OpinionIsrael at War

Palestinian racism is alive and well in New Jersey

The Palestinian American Community Center in Clifton, N.J., is engaged in terrorism denial.

New Jersey skyline. Credit: Leonhard Niederwimmer via Pixabay.
New Jersey skyline. Credit: Leonhard Niederwimmer via Pixabay.
Steve Goldberg
Steve Goldberg is the former president of the Clifton Jewish Center and a member of the Clifton Holocaust Committee.

When one thinks about the size of the State of Israel in relation to the countries surrounding it, the comparison is often made to the state of New Jersey: Israel is roughly the same size as New Jersey and therefore, as a small country, its geopolitical challenges are very significant.

In northern New Jersey, among other cities with large Arab-American populations, are Paterson and Clifton. In fact, the southern half of Paterson is nick-named “Little Ramallah.” It is reported to have the largest concentration of Palestinian Americans in the United States.

It is not surprising, then, that the Palestinian American population built a community center in Clifton. Opened in 2014, the Palestinian American Community Center (PACC) is intended “to sustain and strengthen ties” to members’ “Palestinian heritage.” The center’s home page professes that members subscribe to such noble ideals as “Integrity, Empowerment, Service, People Cooperation and Respect.” It claims, “These core values represent what we believe in, what we stand for and how we approach everything we do.”

It is quite astounding, then, that PACC has released a video on Israel’s current war against Hamas that denies Hamas’s Oct. 7 crimes against humanity. 

Ostensibly about “lies” that have “currently been told about Palestine,” the video states that there are three lies being circulated about the war. The host says, “Number one: 40 babies were beheaded. This is completely false. No evidence has been provided for this.”

“Number two: People were raped. Also false. There is no evidence for this whatsoever,” he claims.

“Number three: 250 people were killed at a concert. False. The only videos we have seen are people running away from the concert. There isn’t a single video or photo suggesting that 250 people were killed at a concert or that a mass shooting took place,” the host asserts.

“What we do have, however, are interviews of Israelis claiming that the Palestinian resistance fighters were actually kind to them, merciful to them,” he says. Here, a video plays in the background that shows a woman speaking. Her voice is not audible, but the subtitles printed on the screen say, “Look around, one says in English, we will not hurt you. Don’t worry, I’m a Muslim.”

The host then says, “So why are they lying? It is called atrocity propaganda. They lie about atrocities!”

The video has since been taken down. In its place is a message stating, “Immediately notify the sender by telephone or email and delete the original email and all copies of it from your computer system.”

Besides this video, which was nothing but a schema of lies, PACC has tweeted, “Resistance is always justified when people are occupied.” This is a clear statement of support for terrorism.

A Clifton elected official, Ferras Awwad, joined in the celebration of Hamas’s atrocities, tweeting a dramatic photo of Hamas terrorists hand-gliding, presumably into Israel on Oct. 7.

Awwad and fellow Clifton Board of Education Commissioner Fahim Abedrabbo, both Palestinian-Americans, faced charges in 2022 for making pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel statements at a public Clifton Board of Education meeting in violation of regulations forbidding such statements by board officials. Surprisingly, the charges were not upheld by the courts.

It is shocking that a debate between candidates for the Clifton Board of Education was held at the PACC despite its long history of racism. It seems that no one in Clifton genuinely cares about Integrity, Empowerment, Service, People Cooperation and Respect.

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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