Pro-Palestinian group pushing phony agenda on campusby Sam Levine
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To appeal to students on campus, the Students for Justice in Palestine is desperately trying to rebrand the image of Palestinian Arabs into a group on the front lines of the fight for liberal ideals and racial harmony.
The theme of the SJP national conference at Stanford next week is “From Margin to Center: Connecting Struggles, Forging a National Movement.” According to the website promoting the event, “The struggle for Palestinian liberation is deeply intertwined with the fight against patriarchy (sexism, homophobia, cissexism, ableism), racism, and capitalism…”
Considering the culture that is cultivated in Palestinian society, and what a Palestinian state would entail, this cynical rebranding effort, designed to appeal to impressionable, idealistic students on campus, must be exposed for what it is: a fraud.
Unfortunately, Hamas and Fatah promote racism, hatred and violence toward Jews, as well as cruelty toward gay people. Therefore, the idea that Palestinian Arabs’ “struggle” with Israel is part of a broader struggle for civil rights across the globe is absurd.
Hundreds of gay Palestinian Arabs have actually fled to Israel because of fear for their lives due to their sexual orientation. According to a Palestinian Arab gay man: “It’s very tough being gay or bisexual [in the Palestinian territories] because Arab behavior is still dominated by Islamic tradition, where it is forbidden … I have one friend in his early 20s who was beaten by his family when they discovered he was gay, and forced to marry.”
According to Aswat, a group of Palestinian Arab gay women, Palestinian Arab culture “has no mercy for sexual diversity and/or any expression of ‘otherness’ away from the societal norms and the assigned roles that were formed for women.” How then can the SJP claim to be an advocate for gays, when so many gays in Palestinian society are treated with utter contempt?
With regard to racism, many Arab leaders, including Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, have stated that not a single Jew will be allowed to live in a future Palestinian state. This is the epitome of racism. Furthermore, the first law enacted by the Palestinian Authority after its creation in 1994 was to outlaw the selling of land to Jews. According to journalist Caroline Glick, “Shortly thereafter scores of Arab land sellers began turning up dead in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria in both judicial and extrajudicial killings,”because of selling land to Jews.
Racism in Palestinian Arab society is also evident by the frequent incitement of hate and violence against Jews. Official Palestinian media slander Israel with vicious lies, accusing it of poisoning Palestinian youth with drugs. In addition, the Palestinian Authority honors Jew killers, naming schools, streets and sports teams after terrorists. It recently named a soccer tournament after Abd Al-Baset Udeh, the terrorist who killed 30 Jews at a Passover seder.
Hamas — the elected representatives of the Palestinians in Gaza — has the genocide of Jews enshrined in its charter. How then can the SJP claim solidarity with the fight against racism, when the authority figures in Palestinian society unabashedly promote racism?
With regard to women’s rights, misogyny in Palestinian society is a serious problem. According to Aswat, “The Palestinian woman has no right to choose an identity other than the one enforced on her by the male figures in her family and surroundings.” Furthermore, “honor killings” against females are prevalent in Palestinian society, as they are in the rest of the Muslim world. According to a Palestinian human rights group, between 2007 and 2010, 29 Palestinian Arab women were victims of “honor killings.” A feminist dream come true? Hardly.
The pro-Israel community must make sure that naive American college students are not brainwashed by clever marketing and outright lies. If students are really interested in supporting an advanced, liberal democracy, then support for Israel — not the Palestinians — is the natural fit.
With regard to the treatment of gays, as mentioned above, hundreds of gay Palestinian Arab men have escaped to Israel, where they are treated with dignity.
Regarding racism, Israel is the only truly inclusive country in the Middle East. Arabs constitute 10 percent of the Israeli parliament, and one sits on the Israeli Supreme Court. Israeli universities are filled with Arab students, and the only place where Arabs have freedom of speech and association is in Israel. Now, contrast this with a potential Palestinian state that will not include a single Jew.
Regarding sexism, the gulf between Israel and its Arab neighbors on women’s rights is enormous.
Students must understand that the creation of a Palestinian state would only serve to advance the illiberal culture that is already present in Palestinian society. Students, don’t be fooled.
Sam Levine is the executive director of the Western region of the Zionist Organization of America.
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