I moved to Canada from the United States in 2015. Given that most people I meet know me to be a new arrival but aren’t thinking about exactly when I’d arrived, I have gotten a lot of the following: You moved here because of Donald Trump, right? And the fact of the matter is that […]
BDS Activists Push False ‘Genocide’ Charge to Attack Israel
Activists of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement spent much of January engaging in disruptive protests aimed at institutions accused of supporting Israel. Accusations that Israel is undertaking “genocide” against the Palestinians have become standard, and were boosted by the spurious case brought against Israel brought by South Africa in the International Court of Justice.
Protestors have blocked bridges, highways, tunnels, train stations, airport access roads, and other transportation infrastructure in major cities around the country. Disrupting travelers in major cities such as Chicago, Seattle, and New York has been a goal, along with tourist attractions such as Disneyland. Egregiously, the entrance to the Los Angeles National Cemetery was vandalized with the words “Free Gaza.” The most dangerous incident involved releasing balloons at Kennedy Airport with the intent of disrupting flight operations.
Few arrests were made and no prosecutions appear forthcoming. Police and prosecutors are unwilling or unable to exert control over the pro-Hamas mobs. This was viscerally demonstrated as protestors attempted to swarm the White House, throwing bottles at police, yelling “fuck Joe Biden,” and destroying an outer fence. Biden was also heckled during an appearance at a Charleston church while in Dallas protestors tried to storm the tarmac and surround Air Force One.
A new lawsuit alleges that the Biden administration has instructed Federal law enforcement to refrain from investigating pro-Hamas protests in order to not offend the American Muslim community.
The “Flood Manhattan for Gaza MLK Day March for Healthcare” — simultaneously usurping the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday and mimicking the name of Hamas’ October 7 invasion of Israel, “Al-Aqsa Flood” — was a notable example of the protests. Later in January, International Holocaust Remembrance Day was similarly hijacked with protests and marches, but New York police shut down an attempt to blockade Kennedy Airport.
The larger focus of unified anti-Israel/anti-capitalism protests was made clear by a speaker at “The People’s Forum” in New York City who stated: “When we finally deal that final blow to destroy Israel, when the state of Israel is finally destroyed and erased from history, that will be the single most important blow we can give to destroying capitalism.”
The unification of BDS, Islamist, and communist/antifa groups (called in Europe the “red-green alliance”), including groups which share toolkits, talking points, and organizing advice on anti-Israel and anti-capitalist issues, raises the question of which faction is charge.
On college campuses, faculty members remain at the forefront of supporting BDS and Hamas:
At Columbia University, a new branch of Faculty and Staff for Justice in Palestine was formed under the aegis of the BDS movement. Another branch formed at Harvard University pledged “to support, defend, and protect our students, faculty, staff, and all Harvard affiliates organizing for Palestinian human rights, justice, and peace in Palestine/Israel.”
A University of Pennsylvania “Penn Faculty for Justice in Palestine” group condemned the university’s “one sided rhetoric” on the Gaza war, alleged outside interference, and said that the “the movement for justice in Palestine has become crucial to the defense of academic freedom.” The group also held a “die-in” on the steps of a university building.
Individual faculty members at Cornell University, the University of California at Irvine, and other institutions canceled classes in solidarity with the “Global Strike for Palestine.”
The union representing York University’s teaching assistants distributed a toolkit instructing them to “collectively divert this week’s tutorials to teaching on Palestinian liberation,” which denounces “Zionist cultural institutions, and accuses the university of complicity in “genocide.”
The University of Michigan faculty senate passed a resolution calling on the institution from to divest from corporations “with financial ties to Israel’s military,” but did not call for ties to be cut with Israeli universities.
The massive upswing in expressions of antisemitism from medical professionals, including in journals and on social media, intensified in January. The leading example was Rupa Marya, associate professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, who stated that, “The presence of Zionism in US medicine should be examined as a structural impediment to health equity.” She was quickly condemned by her university.
On campus, Students for Justice in Palestine’ (SJP) and Jewish Voice for Peace chapters also continue to be a focal point for BDS related antisemitism:
The Rutgers University SJP chapter had its suspension lifted and immediately held a press conference in which three masked members demanded the university cut ties with Israel, acknowledge the “Palestinian genocide,” and establish a variety of Palestinian educational and cultural programs.
