“The greatest threat in anti-Semitism is not Palestinian; it’s white supremacy,” claimed Rutgers University assistant professor of Africana Studies Noura Erakat during the Jan. 13 webinar “Two-State Solution Is Dead—Now What?” While appearing on a like-minded panel hosted by the anti-Israel group Nonviolence International (NI), she repeated her usual anti-Israel diatribes, all the while making absurd assessments about the dangers Jews face in the real world.
NI founder Mubarak Awad, who introduced the panel, is a strange spokesman for nonviolence. He has previously not excluded violence as a means of opposing Israel, particularly given that he has condemned a “Jewish state in the Middle East” as “impossible.” The profiles on NI’s “Many Faces of Nonviolence” webpage include Angela Davis, whose violent past landed her on the FBI’s 10 most wanted list before a controversial 1972 trial acquitted her.
Other NI “Faces of Nonviolence” include anti-Israel activists Rachel Corrie, who was a member of the violence-supporting International Solidarity Movement (ISM), and Ann Wright with Code Pink. NI also honored its protégé We Are Not Numbers (WANN), which promotes Palestinian propaganda from the Gaza strip. In its profile was a description of a “resistance fighter” from Hamas’s “Al-Qassam Brigades—so quickly assumed to be ‘terrorists’ even by many pro-Palestinian activists.”
Erakat’s fellow anti-Israel panelists included the Palestinian-American anti-Israel agitator Jonathan Kuttab, whose new free book Beyond the Two-State Solution occasioned the event. His comrade-in-arms Jeff Halper expressed the participants’ common mind regarding a relentless “settler-colonial” Zionist movement, adding for good measure that the “Zionist side is not a legitimate side.” Historically, “for Zionism there is nothing to compromise on, there is nothing to negotiate” over an “exclusive claim to this country,” he lied, despite numerous Israeli offers for a two-state solution going back to 1937.
The panel’s unanimous recommendation was a single state that would merge the Jewish state of Israel with all the other territories of the former British Palestine Mandate and their Arab populations. “In our conception of the single state, it is an inclusive democracy of equal rights for everyone living in this country,” Halper fantasized, although no such state other than Israel exists in the Middle East. “Hamas has a one-state idea that we don’t share,” he quipped, without explaining how his ideas would prove more popular among Muslim-majority Palestinians than the visions of genocidal Hamas terrorists.
Erakat elaborated upon Halper’s vision of a Palestinian Sweden-upon-the-Mediterranean. “Palestinians are primarily secular, and even the religious ones believe that Jews are ‘People of the Book,’ ” she claimed. She ignores considerable evidence of Palestinian society’s conservative, pious nature and the Palestinian Authority’s Basic Law, which makes Sharia law a basis of legislation.
Meanwhile “People of the Book” references are cold comfort to informed Jews who know that the historic dhimmi status of subjugated non-Muslims under Islam was anything but protective. Consequentially, rampant modern anti-Semitism among Muslims belies Erakat’s assertion that “Palestinians will not attack Jews because they are Jewish,” but merely “because they are their military occupiers and oppressors.” By contrast, she strained to dispel any unflattering parallels between Western and Islamic history, for “there is anti-Semitism in the Middle East, but we can’t graft the European anti-Semitism onto that history.” Similarly, “there was slavery in the Arab world, but we can’t graft the U.S. transatlantic history of the slave trade and slavery onto those historical genealogies.”
Despite vehement Arab opposition to Jewish immigration into interwar British Mandatory Palestine, Erakat asserted that “Palestinians never rejected Jewish immigration,” only “Jewish Zionist settlement.” Without explaining any logical separation between Jewish immigrants seeking security and Jewish sovereignty, she claimed that “Jews have always been welcome. They just were not welcome as masters and sovereigns of the land.”
“Zionism actually never really combated white supremacy, which shaped Nazi racism, and instead left it intact,” she stated, as if Jews favored the murderous ideology that sought their extinction. Zionist beliefs supposedly held “that Jews can never belong or integrate … have to be exclusive and isolated,” and “are superior as God’s chosen people,” she stated, twisting Jewish self-determination into a supremacist doctrine. “Anti-Semitism is alive and well; Israel did not solve that problem,” she concluded, blaming the victim for the incurable anti-Semitism of people like herself.
“Palestinians in thinking towards the decolonial future need to offer those Israeli Jews something far more optimal than what Israel offers them,” argued Erakat.
She did not outline how the ruinously failed Palestinian nation-state project could offer Jews more than they enjoy in Israel, where not even its Arab residents want to forfeit Israeli residency. She simply posited a future single Palestinian state in which Israeli Jews “can belong” and “feel safe. Now they definitely don’t feel safe.”
Knowing that Israelis would reject her entreaties, she called for brute power to bend Israel to her will. Israeli Jews are “like any other peoples of privilege—why would anybody ever give up their privilege?” she asked about a nation that has always struggled for survival.
Vague collectivist rhetoric rounded out Erakat’s paean to bigotry. “This land does not belong to Palestinians. Palestinians belong to the land,” she intoned. This entails a “pushback against the privatization of land,” which “has to belong to the common.”
Erakat and her allies’ hate-filled, distorted views make a mockery not just of coexistence but of academe. In place of rigorous scholarship on the Middle East, they offer a vengeful obsession with destroying Israel. Defund them, delegitimize them and deny them their privileged perches.