Fatah and Yachad: Together for Israel?

A left-wing Jewish organization gives a prime spot at the U.K.’s biggest festival of Jewish learning to a Fatah activist.

Armed members of the Palestinian Fatah movement in the West Bank city of Nablus, July 27, 2020. Photo by Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90.
Armed members of the Palestinian Fatah movement in the West Bank city of Nablus, July 27, 2020. Photo by Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90.
Heath Sloane
Heath Sloane

Those who advocate for Israel’s destruction shouldn’t be given the time of day—let alone four speaking slots at the U.K.’s biggest festival of Jewish learning. So why was Samer Sinijlawi, a Fatah activist and outspoken anti-Israel advocate, given four speaking slots at Limmud 2022?

Predictably, Sinijlawi uses all the standard cliches support BDS and label Israel an “apartheid state.” What’s more concerning is that Sinijlawi is a self-described Fatah activist—meaning he is affiliated with and supports a Palestinian paramilitary organization with both a history and a present marred by violence against Jews in Israel and the Diaspora.

Fatah’s Black September Organization carried out the Munich Massacre in September 1972, killing 11 Israeli athletes. It and its former leader, Yasser Arafat, were the main instigators of the second intifada, which claimed the lives of over 1,000 Israelis. Today, the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority incentivizes the murder of Israelis through its so-called “pay-to-slay” stipends to Palestinian terrorists and their families.

Notwithstanding these facts, Gershon Baskin, director of the Holy Land Bond, together with left-wing U.K. organization Yachad, seemed excited to show off their Fatah friend at Limmud. Left-wing groups like Yachad, it seems, are becoming increasingly comfortable and chummy with those who hate Israel and its Jewish character, whether home-grown or from afar.

There’s a reason for this. In leftist circles, Zionism is libeled as an evil, colonialist and racist enterprise that is invalid to its core. According to this anti-Zionist line, nothing short of the complete dismantling of Israel and the erasure of its Jewish character will satisfy the anti-Israel forces’ interminable crusade for “justice.”

Perhaps that’s one reason Sinijlawi could so nonchalantly declare during a session that, in his estimation at least, “the two-state solution is dead.” His sentiments were corroborated by Baskin during their discussion “beyond the failed two-state paradigm.” Sinijlawi never bothered to spell out the unspoken corollary to this heavy statement: that a “one-state solution” in lieu of a “two-state solution” would likely render Jews a minority within Israel and demolish Jewish national self-determination. Needless to say, the “one state” that Sinijlawi dreams of is not a Jewish one.

Then again, Sinijlawi will seemingly say anything for his 15 minutes of fame. In his articles, TV appearances and social media posts, he’s taken a series of confused and conflicting stances. He’s variously criticized P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas, defended the P.A. against Hamas and advocated for treating Hamas as a legitimate political operator. At times he has supported the “two-state solution,” at other times the “one-state solution,” but not yet the “no-state solution.” The only thing he’s consistent on is his disdain for Israel.

Sinijlawi also seems willing to defend Hamas’ terrorism against his own party, Fatah. Only someone with so many confused stances could unironically dismiss, during a televised interview, a shootout between Hamas and Fatah as merely, “An automatic gun fell down from one of Hamas’ activists, and then one of (the) Fatah people there shot and killed three people.”

Sinijlawi is a useful prop for U.K. leftists like Yachad, who cherry-pick talking heads to propagate its arguably anti-Zionist bias. In the process, it legitimizes the views and rhetoric of those who would gladly see Israel’s demise and makes a farce of its “Together for Israel, Together for Peace” slogan.

Heath Sloane is the press and marketing manager of the National Jewish Assembly. Follow the NJA on Twitter at @NJA_UK and Facebook at @NJAUK, and Heath Sloane on Twitter at @HeathSloane.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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