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Palestinian ‘Resistance’ Groups Don’t Just Target Israelis

The bodies of people, some of them elderly, lie on a street after they were killed during a mass-infiltration by Hamas gunmen from the Gaza Strip, in Sderot, southern Israel, Oct. 7, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Ammar Awad

Hamas and its allies in the media, Congress, and especially in academia have saturated the nation with propaganda meant to sway the “hearts and minds” of Americans against Israel. They appear to be winning. The proliferation of anti-Israel protests across the nation since October 7, attests to the failure of the American educational system and the success of the “Palestine” lobby.

At the forefront of Hamas’ propaganda victories are legions of uninformed college students, aided by professional agitators and biased media figures. Shutting down roads, bridges, and airports with seeming impunity, they have made it impossible for even people with no interest in politics to avoid the war in Gaza.

Anti-Israel propaganda depends on ignorance. Students chanting “From the river to the sea” can’t identify either the river or the sea in question. Few have even heard about UN Resolution 181, and fewer still know how a piece of territory roughly the size of New Jersey came to be known as “Palestine.” They have been misled into believing “a truth” far removed from truth.

To counter the assault of anti-Israel propaganda on the streets of American cities and on American college campuses, the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) introduces a new series aimed at debunking the ubiquitous “pro-Palestine” claims. This one is about the subject of occupation.

Hamas is the enemy of both Israel and the US. While Israel fights the military battle to destroy our common enemy, the least Americans can do is fight the propaganda battle at home.

With their chants and banners, anti-Israel protesters minimize Hamas atrocities by claiming it is a “resistance group” engaged in a “liberation struggle.”

The National Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) released a “Day of Resistance Toolkit” one day after the October 7 pogrom, praising the “historic win for the Palestinian resistance” and urging campus chapters to participate in a “national day of resistance.” It advised them to “ground our campuses and communities in a narrative which centers the legitimacy of resistance,” and to frame the massacre of civilians as a “natural and justified response to decades of oppression.”

But Hamas is not a resistance group. Legitimate resistance groups don’t butcher infants, abduct grandmothers, or brand children. They don’t send storm troopers to prey on children and elderly civilians. They don’t use rape as a tactic to desecrate their victims and satisfy their violent sexual desires. They don’t defile corpses or kill family pets. Any group that does so crosses the line from “resistance” to “terrorism.” Hamas’s feral humans did these things, bragged about doing so, to their mothers even, and made videos of themselves doing so. And they promise to do it again.

According to International law, non-state “resistance” groups must “ensure respect for the [Geneva] Convention in all circumstances.” To be considered a legitimate “resistance” group, they must always be “in compliance with the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict.” But Hamas defies all the rules of war, as do all the other Palestinian organizations that hide behind the “resistance” label.

Hamas is a terrorist group and is designated so by many countries, including the US, Canada, Australia, Paraguay, Japan, the European Union (comprising 27 nations), and of course Israel.

Jordan banned Hamas in 1999. In 2017, Saudia Arabia’s foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir rejected Hamas’ claim to the term “resistance” and called it a “terrorist organization.” Not only has the United Arab Emirates designated Hamas a terrorist organization, but, in 2021, it chastised all nations that have not done so. The UAE’s foreign minister, Abdullah bin Zayed, called it “unfortunate that some countries do not act more clearly in classifying … Hamas, Hezbollah or the Muslim Brotherhood” as terrorist organizations.

Another false claim is that the “Palestinian resistance” targets Israel only. The Americans killed on October 7 and those taken hostage back to Gaza, so goes the argument, weren’t targeted as Americans per se, but were simply at the wrong place at the wrong time and were mistaken for Israelis. Noura Erakat, an associate professor at Rutgers University who calls Hamas “a nascent sovereign of the Palestinian people,” also claims that it “has only targeted Israel.”

Does anyone believe that the 32 Americans murdered on October 7 didn’t identify themselves as Americans to their executioners? And if the Americans kidnapped by Palestinians and held hostage in Gaza were initially mistaken for Israelis, Hamas soon learned that they were American and yet continued to hold them.

