In a recent opinion piece for the Los Angeles Times, Palestinian journalist Daoud Kuttab takes umbrage with New York Congresswoman Elise Stefanik’s assertion that public calls for an intifada are akin to calls for the genocide of the Jewish people.
In making his case, Kuttab’s article is riddled with historical revisionism, factual inaccuracies, and misleading statements, all in an effort to whitewash the violent nature of the two Palestinian intifadas and to lay the onus for continuing violence between Israel and the Palestinians solely at the feet of the Jewish state.
“Civil Disobedience & Protest”: The First Intifada
In defending the use of the term “intifada” (literally “shaking off”), Kuttab asserts that the term is a Palestinian “demand for freedom from occupation,” and that its sole focus is on ending Israeli control over the post-1967 territories.
Following this favorable presentation of the term “intifada,” Kuttab then initiates his whitewashing of reality, beginning with the First Intifada.
For anyone unfamiliar with Israeli and Palestinian history, the First Intifada would appear from Daoud Kuttab’s description to have been a righteous struggle for civil rights, similar to those that took place in the southern United States or South Africa.
This is not mere hyperbole, as he actually writes, “Initially, the intifada included the methods of resistance practiced by Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela.”
This complimentary portrayal of the First Intifada is further reinforced by a later description of it as “six years of civil disobedience and protest.”
While it is true that the First Intifada included acts of non-violence, it is disingenuous for Kuttab to present those six years as an idealistic struggle for peace and freedom.
From the start, the First Intifada was also defined by Palestinian violence against Israeli soldiers and civilians.
It is estimated that during the first four years, there were “more than 3,600 Molotov cocktail attacks, 100 hand grenade attacks and 600 assaults with guns or explosives” directed against Israelis.
In fact, for an “uprising” supposedly directed against “the occupation, not Israel,” more Israeli civilians were killed during the First Intifada than members of the Israeli security forces. Of these Israeli civilians, more were killed within pre-1967 Israel than were killed in the West Bank, Gaza, and eastern Jerusalem.
Between the Two Intifadas: The Oslo Years
Following his rosy assessment of the First Intifada, Daoud Kuttab then turns his attention to the Oslo era, the seven years between the signing of the Oslo Accords by Yitzhak Rabin’s Israeli government and Yasser Arafat’s PLO, and the eruption of the Second Intifada.
To hear Kuttab tell it, Israel and the Palestinians were on a clear course for rapprochement and friendly relations between two states until a right-wing Israeli extremist assassinated Rabin in 1995, leading to Benjamin Netanyahu’s first government, which “multiplied illegal settlements” in the West Bank.
Ultimately, all blame is laid at Israel’s feet for the demise of the Oslo Accords.
However, this brief history of the Oslo era is overly simplistic and misleading in several ways.
First, it does not take into account the ongoing campaign of Palestinian terrorism, including suicide bombings, shootings, firebombs, and stabbings, which was aimed at derailing the Oslo peace process and inflicting severe damage against both Israeli security forces and civilians.
Second, contrary to Kuttab’s assertion, there was no mass proliferation of settlements in the West Bank and Gaza under the first Netanyahu government. In fact, as part of the Oslo process, there was a freeze on the establishment of new Israeli communities in these areas. This led to the development of outposts, small communities that are established without government approval.
Third, during his first tenure as prime minister, Netanyahu continued to engage in negotiations with the Palestinian Authority (PA), culminating in the signing of the Wye River Memorandum. Under this agreement, Israel ceded more territory to the control of the PA and agreed to release a large number of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for counter-terrorism efforts on the part of the PA.
Lastly, no mention is made of the 2000 Camp David summit, where Arafat walked away from negotiations with then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, and ultimately began planning the Second Intifada.
Shootings, Suicide Bombings & Stabbings: The Second Intifada
Unlike his portrayal of the First Intifada, Kuttab does not go into great detail about the Second Intifada.
However, what he does write about the Second Intifada is just as deceptive and misleading.
Kuttab states that in 2000:
Israeli prime minister candidate Ariel Sharon staged a deliberately provocative campaign visit to Al Aqsa Mosque. The Palestinian protests that followed were violently and fatally put down, and so began the second intifada, a recognition that negotiation and nonviolence had failed to end the occupation and create an independent Palestinian state.
In just one paragraph, Kuttab misleads his readers into believing several factual inaccuracies, including:
That Ariel Sharon visited the Al Aqsa Mosque. In fact, he never entered the mosque but walked around the Temple Mount complex, the holiest site in Judaism.
That the Palestinian response to Sharon’s visit was “protests” that were “violently and fatally put down.” In fact, the immediate response to the visit included the stoning of Jewish worshippers at the Western Wall and gun battles between Israeli forces and Palestinian gunmen.
