OpinionSchools & Higher Education

Rutgers professors call for genocide

In an atmosphere of rising antisemitism, Noura Erakat and Saher Aziz’s webinar was beyond the pale.

Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J. Credit: Benjamin Clapp/Shutterstock.
Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J. Credit: Benjamin Clapp/Shutterstock.
Andrew E. Harrod
Andrew E. Harrod, a Middle East Forum Campus Watch fellow, freelance researcher and writer, is a fellow at the Lawfare Project. Follow him on X @AEHarrod.

Palestinian Arabs “have sought a future of liberation from the river to the sea for all peoples,” claimed Noura Erakat, a Rutgers University associate professor of Africana studies during a late February webinar. Although she tried to whitewash this well-known call for the genocide of all Israeli Jews between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, her comments to Rutgers’ Center for Security, Race and Rights (CSRR) remained objectively horrifying.

Erakat addressed the webinar on the topic of “Justice for Some: Law and the Question of Palestine,” the title of her 2019 book. Israel’s ongoing campaign to destroy the jihadist terrorist organization Hamas following its brutal Oct. 7 massacre was the background for her discussion.

Sahar Aziz, the factually challenged director of CSRR and its jihadist apologetics, moderated the webinar. CSRR recently drew the scrutiny of Washington lawmakers in the wake of revelations that Adeel Mangi, nominated by President Joe Biden to the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, formerly served on the Center’s advisory board.

Moreover, recent research revealed that Aziz received $143,000 from anti-Israel billionaire George Soros’s network and that Erakat “participated in an online workshop along with senior Hamas leader Ghazi Hamad.”

Their comments on law and “Palestine” confirmed lawmakers’ concerns about the Center.

Aziz claimed that “hysteria and misrepresentation and bad-faith attacks” surround the slogan “from the river to the sea.” She asked, “Who is it that really wants complete domination and complete control from the river to the sea in a way that, in effect or in practice, is committing genocide or at the very least apartheid or occupation?” She pointedly ignored the numerous Zionist proposals to divide the land of the former British Mandate into an Arab and a Jewish state.

“Palestinians are not the ones denying freedom and threatening expulsion and pushing people into the sea,” Erakat claimed, something few Israelis—or anyone else—can believe after over a century of jihadist attempts to destroy the Land of Israel’s Jewish population.

“Palestinians historically and in the present have said that they have imagined a future for everyone without domination, where Jews belong but Jewish Zionists cannot be masters of the land,” she added, rewriting history as she spoke. “How do Palestinians create a possibility, a home, a future that is more promising and irresistible to Jews than Israel promises them?” she asked, ignoring that Israel’s Arabs increasingly reject today’s dystopic Palestinian society. 

Erakat’s caricature of Palestinians as victims rather than aggressors undergirded her dismissal of Israeli security concerns, deriding that, in her opinion, “Palestinians have to answer very clearly with a blueprint of what is the future and what would happen to the Israelis.”

“Palestinians are basically subject to perpetual domination whereby they’re only eligible for certain privileges so long as they’re compliant and seen as good natives in the eyes of their colonizer Israel,” she said. “It’s quite obscene because it accepts that Palestinians will remain unfree and that is okay until they can come out with a blueprint that makes everybody around them comfortable,” as if genocidal terrorism were a minor worry.

“Every day is a day of unfreedom, is a day of racial colonial domination, is a day of native elimination in the form of genocide,” Erakat claimed, an absurd assertion given rapid Palestinian population growth since Israel’s founding. Evoking classic antisemitic Holocaust inversion, she proclaimed, “Everything theoretical that we don’t want to happen to Jews, Israel is doing to the Palestinians,” without explaining when Jews had ever taken Palestinian civilians hostage or raped them en masse. “University presidents are forced to resign on a hypothetical genocide, while a genocide that’s taking place is not addressed at all,” she said, a charge belied by remarkably low civilian casualties in Israel’s difficult Gaza campaign.

In Gaza, “all hospitals and universities are now legitimate targets because of the possibility that there might be a tunnel network underneath,” she said, which she then falsely claimed is a “redefinition of humanitarian law.” Yet Hamas’s nefarious human-shield tactics do not preclude Israeli attacks on military targets within the laws of war respecting proportional civilian damage.

Fast and loose legal definitions are expected from Erakat given her views, expressed in this webinar, that the law “unto its own is not a science to be discovered,” but what “critical legal scholars would describe as indeterminacy, that the content of the law has no specific meaning … not even a core meaning.” Rather, “law is politics and politics is a reflection of power,” she asserted while noting past Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) efforts to establish in international law that “guerillas are not terrorists but are actually combatants.” Thus, “to be used in the service of emancipatory struggles” law “must be wielded in the service of robust political movements.” Might makes right in her nihilistic ideology.

Erakat declared that “Zionism is an embodiment of white supremacy” and asked rhetorically, “How do we overcome fascism” in Israel, whose society “basically is the anatomy of an apartheid regime?” She further asserted that Israel’s Law of Return, under which Jews worldwide can claim automatic Israeli citizenship—similar to nationality laws in many other countries—is “analogous to whiteness as a category.”

Incredibly, she then implied that Jews should support her agenda, asking about Israel—cherished by Jews worldwide as a refuge—“Is Zionism making Jews safer all over the world?” She suggested that hostility to Israel makes life more dangerous for Jews, claiming that Israel’s war in Gaza is sparked by imperialism rather than self-defense. It appears that, if Jews are less safe, it may be because genocidal terrorists like Hamas and antisemites like herself do not occur to her.

Finally, she struck out at American Jews, falsely claiming that “Palestinians are being removed from the Gaza Strip right now” in order “to make more room for settlement for Jewish Americans,” even though Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza in 2005 precisely to facilitate Palestinian self-rule.

Aziz and Erakat’s vicious antisemitism strengthens the case for investigating Rutgers and CSRR for using taxpayer dollars to advance biased, racist programming. In a year in which violence against Jewish and pro-Israel students has escalated, sponsoring programs that demonize both is beyond the pale.

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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