The Columbia University SJP and JVP chapters remain suspended but are operating on campus unhindered. Columbia protestors also claim to have been sprayed with noxious chemicals during an unauthorized campus rally.
The University of Wisconsin’s Students United for Palestinian Equality and Return (SUPER) held a campus prayer vigil, “Honoring Our Martyrs.” A petition also demanded the university rename the main Golda Meir Library, described by a pro-BDS protestor as “a Zionist known for her crimes against Palestine.”
Protestors at Stanford University disrupted a session on antisemitism led by the university president and provost, which featured Israeli envoy Michal Cotler-Wunsh. Students who attended reported threats and insults including, “We’re going to find out where you live,” “Go back to Brooklyn,” and “Our next generation will ensure Israel falls, and America too, the other terrorists” from pro-Hamas protestors.
Pro-Hamas campus vandalism was reported at Princeton University and Boston University, while reports of campus antisemitism and harassment increased, including at the New School and the University of Michigan where Jewish students were called “kikes” and “dirty Jews” by pro-Hamas activists. Pro-Hamas students at New York University distributed an email designed to appear like an official university communication. At the University of Central Florida, a Palestinian-American student was arrested for threatening to shoot three Jewish students.
The spread of BDS, pro-Hamas and anti-capitalist ideology in K-12 education was further documented in January. The problem was illustrated in New York City where controversy emerged regarding a map of the Middle East displayed in an elementary school classroom that labeled the region the “Arab World” and displayed Israel as “Palestine.” The map was part of an “Arab Culture Arts” program funded by the Qatar Foundation International and taught by a Palestinian-American teacher.
It was also revealed that two New York city elementary school teachers used the song “Wheels on the Bus” to indoctrinate students: “The bombs in the air go whoosh, whoosh, whoosh, all through the skies. From every river to every sea the people cry, cry, cry. Free Palestine till the wheels on the tanks fall off.” The song comes from a “Woke Kindergarten” curriculum which describes Israel as a “made up place” with “settlers called Zionists who are harming and killing the Palestinian people.”
Evidence continues to emerge detailing how “ethnic studies” programs claiming that Israel is the epitome of “racism and colonialism” are already being taught in California schools. A new report indicates that high school teachers are describing Palestine as “Arab lands currently occupied by Israel,” Hamas as “a political party which is continuing to fight against Israel,” Gaza as “an open air prison,” and Jesus as having lived in “Palestine.”
The role of teachers in disseminating anti-Israel ideologies had been highlighted when the Oakland Educators Association issued a statement in October condemning the “75 year long illegal military occupation of Palestine” and calling Israel “apartheid state” employing “genocidal rhetoric and policies.” Since then, reports have emerged that dozens of Jewish families have withdrawn children from the public schools, citing safety fears and evidence of anti-Israel bias, including “Free Palestine” posters in elementary school classrooms.
Other reports have documented the involvement of well-known BDS activists in Bay Area schools including teach-ins and teacher trainings sponsored by the Middle East Children’s Alliance and CAIR. In response to complaints, the US Department of Education has launched investigations of the San Francisco and Oakland school districts.
The continuing impact of the Gaza War was also seen in city council resolutions calling for a ceasefire, such as in San Francisco, Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Minneapolis, after raucous debates which featured overt antisemitism and support for Hamas. The Burlington (VT) city council, however, voted against a resolution that would have put a referendum condemning “Israel’s apartheid regime, settler colonialism, and military occupation” on the November ballot.
Reports indicate that these resolutions are often brought about with the help of pro-Palestinian activists and by Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) representatives who use anti-Israel politics as an entryist tactic to gain local legitimacy and votes. More pernicious resolutions were introduced in local school boards, including Ann Arbor, and were supported by demands especially from Arab and Muslim Americans that local schools teach about the conflict.
At the international level, reports indicate that Israel is facing a silent boycott by shipping companies due to Houthi attacks from Yemen on commercial vessels transiting the Red Sea.
Calls for Israel to be banned from international sports and cultural life have also dramatically increased:
Icelandic and Nordic artists have demanded that Israel be banned from the Eurovision song contest.
The International Ice Hockey Federation banned Israeli participation on the basis of “safety,” but then reversed its stance after threats of lawsuits and pressure from the National Hockey League.