That the Second Intifada was a grassroots response to the Sharon visit and subsequent Israeli violence. In fact, even Palestinian sources agree that it was planned ahead of time by the Palestinian leadership. Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount was just a convenient justification for the Palestinian leadership to put its plan into effect.
The reason why Kuttab’s description of the Second Intifada might be so sparse is that for many people, it is defined by a spate of suicide bombings, shootings, stabbings, stonings, and other attacks against both Israeli civilians and security forces.
Furthermore, many of these attacks were directed against restaurants, nightclubs, and Jewish religious gatherings in cities in pre-1967 Israel, including Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Netanya.
Thus, the Second Intifada belies Kuttab’s rosy image of an intifada as a righteous venture whose “target is not Jews but Israel’s illegal occupation.”
Daoud Kuttab is not the only person to recently gaslight Jews and Israelis about what an “intifada” is.
Both MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan and talking head Peter Beinart have recently claimed that calls for an intifada are not inherently violent and that an intifada is a legitimate form of “uprising” against Israel.
Imagine being a professor and not understanding the definition of the word ‘explicitly’.
You can believe that ‘intifada’ chants are calls for violence – they aren’t btw! – but what you can’t do is claim they are ‘explicit’ calls for violence when, *by definition*, they are not. https://t.co/0XiijMfOGD
— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) December 12, 2023
While there can be a discussion about whether a call to “globalize the intifada” is a call for the genocide of Jews (as was recently claimed in the US Congress) or whether the term “intifada” has other linguistic connotations, it is the height of gaslighting to try to argue that when calling for an “intifada” in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the word connotes anything other than the indiscriminate violence against Israeli civilians which plagued the First and Second Intifadas.
The post LA Times Op-Ed Gaslights Israelis & Jews on Intifada Violence first appeared on Algemeiner.com.
The detailed plans for a Canadian law that regulates hate speech online are seen as a ‘good start’ by Jewish groups
Jewish groups and others concerned about the rise of hate speech online welcomed the introduction of a new government bill on Feb. 26. And while the parliamentary process for it to become law is only beginning, it’s a good start according to advocacy groups who have called for the government to regulate certain types of […]
‘You Jew!’: UC Berkeley Mob Attacks Jews During Event With IDF Soldier, University Pledges Investigation
A mob of hundreds pro-Palestinian students and non-students shut down an event Monday evening at University of California-Berkeley featuring an Israeli soldier, forcing Jewish students to flee to a secret safe room as the protestors overwhelmed campus police
Footage of the incident shared by the outlet shows a serried mass of anti-Zionist agitators banging on the doors of the Zellerbach Library while an event featuring Israeli reservist Ran Bar-Yoshafat —who visited the university to discuss his military service during Hamas’ massacre across southern Israel on Oct. 7 — took place inside. The mob then stormed the building — breaking glass windows in the process, according reports in the Daily Wire — and forced school officials to evacuate Jewish students to a secret safe-room.
“What happened last night was deeply concerning and a violation of some of our most important rules and values as a university, including freedom of speech, respect for diversity, and the ties that bind us together as a community,” UC Berkeley assistant vice chancellor for communications and public affairs Dan Mogulof told The Algemeiner on Tuesday during a phone interview. “What we saw last night has no recent precedent. More than an estimated 200 protesters showed up at the venue and gained unauthorized entry into the building. There has never been anything like what occurred last night.”
Mogulof pledged that the university will launch an investigation into the incident.
“We do not and will not ignore violations of our rules and values,” he said. “When we have events like this, we always have two priorities. One, to do everything in our power so the event goes forward and the other is to do everything in our power to protect the safety and well being of our students and members of the public, and given the size of the crowd, and the violence of the crowd, we were unable to do both, even with 20 police officers. The event had to be cancelled, so that we could evacuate the building and support the safety of the students.”
During the infiltration of Zellerbach, one of the mob — which was assembled by Bears for Palestine, which had earlier proclaimed its intention to cancel the event — spit on a Jewish student and called him a “Jew,” pejoratively.
“You know what I was screamed at? ‘Jew, you Jew, you Jew,’ literally right to my face,” the student who was attacked said to a friend. “Some woman — then she spit at me.”
Shaya Keyvanfar, a student, told The Algemeiner that her sister was spit and that the incident was unlike any she had ever witnessed.
“Once the doors were closed, the protesters somehow found a side door and pushed it open, and a few of them managed to get in, and once they did, they tried to open the door for the rest of them,” Keyvanfar said. “It was really scary. They were pounding on the windows outside — they broke one — they spit at my sister and others. They called someone a dirty Jew. It was eerie.”
Keyvanfar added that it may be difficult to identify the culprits because anti-Zionists activists wear masks to conceal their identities.
