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America's Terrorist Sympathizers
By Jack Elbaum
Here is a scary reality: there is a movement in America that is openly sympathetic for — and possibly even in support of — terrorism. This movement has long been on the fringes of American society, but it has gained traction in recent years, especially among progressives and on college campuses. You may ask: What movement supported by young people and progressives — people who purport to be staunchly opposed to violence, especially against civilians — could possibly be supportive of terrorism?
The answer: the radical anti-Israel movement.
In order to prove this, one could find evidence spanning back decades. But, it turns out that it is only necessary to look back over the past year. In that time, it has become more transparent than ever that the major anti-Israel groups in America — this includes groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace, BDS, and Within our Lifetime — simply use the language of human rights as window dressing for their much more sinister beliefs. In the long term, those beliefs include the dissolution of Israel and the creation of a State of Palestine “from the river to the sea.” In the short term, it means supporting Palestinian “resistance” against Israel, no matter the form.
Our story begins in May 2021, when Israel was in the midst of its worst bout of violence with Hamas — an internationally recognized terrorist organization that is in charge of the Gaza Strip — since 2014. Hamas launched over 4,000 rockets into Israeli population centers, while Israel responded by hitting military targets in Gaza. In the West, attitudes towards the violence were markedly different than they had been during the two parties’ previous conflicts. The number of people who believed that Israel was undoubtedly in the wrong had risen dramatically. This could be seen among celebrities, the media, politicians, and young people on social media. The general sense was that because Israel had more power — and was able to exercise more power — relative to their opponents, that signified something about the morality of the respective sides.
For many, this position was not explicitly ideologically motivated. Rather, it was the consequence of a combination of genuine concern for Palestinian human rights and a certain level of ignorance about what was actually occurring. With that said, much of this perception was created and driven by those who were explicitly ideologically motivated. These are the terrorist sympathizers — not those who have been duped into repeating their slogans.
Both during the May 2021 conflict — as well as in the months that followed — there was an uptick in anti-Israel rallies. This is not a problem in and of itself, as everyone is entitled to free speech. The reason why this is notable is that, at these rallies, the true beliefs, goals, and ideologies of the major anti-Israel groups in America — who were successfully shaping much of the narrative on social media about the conflict, and therefore persuading many otherwise uninterested observers of certain beliefs about Israel — became more transparent than they ever had before.
The key message at these rallies was simple: globalize the intifada. This message was scrawled across banners and chanted by crowds of people. The title of one of these rallies was even “Globalize the Intifada: Defend Palestine, Confront Zionism.” Chants at these rallies included “There is only one solution, intifada revolution,” “We don’t want no two states, we want all of it,” “Mobilize the intifada,” and “Resistance is justified when people are colonized.”
These types of rallies were organized and co-sponsored by a variety of organizations — all of which are considered mainstream players in the anti-Israel movement. There was one on June 11th, 2021 hosted by Decolonize This Place and Within our Lifetime — the latter of which says on their website that “We defend the right of Palestinians as colonized people to resist the zionist occupation by any means necessary.” Code Pink, Students for Justice in Palestine, and Jewish Voice for Peace have all cosponsored or organized such rallies as well. Jewish Voice for Peace — which claims that it favors self-determination for both Jews and Palestinians — shared a “L’chaim Intifada” poster last year, attempting to (maybe) make the idea seem like it is not incompatible with Judaism.
Okay, so it is clear that the ideologically-motivated and consistently involved parts of the anti-Israel movement are very much in favor of this concept of “globalize the intifada.” Therefore, the question must be asked: what does this actually mean? One possible answer came from the National Co-Director of Code Pink, Ariel Gold, who is on video calling for another intifada. She wrote that “it is to [peacefully] shake off oppression.” This, however, doesn’t seem to fall in line with the facts.
One need not speculate about what another intifada would look like if it came to fruition because we have a historical record to look back at. The second intifada lasted from September 2000 until February 2005. During that time, over 1,000 Israelis were killed in terrorist attacks. It included over 100 suicide bombings — which took place in coffee shops, busses, and pizza parlors as innocent Israelis simply went about their day — and countless stabbing and shooting attacks. The terrorism was not a peripheral aspect of the intifada, but rather the central feature.
Palestinian “resistance” continues today as well. Shortly after American anti-Israel groups called for another intifada, the people of Israel saw what that may look like in action. Over the past few weeks, 14 Israelis have been murdered in cold blood in shooting and stabbing attacks by Palestinian terrorists. Some who had previously pushed the idea of another intifada expressed their heartbreak despite the fact the attacks were simply their words in action. Others at least remained consistent, such as the founder of Within our Lifetime, who called the Tel Aviv shooter a “martyr.”
But, regardless of the reactions, there is nothing peaceful about an intifada. It is impossible to get around that fact. Therefore, when each and every major anti-Israel group in America openly call for one, they are openly calling for violence and terrorism. Even more troubling is when they add the phrase “globalize” to the slogan, quite clearly signaling that they do not wish for this violence to remain in Israel. Rather, they hope to spread across the globe. I cannot think of something more depraved.
Then again, these stances should not be surprising. After all, the founder of BDS, Omar Barghouti, has said that “[Palestinians have a right to] resistance by any means, including armed resistance” and groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace hold events with Palestinian terrorists such as Leila Khaled — who hijacked a plane in 1969 and attempted to do it again the next year. At this point, sympathy and/or outright support for terrorism is par for the course.
It is entirely possible to be opposed to most actions of Israel without supporting terrorism. Plenty of people have successfully done just that. However, a deeply-held ideology which posits that Israel is, and always will be, inherently illegitimate lends itself quite nicely to a belief in violent “resistance.” It is this belief that can lead a prominent anti-Israel activist to say, when asked about what will happen to Israelis when Palestine is “liberated” from the river to the sea, that “I don’t care. I truly, sincerely, don’t give a f—.” That is not an ideology of human rights, but one of destruction — and I don’t think enough people realize it. In the Israel debate, it is not about one side that cares about Palestinian human rights versus one side that doesn’t. Rather, it is about one side that would like to live in peace with its neighbor versus another which will not stop their violence until its neighbor somehow disappears. Therefore, it is necessary to clarify what certain groups truly believe — and just how at odds their beliefs are with a traditional understanding of human rights.
So, to put it bluntly: we have terrorist sympathizers in America. They are on our college campuses and gaining influence in progressive politics, all while dishonestly purporting to defend human rights. It’s past time that we simply say it like it is.
Jack Elbaum is the D.C. Programming Director for New Zionist Congress. You can contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @Jack_Elbaum.
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