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Palestinian Authority Leaders Deny October 7 Massacre Took Place

The personal belongings of festival-goers are seen at the site of an attack on the Nova Festival by Hamas gunmen from Gaza, near Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip, in southern Israel. Photo: Reuters/Ronen Zvulun

Two months after Hamas’ attack on Israel on Oct. 7 and the murders, beheadings, and rapes — which Hamas terrorists themselves documented with body cameras and broadcast on social media  — Palestinian Authority (PA) officials are denying this took place.

In addition to denying the massacre as “stories and tales spun from the imagination” — some officials even accuse Israel of murdering and committing atrocities against its own citizens.

Qadura Fares, the director of PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs with the rank of minister. has stated that Israel’s response to eradicate Hamas’ terror infrastructure in Gaza is “based on a lie,” and that Israelis “killed their civilians” on Oct. 7:

Qadura Fares: “This whole [Israeli] outcry and this whole campaign against the Palestinian people is based on a lie, which it took Israel 24 hours to create and formulate properly. They killed their [own] civilians [on Oct. 7], and they committed all these crimes and burned the bodies, and they made up this story and said: ‘They [the Palestinians] raped, killed, and burned.’ …However, this narrative fell apart quickly … Israel’s lie is no longer tripping anyone up.”

[Official PA TV, Nov. 20, 2023]

Right from the beginning the PA denied the atrocities committed by Hamas in southern Israel, claiming beheaded babies and rape were Israel’s “narrative,” “fabrications,” and “stories and tales spun from the imagination”:

Official PA TV reporter: “From the first day of the [Israeli] attack, some Western media outlets deliberately took action to side with Israel and adopt the occupation’s narrative by broadcasting fabricated pictures and video clips, which tell stories and tales spun from the imagination that there are Israeli babies who were beheaded, and others about cases of rape and burning among captured women.” [emphasis added]

[Official PA TV, Oct. 31, 2023]

Despite the abundance of documentation of Hamas’ atrocities, two months later PLO official and Secretary-General of the terror organization Palestine Liberation Front Wasel Abu Yusuf still denies “murder of children” and “rape of women” as “tendentious Israeli propaganda”:

PLO Executive Committee member and PLF Secretary-General Wasel Abu Yusuf: “Since Oct. 7 there has been a Zionist version that [Israel] has attempted to spread worldwide out of tendentious propaganda, [claiming] that there was murder of children, rape of women, crimes, and the like.”

[Official PA TV, Topic of the Day, Dec. 3, 2023]

Palestinian Media Watch already exposed that the PA Ministry of Foreign Affairs published a similar libel, claiming it was Israeli army helicopters that intentionally bombed young Israelis at the music festival and destroyed the “settlements” in southern Israel on Oct. 7.

Another PA official, who has been very vocal about his and the PA’s support for Hamas and its war against Israel is PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ advisor Mahmoud Al-Habbash. After two months and a wealth of documentation of Hamas’ brutality against Israeli victims on Oct. 7, he too claims that it is all “lies, falsehoods, and fabrications”:

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ Advisor on Religious Affairs and Islamic Relations Mahmoud Al-Habbash: “They [the Israelis] have spread lies, falsehoods, and fabrications regarding what happened on Oct. 7, and therefore the world turned against the Palestinians.”

[Facebook page, Dec. 5, 2023]

Al-Habbash has also referred to facts about Oct. 7 as “the narrative that Israel was a victim on Oct. 7 to aggression, to an attack” — claiming this was “an incorrect picture” and that the world had fallen “victim to Israeli deceit and deceit by the lobbies that support Israel in the world.” [Al-Habbash’s Facebook page, Nov. 27, 2023]

Four days after the terror attack, Hamas itself claimed it was “not targeting children” and that Western media had spread “fabricated claims” and “adopted the Zionist version” — despite Hamas terrorists’ own published footage of the atrocities committed.

Hamas even pretended that the numerous civilian victims were “Zionist military and security establishment” and therefore “legitimate targets”:

“The Hamas Movement firmly emphasized ‘the falsehood of the fabricated claims being spread by a number of Western media outlets.’

[Hamas] said that the Western media outlets ‘are unprofessionally adopting the Zionist version that is full of fabrications and lies against our Palestinian people and its resistance, the latest of which was the claim of murdering children, beheading them, and targeting civilians…

Hamas emphasized that the Palestinian resistance and the [Izz A-Din] Al-Qassam Brigades [i.e., Hamas’ military wing] took action against the Zionist military and security establishment in ‘the Al-Aqsa Flood’ battle [Hamas’ name for its terror war against Israel], and that these are legitimate targets. It also said that at the same time they made efforts to avoid [harming] civilians, and many videos from the ground are witness to this, and many settlers [sic.] spoke about this in filmed testimonies in the media outlets.”

[Donia Al-Watan, independent Palestinian news agency, Oct. 11, 2023]

A different but equally outrageous accusation regarding Israel’s treatment of the invading terrorist murderers was voiced by a Palestinian NGO that claims to defend human rights, which is designated in Israel as a terror organization due to its ties to the PFLP. Al-Haq accused Israel of “summarily executing” the Oct. 7 terrorists, murderers, rapists, and kidnappers.

 The author is a senior analyst at Palestinian Media Watch, where a version of this article was originally published.

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South Dakota Passes Bill Adopting IHRA Definition of Antisemitism

Gov. Kristi Noem (R) speaking to legislators during the State of the State address on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024 at South Dakota State Captiol in Pierre. Photo: Samantha Laurey and Argus Leader via REUTERS CONNECT

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

Anti-Israel students protest at Columbia University in New York City. Photo: Reuters/Jeenah Moon

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

Graphic posted by University of California, Los Angeles Students for Justice in Palestine on February 21, 2024 to celebrate the student government’s passing an resolution endorsing the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement. Photo: Screenshot/Instagram

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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