An Israeli playing for a Turkish soccer team was arrested, fired, and then fled after displaying a message in support of Israelis held hostage by Hamas.
Fearing backlash, a South African cricket squad removed a Jewish player from the captaincy after he expressed support for Israel. A South African sportswear manufacturer then stated it would not sponsor any games in which the player participated.
Reports indicate that international and US television development projects involving Israelis have slowed or been halted.
While polls continue to show strong support for Israel in the US, with some 80% of Americans backing Israel in its war against Hamas, this figure drops to only 43% of 18-24 year olds. In Britain, one third of the public believes Israel treats Palestinians worse than the Nazis treated Jews, a belief shared by half of 18-24 year olds, while 20% of the public believes that Jews control the media. These and other classically antisemitic concepts form part of the background to reports on soaring rates of antisemitic incidents including bomb threats and violence.
The author is a contributor to SPME, where a version of this article first appeared.
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President Biden: The Mullahs Are More Cowardly Than You Think
This week marks a sinister day in contemporary Iranian history, when the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, was forced to flee. In his place, a cunning Shia mullah returned to Iran, assuming power without the people’s vote, declaring himself God’s representative on Earth, and naming his rule as the governance of Allah on Earth. Today, however, the entire world recognizes that the most corrupt, bloodthirsty, and tyrannical “government of Allah” on Earth has turned Iran into a prison for 88 million people. Each month and week, its bloodthirsty rulers execute a young person on the gallows, perhaps to extend the religious dictatorship’s hold on power and wealth in Iran a bit longer.
The fake representatives of God on Earth have plunged the entire Middle East into chaos, spending all of Iran’s wealth, benefits, and resources on regional terrorism, sectarianism, pyrotechnics, and baseless, ominous attacks on America and Israel.
The financial resources of the Iranian people are squandered on funding Islamic terrorism. Iran’s name has vanished, and the term terrorism has become so intertwined with the name of Iran’s civilized and historical people, that it may not be possible to separate these two names and characteristics for another half-century.
The people of Iran have risen 18 times against religious despotism and their incompetent rulers like Ayatollahs Khomeini and Khamenei. However, when they received no international support and faced brutal suppression by the fake representatives of God on Earth and criminal “holy men,” a dark cloud of despair and anger overshadowed the Iranian people.
Before the ominous Hamas attack of October 7th began, Ayatollah Khamenei promised the destruction of Israel, and the commanders of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) threatened to attack America.
For years, these terrorists have looted the table of the Iranian people, and the nation’s budget. This money is spent on tunnels, grenades, bullets, and missiles for terrorists, instead of being spent on development, industry, agriculture, and the education of the Iranian people.
After October 7, the mullahs feared an Israeli attack and pressed the denial button, insisting they knew nothing about the incident. The world believed them, but the Iranian people know that the nature of the mullahs is intertwined with lies.
Then last week, American soldiers were brutally attacked, and again the mullahs were afraid and denied, and American security officials also heard, but ordinary people in the villages of Iran also know that behind all these crises and wars are the servants of Russia and China, namely the mullahs of Tehran.
This time, the Biden administration responded, attacking Iranian satellites in the region, and said that more reprisals would come at a time and place of America’s choosing. In the past Democratic regimes have believed the mullahs, and not acted strongly enough against them — Carter, because of Khomeini, betrayed the Shah; Clinton, because of the reformists who are the other side of the coin of the hardline conservatives, was pleased with President Khatami; Obama wrote letters to Khamenei in the middle of the Iranian people’s uprising; and Biden, instead of supporting the Iranian people’s desire for regime change, said he was open to another nuclear deal.
But Iran has always been a threat to America and the world — not just Israel, or those inside Iran who want freedom. President Biden should know that the mullahs in Iran are more cowardly, and weaker, than he thinks. The US should continue to use all its tools to rebuff Iranian aggression, and push for an eventual change in regime. The Iranian threat is not going away; it’s time we combat it.
Erfan Fard is a counter-terrorism analyst and Middle East Studies researcher based in Washington, DC. He is in Middle Eastern regional security affairs with a particular focus on Iran, counter terrorism, IRGC, MOIS and ethnic conflicts in MENA. He graduated in International Security Studies (London M. University, UK), and in International Relations (CSU-LA). Erfan is a Jewish Kurd of Iran, and he is fluent in Persian, Kurdish, Arabic and English. Follow him from this twitter account @EQFARD
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Desperate Media Accuse Israel of ‘War Crime’ Over Killing of Terrorists in Hospital Raid
There is no denying that the CCTV footage is dramatic: a small squad of men and women sporting dubious doctor disguises, sweep through the corridor of a hospital with automatic weapons drawn.