Security concerns plagued the event all week, according to the Daily Wire, and after arriving on campus Bar-Yoshafat was required to conceal his identity. Prior to that, the location of the event was changed to various locations to prevent violence.
“I just felt really bad for these kids because they were scared,” Bar-Yoshafat told Daily Wire. “Girls were crying from being attacked, and I think the kid that was spat on was just so shocked. I don’t think the students anticipated so many people being violent, they thought they would just chant outside.”
During Tuesday’s interview with The Algemeiner Mogulof stressed that the university “understands now that we are in new territory” and called the incident a “black mark” on its reputation. He also explained that UC Berkeley launched an antisemitism awareness program in 2019, which included panels and talks with esteemed scholars of Jewish history such as Deborah Lipstadt, because it takes the issue of campus antisemitism seriously.
Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.
Prominent Pro-Hamas Activist in Australia Arrested on Kidnapping and Torture Charges
Australian police on Monday announced the arrest of a prominent pro-Hamas advocate accused of orchestrating the kidnapping and torture of a man whose perceived offense was to work for a Jewish employer.
Melbourne resident Laura Allam was charged with kidnapping, armed robbery, illegal detention, assault and battery against the 31-year-old man, who has not been named by authorities. Working with an accomplice who has also been arrested and charged with kidnapping, false imprisonment, armed robbery, threats to kill, intention to cause injury, recklessly causing injury, unlawful assault and assault with weapon, the 28-year-old Allam is understood to have targeted the man solely because his employer is Jewish.
According to a statement from police in the State of Victoria, the brutal assault occurred on the night of Feb. 16 in the Melbourne suburb of St. Albans. “It’s alleged a man was pulled from a car near the intersection of Gladstone and Cleveland streets about 9.30pm,” the statement noted. “He was then allegedly placed in another car and assaulted and robbed before being released in Braybrook.” The victim required extensive treatment in hospital for injuries sustained in the “horrific kidnapping and torture.”
Allam is a prominent member of Australia’s large Lebanese community and the CEO of the Al Jannah Foundation, which bills itself as an Islamic humanitarian organization. While Allam’s social media profiles specify that she is still running the organization, an entry on the Australian register of companies notes that the foundation ceased operations in July 2023, less than three years after it was formally incorporated. The foundation’s website additionally lists a number of projects that it is raising money for — including addressing food shortages in Lebanon and child health challenges — that apparently remain unfunded.
In the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas pogrom in southern Israel, Allam dedicated most of her time to attacking Israel on social media as well as spreading false information on her TikTok account, which had 20,000 followers before being closed down, as well as X/Twitter and Instagram. One post on Feb. 5 promoted the fabricated claim that a British Royal Navy warship dispatched to the Gulf to combat attacks on shipping by Houthi terrorists in Yemen had “broken down off the coasts of England.”
Her barbs against Israel on social media included a post that declared “good riddance” over an image of four Israeli soldiers killed while serving in Gaza. On Oct. 8 — the day after the Hamas pogrom which resulted in the murder of more than 1,200 people and the kidnapping of over 200 amid atrocities that included mass rape and bodily mutilation — Allam told her followers that she had “woken up to some great news from our beloved Palestine.” Other posts spoke of “a jihad of martyrdom or victory” and lauded attempts to “avenge the martyrs in Jenin and Gaza.”
Allam discussed her arrest in her final post on her Instagram account before it was closed down. Reproduced on the pro-Israel blog Israellycool, Allam’s post boasted of her “selflessness” and her commitment to “remaining quiet — for now,” going on to declare that “[T]here are words that burn the wildest flames in the deepest pits of my heart and will only ever be extinguished when Allah takes the ‘haqq’ (truth) from every single oppressor to walk this earth.”
“This seems to be an admission as to her involvement, yet amazingly no apology for her actions,” Israellycool observed in an accompanying commentary. “In fact, she speaks as if the incident somehow passively ‘occurred’ – as opposed to her actively doing something terrible.”
In its coverage of Allam’s arrest on Monday, Melbourne’s Herald Sun news outlet reported on “an extraordinary suppression order relating to her case prevents the Herald Sun from running Ms Allam’s image, referencing some ethnic groups or providing certain detail about her advocacy activities.” However, several posts on X/Twitter shared her photograph, her name and her other affiliations.
Allam made the news earlier this month after she spoke at a pro-Hamas protest at the Australian parliament in Canberra alongside three senators from the left-wing Green Party. Responding to the event, Sky News Australia host Andrew Bolt highlighted Allam’s Islamist loyalties, saying, “[T]hat’s one of the people now sharing a stage with the Greens. The Greens may not have known of Allam’s past, but this is who they find next to them in their gutter.”
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