We live in truly mind-boggling times. Terror supporters in the U.S. are not hiding. As Hamas filmed their October 7th attacks in Israel for all to see, so too in the streets and boardrooms of the United States many people are brazen and clear and open about their Jew-hatred.
Take the successful, New York City-based lawyer Kathleen Peratis of the firm Outten Golden, who has visited the Hamas deadly terror tunnels multiple times, praised Hamas leaders, openly opposes a Jewish state, and supports the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divest, and Sanction) movement.
This individual is a leader of numerous organizations, including serving as a trustee emerita of Human Rights Watch, as the founding Chair of its Women’s Rights Division, and as co-chair of the Advisory Committee of HRW’s Middle East and North Africa Division. She is a board member of the New Israel Fund.
While she is a leader on rape and sexual harassment, Ms. Peratis and her firm Outten Golden have been silent on Hamas’ mass rape of Israeli women and on the issue of calling for the release of the terror group’s Israeli hostages.
In an op-ed describing her tours of the Hamas terror tunnels, Ms. Peratis describes her Gaza visit (of which there are many) as “a fun-filled joy fest spent with friends.” She quotes one Hamas leader in the terror tunnel as saying: “Please tell your friends that Hamas people are ordinary people. We are not barbarians.”
Nearly everyone I spoke to – mostly Hamas officials, but also others – seemed to feel a great sense of pride in what he or she had survived, and confidence in the future. They all believe that Hamas triumphed in the prisoner-exchange deal with Israel, that despite international condemnation and punishment they are thriving, and that cutting all ties with Israel has been to Gaza’s benefit. Many seem to think that reconciliation with Fatah is probable, and with it, national elections. They see the Americans engaging with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and think that Hamas – and its further prosperity and legitimacy – may not be far behind. As one Gazan put it, “Time is on our side.”
Indeed, Hamas does believe time is on their side. They want jihad to destroy the Jewish state and people. Yet Peratis describes her Hamas mates as people who “could not have been friendlier,” and as she walked through the tunnels she describes a mood which was “almost convivial.”
In another article she penned, Peratis describes Gaza as “exotic” and admiringly describes a discussion she had with Dr. Ghazi Hamad, whom she identifies as “Hamas’s deputy foreign minister, a veterinarian, born in Jaffa, who lived for many years in a Rafah refugee” and describes as “the star of the conversation.” She writes further about him:
Hamad is a fluent Hebrew speaker (a common byproduct of spending time in Israeli prisons), extraordinarily well-spoken in English and, by Hamas standards, a moderate–except when it comes to Fatah, for which he has no use whatsoever. In August 2006, at a time when Hamas wanted to consolidate its recent electoral victory with peace and quiet, and law and order, he was quoted on the Israeli website Ynet criticizing Palestinian (Fatah) violence and rocket fire launched into Israel: “When we speak about a truce, there is always someone who fires another rocket…. The land is full with corruption, thuggery and gang killings. Isn’t building the homeland part of the resistance?”
Peratis says “face to face, he pretty nearly convinced me that he has a vision for peace” and describes her visit with him as “comfortable” and “chutzpadik.”
Hamad has praised the October 7th attacks and has boasted that Hamas is prepared to repeat that operation “a second, a third, a fourth time” because Israel should be destroyed. He has declared that “We must teach Israel a lesson,” “the al-Aqsa Deluge is just the first time,” “nobody should blame us for the things we do,” and “everything we do is justified.”
Peratis repeatedly calls for an end to the Jewish state. In a recent podcast, she noted that there is no Jewish state she would accept. She also proudly continues to support BDS. She notes, “Few things focus the attention of the Israeli government on the issue of occupation like BDS, even the parve BDS of a limited boycott of settlement products.” She supports full BDS, noting:
But maybe it is time now, maybe past time, to embrace a broader BDS tool for our own goal of ending the occupation—time for us to embrace the wake-up call that occurs when a rock group won’t perform in Tel Aviv, when the E.U. refuses to fund Israeli projects that have any presence over the Green Line, when the Presbyterian Church threatens divestment in companies that profit from the occupation.
Along with her tours of the terror tunnels and material support for Hamas, she notes that “BDS means to isolate Israel and therefore shrinks its commerce and intellectual intercourse. That is true, but that is precisely what the boycott tool is meant to do: disrupt the status quo until justice is restored.”
Ms. Kathleen Peratis is a leader of a New York City law firm, a leader of Human Rights Watch. Has she been investigated for these repeated meetings with Hamas leaders, an organization which is illegal in the United States?
In this environment in which shocking numbers of people take to the streets to openly display their support for Hamas’ massacre, rape and kidnapping of Israeli Jews, is this conduct by a prominent lawyer even permitted and legal? Repeated requests for comment to Ms. Peratis and her firm have not been returned.
With community leaders like Kathleen Peratis openly assisting the antisemitic enemies of Israel and civilization itself, there are clearly scary times ahead.
Ronn Torossian is an American-Israeli entrepreneur, author and philanthropist.