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America’s Mainstreaming of Hamas, Antisemitism, and Terror

Filed under: Antisemitism, Hamas, Operation Swords of Iron, Terrorism, U.S. Policy

America’s Mainstreaming of Hamas, Antisemitism, and Terror

This article originally appeared in the Jerusalem Post on Jan. 2, 2024.

We are currently witnessing what many would not have believed to be a possible scenario until October 7, 2023: the mainstreaming of Hamas in the United States. Thousands of protesters across American cities and more than 200 university campuses have been calling to destroy the small democratic Jewish majority state instead of advocating for a peaceful Palestinian one alongside Israel.

Pro-ISIS, pro-Hamas protesters are demonstrating for “resistance” against the Israeli “oppressor,” which they have branded an apartheid, Nazi genocidal state that should be destroyed. And to be clear, since the October 7 massacre, tens of thousands of American university students, faculty, and supporters have been chanting, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” a call for genocide and politicide to replace the only Jewish-majority democratic nation-state with the 23rd Muslim Arab majority one.

This public, proud, and demonstrative call for genocide against the Jewish people living in Israel is not self-evident. Since 1993 and the launch of the Oslo Peace Accords, the Western discourse was primarily defined by an internationally-witnessed and guaranteed peace process designed to establish an independent Palestinian entity – an independent government, security forces, and international diplomats in more than 100 countries.

But what has become clear over the past 30 years of the Oslo process is that the Palestinian Authority (PA) and its leaders, Yasser Arafat and, subsequently, Mahmoud Abbas, have created and amplified a narrative of jihad (holy war) and Nazi and Soviet conspiracy theories against Jews, not merely Israel. Furthermore, the PA’s policy of paying incentive annuities for murdering Israelis has, over the past three decades, fashioned a generation and a half of Palestinian youth who have become radicalized and ready to commit murder for money and sacrifice themselves as shahids (martyrs).

The malicious Students for Justice in Palestine

Students for Justice in Palestine, a Hamas-linked group, was founded by a Hamas political refugee, Professor Hatem Bazian from the University of California, Berkeley, who now heads the Zaytuna Islamic College. Bazian had chaired the organization American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), which was a primary funder of SJP since AMP’s founding in 2005.

SJP is no grassroots student organization. That has become clear since the October 7 Hamas atrocities. Aside from the “river to the sea” incantation heard across nearly 200 campuses, it is today quoting or echoing slogans and rhetoric from the 1988 Hamas Charter and Hamas leaders.

Years of genocidal rhetoric on university campuses have now come full circle to hunt and to haunt US Jewry. Both official Israel, Israeli NGOs, and the diaspora Jewish leadership have failed to counter decades of a massive campaign to vilify, delegitimize, and dehumanize Israel. Many in the pro-Israel community justified and legitimized this Israel-erasure campaign, characterizing its rhetoric as simply legitimate political criticism.

October 7 provides the context and the evidence for the convergence of this discourse of Israel’s destruction together with the eradication of Israelis and Jews wherever they live. Jihad’s genocidal rhetoric is not limited to Israel. It knows no boundaries. Those listening carefully to Hamas leaders may have heard the intention to commit the October 7 mass murder “again and again.”

Ghazi Hamad, a member of the Hamas political bureau, said: “The Al-Aqsa Flood is just the first time, and there will be a second, a third, a fourth.” Another senior Hamas official, Mahmoud al-Zahar, has threatened to target Jews “wherever they are.” Hamas’s rhetorical attacks have already spilled over into the United States and other Western countries, where pro-Israel and Jewish facilities and communities are now targets.

Hamas’s Nazification of Israel and the Jews should be taken seriously. This extremist ideology is inciting violence against Jews and Jewish institutions across North America today. Hamas’s Nazi discourse today is rooted in 50 years of these accusations against Israel.

Yasser Arafat’s infamous 1974 speech at the UN accusing Israel of being a racist and illegitimate state, his “gun-and-holster” speech was followed by the notorious 1975 UNGA “Zionism is Racism” Resolution 3379, which remained on the UN’s books for 16 years. The Israel-apartheid libel was carried forward to the UN-sanctioned 2001 Durban I Conference that recast Israel as a racist, genocidal war criminal state to be eliminated from the community of nations.

Much of Diaspora Jewish leadership failed to grasp the gravity of these deadly accusations and the implication for the massive outbreak of antisemitism and violence against Jews that we are witnessing today across the United States.

In the aftermath of the October 7 massacre, Israel and diaspora Jewry are both targeted for elimination. We are on the same side of the coin, as Israel’s Special Envoy for Combating Antisemitism, Michal Cotler-Wunsh, said recently during a JCPA briefing.

Now is the time for action. The 300,000-person march on Washington in November 2023, was a good start. Now Israel must take the lead in showing the October 7 atrocities video to every Jewish community across North America to expose precisely why Israel is determined to take every measure necessary to return its hostages and eliminate Hamas.

Now is the time for unity. Israel must now work with US federal and local officials to shutter every one of SJP’s campus chapters while enforcing Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. This initiative must be maximized by a massive media campaign in the US exposing the terrorist roots of this jihadist-backed and supported organization that constitutes one of the greatest threats to the young generation of Jews since the Nazi era.