Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.
“Why Is Georgetown Providing a Platform for This Dangerous Group?” an op-ed in the Washington Post had asked.
The group was the Palestine Solidarity Movement, a BDS anti-Israel hate group whose conferences had a history of antisemitism, supporting Hamas and the murder of Jews.
Maher Bitar, one of the executive board members of Students for Justice in Palestine, was one of the principal organizers of the 2006 conference which was being hosted by Georgetown University’s SJP hate group. A photo appears to show him dancing in a keffiyah in front of a banner reading, “Divest from Israel Apartheid”.
Despite protests from Jewish groups, the Georgetown BDS conference went ahead
Now, Biden has picked Maher Bitar as the Senior Director for Intelligence on the NSC.
In 2006, the American Jewish Committee was pleading with Georgetown to distance itself from the anti-Israel hate of PSM and SJP. Now the anti-Israel hate occupies the top of the foreign policy establishment and is set to define the foreign policy of the Biden administration.
In his new position, the former anti-Israel activist will coordinate intelligence between the White House and the intelligence community, receiving material from intelligence agencies, informing the intelligence community of White House policy, and deciding who gets access to secret information. The office also contains some of the most classified information around.
The job of Senior Director for Intelligence at the National Security Council is supposed to go to an intelligence professional. How did an anti-Israel activist go from helping host a conference for an organization whose speakers have supported Islamic terrorism to a top intelligence job?
At the PSM conference in Georgetown, Bitar had run a sessiondescribing how to best demonize Israel. Next year, he facilitated a Palestinian Student Society summit addressed by Joseph Massad who had called Israel a “Jewish supremacist state” and praised terrorism.
Massad had also argued that the idea that “any manifestation of hatred against Jews in any geographic location on Earth and in any historical period is ‘anti-Semitism’ smacks of a gross misunderstanding of the European history of anti-Semitism.”
A few years later, Bitar could be found presenting at a Sabeel conference featuring some of the worst bigots like Rebecca Vilkomerson of JVP ,who had invited a terrorist to address the BDS hate group, and Richard Falk, who had endorsed a book which wondered whether “Hitler might have been right after all”.
Maher Bitar went to work for UNRWA, interned at the misnamed and militantly anti-Israel
Foundation for Middle East Peace, and and studied at Oxford’s Refugee Studies Centre, writing papers on the so-called ‘Nakba’ and on ‘Palestinian’ activism. He appeared to describe Israel’s security barrier as a “segregation wall”
Israel’s “political existence as a state is the cause for Palestinian dispossession and statelessness,” Bitar wrote in one paper. “Israel’s rejection of their right to return remains the main obstacle to finding a durable solution.”
The so-called ‘right to return’ would mean the destruction of Israel.
He helped assemble a BADIL publication: a BDS hate group which seeks to eliminate Israel through the ‘right of return’ and which has opposed bans on working with terrorists.
The issue in question denounced “Jewish colonization”
And yet before long, Bitar could be found working for the Office of the Special Envoy for Middle East Peace. From there he went on to serve as the NSC’s Director for Israeli and Palestinian Affairs and as Samantha Power’s Deputy at the UN. In under a decade, Bitar had gone from anti-Israel activism through the private network of BDS organizations to key positions shaping American intelligence and foreign policy at the National Security Council and the UN.
Even while Bitar was engaged in anti-Israel activism, he was also volunteering for the Obama campaign, and working for the UN. He started working for the State Department’s Office of the Special Envoy for Middle East Peace as an extern while studying for his JD at Georgetown.
In 2016, Bitar came back to Georgetown to tell students that “those of you who might feel conflicted about or even disagree with American policy and want to change it” could do it.
When President Trump was elected, Bitar became the general counsel to House Intelligence Committee Democrats, serving as the top legal adviser to Rep. Adam Schiff and playing a key role in the first Democrat attempt to impeach President Trump. Now he’s back at the NSC.
Bitar’s rise through the ranks speaks to the abandonment of Israel by the Democrats and the ineptitude of pro-Israel advocates at fighting the personnel battles that define the government.
During the Obama administration, organizations that claimed to be advocating for Israel would come out to D.C. and take pride in receiving a personal briefing from Bitar about Israel’s security without having a clue about who Bitar was or how hard he must have been laughing at them.
Policy battles aren’t won at the executive level, but at the personnel level. The Left keeps winning policy battles even when moderates and conservatives win elections because it understands that having its people in a position to make policy matters more than elections.
Obama had put the author of “Ethnic Cleansing and the Falling Apart of Palestinian Society” in charge of the NSC desk on Israel. Biden put him in charge of NSC intelligence.
Israel will accordingly return to its old Obama understanding that it can no longer share the truly sensitive intelligence with its American counterparts because the NSC is once again tainted.
But the tainting of the NSC has larger implications that go far beyond Israel.
The Obama administration initially began spying on members of Congress who were speaking to Prime Minister Netanyahu after monitoring any effort to take out Iran’s nuclear program.
Pro-Israel legislators should once again expect to be spied on by the Biden administration.
The NSC was a key gateway for Obama’s surveillance of opposition politicians. Putting the right people in place at the NSC will be crucial to protecting the next wave of illegal surveillance.
And any effort by Israel to take out Iran’s nuclear program with its new Arab allies will be closely monitored and sabotaged by the Obama veterans who are back in charge of the NSC.
At the 2006 Georgetown anti-Israel conference, Bitar was advising attendees on how to infiltrate and blend in. Now that he has reached a career pinnacle at the NSC, he had the honor of being profiled by Politico as a “Palestinian”. But earlier versions of Bitar’s story had him being “of Palestinian and Egyptian descent” and claiming “family roots [that] trace back to Palestine”.
Bitar claimed that his family were “refugees”.
At the PSS summit, he described the group as those “who actively identify as Palestinian because of a shared national, historical, and cultural experience”.
The dirty little secret of the ‘Palestinian’ myth is that its identity is imaginary.
The radicalism of the Democrats and their abandonment of the Jewish State however are all too real. That’s how Maher Bitar went from anti-Israel activism, from calling for the destruction of Israel, to the Israel desk at the NSC, and then the top policy intelligence position at the NSC.
“Why Is Georgetown Providing a Platform for This Dangerous Group?” a Washington Post op-ed had asked in 2006. The question now is why are Joe Biden and the Democrats?
And what do pro-Israel groups intend to do about it?