Hanan Ashrawi is a senior official of an organization that includes in its ranks those who are on the U.S. government list of terrorist groups. If that’s not sufficient grounds to deny her a visa to America, then what is?
Ashrawi is a member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization. The PLO consists of groups that practice terrorism though are not on the U.S. list (for political reasons), such as Fatah; and groups that practice terrorism and are on the U.S. list, such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
Founded in 1967, the PFLP is a Marxist gang that has carried out numerous terrorist attacks. It was a pioneer of airplane hijackings in the 1970s. It murdered 29-year-old Harold Rosenthal of Philadelphia—a member of the staff of U.S. Sen. Jacob Javits, Republican of New York (and a former member of the staff of Sen. Walter Mondale, Democrat of Minnesota)—in a grenade-and-machine gun attack on the El Al terminal at the Istanbul airport on Aug. 11, 1976.
The PFLP’s bloody rap sheet also includes the murder of an Israeli cabinet minister and the butchering of American rabbis (and an Israeli Druze policeman) in a synagogue in Jerusalem’s Har Nof neighborhood.
It’s no surprise that Ashrawi is comfortable helping run an organization that includes the PFLP. After all, she has on many occasions publicly endorsed terrorism.
For example, Ashrawi defended the terrorists who lynched two unarmed Israelis in Ramallah in October 2000. She justified the Second Intifada (with its many suicide bombings and other attacks) on the grounds that “the only language [that former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon understands is the language of violence.” She said that every Israeli who resides beyond the 1949 armistice line is a “legitimate and select target of Palestinian resistance.”
What does U.S. law have to say about all this?
Well, 8 USC 1182: Inadmissible Aliens includes two criteria that apply to Ashrawi.
Section 3(B)(i)(IV)(bb) bars the admission of “a representative of a political, social, or other group that endorses or espouses terrorist activity.” Ashrawi is a representative of the PLO, which by including Fatah and the PFLP as members in good standing is effectively endorsing those groups’ terrorist activity.
And there’s also Section 3(B)(i) (VII), which bars any foreigner who “endorses or espouses terrorist activity.” Ashrawi’s long list of statements endorsing Palestinian terrorism provides ample reason to keep her out.
Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, tweeted in support of admitting Ashrawi to the United States. “We don’t need to agree with her (I often don’t) to recognize the value of hearing from her.”
If the real issue is “hearing from her,” she doesn’t need to enter the United States. She constantly appears, via satellite, on CNN and other American television and radio shows. She is constantly quoted in the American press. American Jewish delegations that visit Israel or the Palestinian Authority areas frequently meet with her.
Of course, Rabbi Jacobs knows all that. He knows the issue isn’t “hearing” Ashrawi. He, and millions of other Americans, already knows what she has to say. We’ve all heard her defending the BDS war against Israel and ranting about how Israel “enslaves” the Arabs.
And anybody who has read Tuvia Tenenbom’s book, Catch the Jew, surely remembers the incredible exchange he had with Ashrawi when he was posing as a German tourist. He asked her about the fact that the Jews had a sovereign state for many centuries in biblical times. She replied: “Of course the Jewish tribes were here, but they weren’t, you know, a state the way they claim to be.” He asked: “Was there a temple?” Ashrawi responded: “I have no idea. I’m not an archaeologist.”
She may not be an archaeologist, but she certainly claims to be a Christian. Presumably, she knows that the Christian Bible includes numerous references to the Jewish Temple. Or doesn’t she believe the parts that conflict with her political agenda?
Rabbi Jacobs is wrong to try to turn this into a free speech issue. Nobody is denying Ashrawi access to the world’s media outlets. Nobody is preventing Jacobs or anybody else from “hearing” her. But America is under no obligation to open its doors to those who endorse and consort with terrorists.
Stephen M. Flatow, an attorney in New Jersey, is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995. He is the author of “A Father’s Story: My Fight for Justice Against Iranian Terror.”
Be a part of our community
JNS serves as the central hub for a thriving community of readers who appreciate the invaluable context our coverage offers on Israel and their Jewish world.
Please join our community and help support our unique brand of Jewish journalism that makes sense.