Various members and factions of the “Palestinian resistance” have been deliberately targeting Americans for decades, long before Hamas was founded. In 1968, Palestinian nationalist Sirhan Sirhan assassinated Robert F. Kennedy because of his support for Israel. In 1973, Yasser Arafat of the PLO — the allegedly secular half of the “Palestinian resistance” — ordered the execution of US ambassador to Sudan, Cleo Noel, and Chargé d’Affaires, George Moore, after they were taken captive at a party in the Saudi Arabian embassy in Khartoum, Sudan.

In addition to killing Americans who were mistaken for Israelis, Hamas is also responsible for killing Americans because they were Americans.

On October 15, 2003, Americans in Gaza were targeted with a massive bomb buried under a road at the Beit Hanoun junction. The bomb was detonated remotely as a convoy of SUVs easily-recognized as US State Department vehicles drove over it. Palestinian police arrested three members of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) for the bombing. They were identified as residents of the Jebaliya Refugee Camp (a Hamas stronghold). According to the Israeli government, the PRC is “supported, subsidized and trained by the Hamas terrorist organization.”

What was a convoy of State Department SUVs doing in the Gaza Strip in October 2003? The answer should sicken every American. They were interviewing Palestinian students for Fulbright Scholarships. That’s right. US taxpayers paid for diplomats to travel to the heart of Hamas-land in order to dispense more tax dollars to subsidize Palestinian students, offering them a free college education.

Three Americans serving on the security detail of those diplomats were killed in that attack. As the State Department spokesman in 2003, Richard Boucher, put it, “We have employees on contract, in this case from DynCorp, who help supplement our security resources.”

John Eric Branchizio from San Antonio, Texas, was a 9-year veteran of the Navy Seals. He was the oldest of those killed by Hamas, having turned 37 years old two days before the attack.

Mark Thaddeus Parsons from Yonkers, New York, was 31 years old.

John Martin Linde Jr. from Missouri was the youngest killed, only 30 years old. He served 10 years in the US Marine Corps and retired at the rank of Sergeant.

President George W. Bush issued a press release on October 15, 2003, condemning the attack and explaining the circumstances.

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
October 15, 2003

President Condemns Terrorist Act in Gaza Wednesday

I condemn in the strongest terms the vicious act of terrorism directed against Americans in Gaza today. We are working closely with the appropriate officials to bring the terrorists to justice.

Palestinian authorities should have acted long ago to fight terror in all its forms. The failure to create effective Palestinian security forces dedicated to fighting terror continues to cost lives. There must be an empowered prime minister who controls all Palestinian security forces, reforms that continue to be blocked by Yasser Arafat. The failure to undertake these reforms and dismantle the terrorist organizations constitutes the greatest obstacle to achieving the Palestinian people’s dream of statehood.

The Americans who were attacked today were pursuing a vision for a better future for the Palestinian people. The U.S. embassy officials traveling in Gaza were there to interview young Palestinian candidates seeking Fulbright scholarships to study in the United States. This is another example of how the terrorists are enemies of progress and opportunity for the Palestinian people.

On behalf of the American people, I send my heartfelt condolences to the families of the brave Americans who were killed and injured serving our country and its ideals.

Bush’s statement left out some details, such as the fact that when American investigators arrived at the scene, rock-throwing Palestinian “youths” — perhaps some of the same youths the diplomats risked their lives to interview — forced them to retreat and wait for military back-up.

So the next time someone says that the “Palestinian resistance only targets Israelis,” explain the difference between a resistance group and a terrorist group. Then remind them who killed Robert F. Kennedy, Cleo Noel, George Moore, John Branchizio, Mark Parsons, and John Linde.

IPT Senior Fellow A.J. Caschetta is a principal lecturer at the Rochester Institute of Technology and a fellow at Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum where he is also a Ginsberg-Milstein fellow.

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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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