(July 13, 2021 / JNS) “This is a war” against Israel, stated University of Exeter Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies Research Fellow Ghada Karmi during a June 20 webinar by Istanbul Zaim University’s Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA). Fellow academics shared her bellicosity during CIGA’s June 18-23 conference on “Challenging Apartheid in Palestine: Reclaiming the Narrative, Formulating a Vision.”
As previously analyzed, this second annual Palestine Conference by CIGA achieved considerable notoriety due to CIGA’s founder, Sami Al-Arian, a former Florida professor expelled to Turkey for supporting the terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad. At CIGA, Al-Arian has regularly hosted American and other Western Middle East specialists who ignore both his sordid record and the Islamist regime of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Karmi outlined in her presentation on “Confronting Israel’s Settler Colonialism and Apartheid System: An Equal Rights Approach” how to achieve the “end of Zionism, the end of privilege,” as she put it. Merging Israel’s Jewish state with the Palestinian territories as well as implementing a “right of return” for millions of descendants of perhaps 700,000 Arab refugees in Israel’s 1948 War of Independence would result in an Arab-majority, one-state solution. Skipping the usual euphemisms, Karmi was explicit in her desire to destroy Israel: “How do you explode Zionism? The best way to explode it is by getting in a load of non-Jews into a Zionist state. Immediately the Jewish majority, of which Zionism is dependent, would go, disappear.”
Earlier the same day, California State University‒San Bernardino Center for Islamic & Middle Eastern Studies director Ahlam Muhtaseb spoke on “Decolonizing Knowledge on Palestine.” This longstanding enemy of Israel said, “Palestinians are reclaiming the narrative, and they are practicing digital decolonization through outsmarting the colonial, imperial and capitalist powers behind social media. Many of us Palestinian scholars in the U.S. still ascribe to a positivist colonial epistemic approach to knowledge production that we need to liberate ourselves from,” she added in undecipherable jargon.
Muhtaseb discussed her role in producing the 2017 film 1948: Creation and Catastrophe. Filled with historical inaccuracies, this anti-Israel screed prompted outraged Jewish protests during its initial screenings. “The Zionist lobby viciously attacked the film” with a “hate campaign,” she claimed.
Social media was a central focus for Muhtaseb as the “new frontier of the battle between hegemonic and counter-hegemonic forces.” Contrary to evidence, she claimed that “Facebook actively silences any criticism of the State of Israel, which is unfathomable.” Promoting the hackneyed argument that anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism, she decried a “very dangerous adoption by Facebook of equating Zionist with Jewish and Israeli” and “criticism of Israelis with criticism of Jews, thus claiming anti-Semitism.”
Muhtaseb paired her anti-Semitic demonization of Israel in comments about an “Israeli genocidal war against Palestinians” in which Israel has been “bombing plainly civilian targets” with Hamas apologetics. “The majority of the world actually considers Hamas either as a resistance group or as a political party that won the election” for the Palestinian Authority legislature in 2006, she stated of this terrorist group. “Why do we have to throw Hamas under the bus when we have very clear evidence of state-sponsored terrorism” by Israel, for which “Hamas was forced to engage in self-defense,” she added in defense of Hamas’s genocidal goals.
Rabab Abdulhadi also used the buzzwords “decolonizing knowledge” in her presentation during a June 21 panel on “Examining How the Apartheid Industry Functions.” This San Francisco State University professor of Arab and Muslim ethnicities and diasporas studies spoke on “Resisting the Erasure of Palestine: A Social Movement Analysis of the Apartheid Industry in Education and the Academy.” Her focus was the “Israel lobby industry.”
This bogeyman included for Abdulhadi liberal establishment institutions like the Anti-Defamation League, which she linked to the Black Lives Matter lie that Michael Brown “was assassinated in 2014” in Ferguson, Miss. That community’s police chief received ADL-sponsored training in Israel, which prompted her to promote the “Deadly Exchange” blood libel that Israeli training exchanges with American police promote abusive practices in the United States. Her blacklist included the Middle East Forum’s Campus Watch project, a longtime critic of Abdulhadi’s apologias for terrorists. She noted that this has raised the ire of the leftist smear merchant Southern Poverty Law Center as being led by an “Islamophobe”—a demonstrably false claim.
American University of Beirut director of global engagement Rami Khouri, a Hezbollah apologist, examined this “apartheid industry” in media. Historically, the media has treated Palestinians as an “invisible people,” but “Israeli Zionist apartheid is now widely acknowledged,” he said. The Zionists’ “ability to be cruel and vicious is almost endless,” he added, while he laughably asserted that Palestinians “are not talking about killing Israelis or throwing them into the sea.”
Recent Palestinian propaganda over the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in eastern Jerusalem, where Israeli Jewish property owners won a court battle to evict rent-evading Palestinian tenants, exemplified Zionist perfidy for Khouri. Hereby, a viral video showing “Jacob [Fauci] the Zionist colonial settler from Long Island” had supposedly exposed Israeli “ethnic cleansing.” “The West had never seen a Zionist colonial thug” so clearly, added Khouri.
In lieu of the objective intellectual inquiry expected of university professors, these academics openly wage a propaganda campaign for Israel’s destruction. Ensconced in their tenured positions, they have transformed Middle East studies into a platform to launch assaults against Zionism. The private and public funders of academia should insist on thoroughgoing reform of these corrupt institutions, without which such support should end.
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