Originally published by the Jerusalem Post.
Last Thursday, yet again, we learned that pro-Palestinian activists couldn’t care less about Palestinians.
For them, the Palestinians whose rights they claim to champion are nothing more than means to another end.
Our latest lesson came from the University of Chicago.
Last week, Palestinian human rights activist Bassam Eid was abused and threatened by supposedly pro-Palestinian and pro-peace activists as he tried to inform his audience about the state of Palestinian human rights today.
Bassam Eid has dedicated his life to defending the human rights of the Palestinians. From 1967 through 1994, Israel administered the population centers of Judea, Samaria and Gaza. From 1994, with the establishment of the Palestinian Authority until today, the Palestinians have been ruled by the PLO and Hamas.
As a human rights activist, until 1994, Eid directed most of his criticisms against Israel. Since then, Eid has defended Palestinian human rights from abuse at the hands of the PLO and Hamas.
Until 1994, Eid’s human rights activism made him the darling of the far Left. He was a co-director of B’tselem. He was invited to prestigious anti-Israel forums worldwide and given platforms where he presented his accusations against Israel to international acclaim.
But since the PA was formed, those who once upheld him as a hero have turned their backs on him. In so doing, they have shown their true colors.
During his talk at the University of Chicago, those colors came shining through.
Eid talked about the human rights abuses and repression of Palestinians not at the hands of Israel, but at the hands of the PA and Hamas. In other words, Eid held the Palestinian leadership accountable for its failure to respect the rights of the Palestinians it claims to speak for.
This, it turns out, is a big no-no.
Eid was attacked by two distinct groups for daring to hold the Palestinian leadership accountable for its abuses of Palestinian human rights. In their collusion, we see the truth about those who proclaim their commitment to “justice for the Palestinians” on the one hand, and those who proclaim their devotion to “peace” on the other hand.
The first group to attack him was Students for Justice in Palestine. In leading the assault on Eid, SJP members interrupted him, threatened him and demonized him.
“You must never again speak about the Palestinians!,” some yelled in English at a man who has devoted his life to defending Palestinian rights.
In the meantime, other SJP members reportedly threatened Eid in Arabic with physical violence.
While revolting, the SJP activists’ behavior was not in the least surprising. Indeed, it was eminently predictable.
All the SJP goons did was implement their hate group’s official tactics and strategy guidelines.
In October 2014, the Amcha Initiative, which documents anti-Jewish campaigns on US university campuses, published an internal SJP document from SUNY Binghamton. The document, titled, “Declaration of Principles and Strategies of Binghamton University Students for Justice in Palestine,” laid out SJP’s goals and tactics and strategies for action.
SJP’s goal is to demonize Israel and anyone who dares to stand up for Israel or support the Jewish state even tangentially.
SJP accomplishes this goal by among other things pushing for a boycott of Israel and blackballing all groups that support Israel. Indeed, not only does SJP rule out cooperating with pro-Israel groups, it rejects cooperation with campus groups that cooperate with pro-Israel groups. That is, anyone who accepts that students have a right to support Israel is himself illegitimate.
To make it impossible to defend Israel on campuses, SJP seeks to make any student who in any way supports Israel socially toxic for his fellow students.
In other words, SJP’s goal is to treat Israel’s campus supporters as subhuman.
As to its direct actions against pro-Israel speakers – or in Eid’s case, speakers that do not direct their attacks solely against Israel – the SJP SUNY Binghamton document instructs SJP members to disrupt and shut down such events on campus. Among other things, this goal is to be achieved through “political theater to protest the event,” as well as acts of “disruption.”
SJP members at the University of Chicago, like their comrades who rioted and shut down former Shin Bet director Ami Ayalon’s speech at King’s College in London last month, and those that rioted in Chicago last month against a Shabbat reception held by an American Jewish-Israeli gay rights group at the National LGBTQ Task Force’ annual convention showed through their actions that they couldn’t care less about the Palestinians as people.
And again, this apathy is inherent to their movement.
The internal document from SUNY Binghamton makes clear that SJP doesn’t have a vision for Palestinian freedom. Rather, SJP will “support any and all visions of Palestinian liberation.”
In other words, if “Palestine” is ultimately a liberal democracy or an Islamic theocracy is none of their business. Whether Palestinians end up with no rights, or full civil rights, is completely irrelevant.
SJP is about one thing only – demonizing Israel and booting its supporters out of the public square.
This then brings us their Jewish collaborators.
Eid’s speech was abruptly adjourned after he was threatened by an SJP member during the question and answer session. But before it was adjourned, two self-identified Jews, one of whom introduced herself as a member of J Street Chicago – the University of Chicago branch of J Street – contributed to the hostile atmosphere by asking Eid the same question.
Emma from J Street put it this way, “I hear from you... a lot of disappointment in your own leadership.
I’m wondering what are you doing bringing this message to a room full of Americans, many of us Jews?” Emma from J Street continued, “Why do you think it is an important message to bring to us in particular...
without sort of talking about the issues that the Americans need to base decision [on] like the occupation and settlements?” Got that? For J Street, Eid committed a crime by teaching the American public – and first and foremost, the American Jewish community – that the absence of peace isn’t entirely Israel’s fault.
As Emma – and her Jewish comrade – see things this is completely unacceptable.
There is a narrative. That narrative places all the blame for the absence of peace and Palestinian suffering on “the occupation and settlements.” Any deviation from this narrative is a crime against peace.
Eid explained that for 68 years, the Palestinians have blamed Israel for all their suffering. He insisted that the time has come for the Palestinians to take responsibility for their actions and stop shirking that responsibility by blaming Israel for their own crimes.
For forcing her to hear this calumny, Emma from J Street had no choice but to condemn him for the crime of deviating from the narrative.
The final questioner, or protesters, as the case may be, failed to cite his affiliation. But he brought the two sides together.
He demanded that Eid justify his decision to speak publicly about the Palestinians despite the fact that his speech “wasn’t sponsored by any Palestinian clubs on campus.”
Both Arab and Jewish “pro-Palestinian” activists cheered him for his statement.
Indeed, how dare he teach people who claim to care about the Palestinians about the Palestinians? How dare he say that Palestinians are people, and are not driven only by their collective hatred of Israel and rejection of its right to exist? How dare he mention that Palestinians have the right to work wherever they want and that Jews in Judea and Samaria aren’t inherently evil and actually provide livelihoods for thousands of Palestinians who work with them? How dare Eid come to University of Chicago and mention that neither Fatah nor Hamas have built governing institutions built on the notion that Palestinians have the right to freedom, but rather they have built institution geared toward forcing the Palestinians to seek Israel’s destruction, while trampling their human rights? How dare he not bow and scrape before SJP and accept its positions as a condition for speaking on campus? And so, once again, last Thursday we learned the big lie at the heart of the supposedly pro-Palestinian movement. None of its members – whether from SJP, J Street, or any of their comrades – care about the Palestinians or their rights.
All they care about is attacking Israel.
None of this is new information. It’s been obvious for several years now that the pro-Palestinian movement is merely a means to demonize Israel and its supporters. The only real question at this point is what is it going to take for US law enforcement bodies, legislatures and university administrations to finally take action against these hate groups, to the benefit of Palestinians, Israel and the cause of human rights?