The striking clip of the Israeli special forces inside a hospital in the West Bank city of Jenin has now been seen by millions worldwide, after being picked up by the international media, which invariably distorted the incident to suggest Israel’s actions were unlawful.
Here are the facts as we know them:
On Tuesday, January 30, a specialist Arabic-speaking Israeli counterterrorism unit entered the Ibn Sina Hospital in the city that has become synonymous with Palestinian terrorism.
In a “surgical” operation that lasted just 10 minutes from getting into the building and leaving, the team quickly identified their targets: three terrorists named Mohammed Jalamneh, Mohammed Ghazawi, and Basel Ghazawi.
They were all neutralized.
Israeli forces were acting on intelligence that the men were planning an October 7-style massacre on Israeli soil.
Shortly after their deaths, Islamic Jihad claimed two of the terrorists as members, who were brothers, while Hamas confirmed the third was one of its “fighters.”
The three men had deliberately been using the hospital as a base to both plan their attack and hide from Israeli forces.
Media coverage of the IDF targeting 3 terrorists hiding in a West Bank hospital is a bad joke.
— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) January 31, 2024
When the media came to report the incident, however, some of these facts were soon twisted beyond recognition or omitted entirely to, in some cases, suggest Israel had acted unlawfully by killing the three men.
The most outrageous examples of skewing the story came in the form of headlines from The Washington Post, CNN, and the BBC, which all obscured the fact that the Palestinian men were terrorists who were preparing to carry out an imminent attack against Israeli civilians.
The Washington Post’s was the most outrageous, with the publication ignoring that all three had been immediately claimed by terrorist organizations, and instead reporting that Israeli agents “kill[ed] 3 in West Bank hospital,” which implicitly suggested the dead people were innocent patients.
CNN omitted entirely the fact that the men were confirmed as terrorists in a headline that stated Israeli special forces had “infiltrated” the facility to “kill Palestinian men.”
Meanwhile, the BBC referred to the terrorists as “fighters” in a headline, a choice that seemed to glamorize the deceased. In the same article, the hospital’s director, Dr. Naji Nazzal, made the contentious claim that the men were “executed … in cold blood…”
The most outrageous reporting, however, came from the media outlets that baselessly suggested Israel may have violated international law or perpetrated a “war crime” in its killing of three terrorists.
The Economist, for example, asked whether Israel had broken the “laws of war” on the basis that soldiers disguising themselves as doctors may be an act of “perfidy” — a protection invoked under the terms of the Geneva Conventions. Perfidy describes a form of deception in which one side promises to act in good faith with the intention of breaking that promise after their enemy has left themselves vulnerable on the reliance of their enemy’s assurance.
Of course, the real breach of international law should concern three terrorists misusing a hospital as a hiding place, while they planned a large-scale terror attack against Israeli civilians.
ABC News took a similar approach, having interviewed experts who said the raid may have “violated international law”:
It’s a violation of international law to feign protected status, in this case, by dressing up as a doctor or patient, ‘in order to invite the confidence of the adversary and then proceed to kill or injure them,’ Aurel Sari, associate professor of public international law at the University of Exeter, told ABC News. This violates the prohibition to kill or injure the adversary by resorting to perfidy, Sari said.
Two points should be noted in response.
First, Israel’s arrest raids in Jenin do not now — nor have they ever — violated international law. Under the terms of the Oslo agreements, which gave the Palestinian Authority (PA) control in the area of the West Bank in which Jenin is located, the PA was bound to maintain security and combat terrorism.
The PA’s abject failure to combat terrorism emanating from areas under its control gave Israel the right to legally operate in those locations to prevent the commission of attacks.
Second, Israeli forces did not “invite the confidence” of an adversary by dressing as doctors; there is no evidence that the three men acted in the belief that the Israeli forces were actual medical professionals.
The raid on Jenin’s Ibn Sina Hospital may have looked fairly jaw-dropping to observers.
But dramatics are not evidence of war crimes, and certainly don’t mean terrorists are suddenly innocent victims.
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