essay cheering Hamas’ atrocities, which included slaughtering children and raping women, as “awesome” and describing men who paraglided into a music festival to kill young people as “the air force of the Palestinian resistance.”
300 faculty signed a letter proclaiming “unwavering solidarity” with Massad, and in the following days, Students for Justice in Palestine defended Hamas’ actions as “rooted in international law.” In response, Columbia University president Minouche Shafik, opting not to address their rhetoric directly, issued a statement mentioning “violence that is affecting so many people” but not, the complaint noted, explicitly condemning Hamas, terrorism, and antisemitism. Nine days later, Shafik rejected an invitation to participate in a viewing of footage of the Oct. 7 attacks captured by CCTV cameras.
The complaint goes on to allege that after bullying Jewish students and rubbing their noses in the carnage Hamas wrought on their people, pro-Hamas students were still unsatisfied and resulted to violence. They beat up five Jewish students in Columbia’s Butler Library. Another attacked a Jewish students with a stick, lacerating his head and breaking his finger, after being asked to return missing persons posters she had stolen.
More request to the university went unanswered and administrators told Jewish students they could not guarantee their safety while Students for Justice in Palestine held demonstrations. The school’s powerlessness to prevent anti-Jewish violence was cited as the reason why Students Supporting Israel (SSI), a recognized school club, was denied permission to hold an event on self-defense. Events with “buzzwords” such as “Israel” and “Palestine” were forbidden, administrators allegedly said, but SJP continued to host events whole no one explained the inconsistency.
Virulent antisemitism at Columbia University on the heels of Oct. 7 was not a one-off occurance, the complaint alleges, retracing in over 100 pages 20 years of alleged anti-Jewish hatred at the school.
“Students at Columbia are enduring unprecedented levels of antisemitic and anti-Israel hate while coping with the trauma of Hamas’ October 7th massacre,” SWU CEO Roz Rothstein said in Wednesday’s press release. “We will ensure that Columbia University is held accountable for their gross failure to protect their Jewish and Israeli students.”
Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.
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University of California-Los Angeles Student Government Passes BDS Resolution
The University of California-Los Angeles student government on Tuesday passed a resolution endorsing the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement, as well as false accusation that Israel is committing a genocide of Palestinians in Gaza.
“The Israeli government has carried out a genocidal bombing campaign and ground invasion against Palestinians in Gaza — intentionally targeting hospitals universities, schools, shelters, churches, mosques, homes, neighborhoods, refugee camps, ambulances, medical personnel, [United Nations] workers, journalists and more,” the resolution, passed 10-3 by the UCLA Undergraduate Student Association Council (USAC), says, not mentioning that UN personnel in Gaza assisted Hamas’ massacre across southern Israel on Oct. 7.
It continued, “Let it be resolved that the Undergraduate Student Association of UCLA formally call upon the UC Regents to withdraw investments in securities, endowments mutual funds, and other monetary instruments….providing material assistance to the commission or maintenance of flagrant violations of international law.
The days leading up to the vote were fraught, The Daily Bruin, the university’s official student newspaper reported on Wednesday.
“Non-UCLA students” sent USAC council members emails imploring them to vote for or against the resolution and USAC Cultural Affairs Commissioner and sponsor of the resolution, Alicia Verdugo, was accused of antisemitism and deserving of impeachment. The UCLA Graduate Student Association and University of California-Davis’ student government had just endorsed BDS the previous week, prompting fervent anticipation for the outcome of Tuesday’s USAC session.
Before voting took place, members of the council ordered a secret ballot, withholding from their constituents a record of where they stood on an issue of monumental importance to the campus culture. According to The Daily Bruin, they expressed “concerns” about “privacy” and “security.” Some members intimated how they would vote, however. During a question and answer period, one student who co-sponsored the resolution, accused a Jewish student of being “classist” and using “coded” language because she argued that the council had advanced the resolution without fully appreciating the complexity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the history of antisemitism.
“As a Guatemalan, …my country went through genocide,” he snapped at the young woman, The Daily Bruin’s reporting documented. “My family died in the Guatemalan Mayan genocide. I understand. I very well know what genocide looks like.”
Other council members voiced their support by co-sponsoring the resolution, which was co-authored by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a group that has held unauthorized demonstrations and terrorized Jewish students across the country.
Responding to USAC’s decision, Jewish students told the paper that they find the campaign for BDS and the attempts of pro-Palestinian students to defend Hamas’ atrocities myopic and offensive.
“How can anyone dare to contextualize since Oct. 7 without acknowledging that the Jewish people are victims of such a cataclysmic attack?” Mikayla Weinhouse said. “BDS intentionally aims to divide a community. Its supporters paint a complex and century-old conflict in the Middle East as a simplistic narrative that inspires hate rather than advocates for a solution.”
University of California-Los Angeles denounced the resolution for transgressing school policy and the spirit of academic freedom.
“The University of California and UCLA, which, like all nine other UC campuses, has consistently opposed calls for a boycott against and divestment from Israel,” the school said in a statement. “We stand firm in our conviction that a boycott of this sort poses a direct and serious threat to the academic freedom of our students and faculty and to the unfettered exchange of ideas and perspectives on this campus.”
Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.
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