Jews Who Stand With Their Enemies
Last week I travelled to Chapel Hill, North Carolina to speak about the Middle East and the campus campaign to demonize Israel as an apartheid state. I was invited by Christians United for Israel and the Committee for a Better Carolina, a conservative student group whose leaders also are not Jewish. I mention this otherwise irrelevant fact because they asked me specifically to speak about the war against Israel in the Middle East; and when I asked their leader Brandon Hartness why, he said to me, “because there is no one making a strong argument for Israel on this campus.”
As on most campuses, there is a large and active campus Jewish group at Chapel Hill, namely Hillel. But UNC Hillel was not about to invite me or to sponsor this speech. In fact, UNC Hillel had attacked me the previous spring when these same students, again led by Brandon Hartness, put up a banner created by the Freedom Center to refute the genocidal lies that make up the Palestinian case against Israel. We called the banner the “Wall of Lies” to counter the “Israeli Apartheid Walls” of the Muslim Students Association and the lies inscribed on them. The most fundamental of these lies is that Israel “occupies” Arab land, and that this occupation is the source of the conflict. The lie effectively delegitimizes the Jewish state and underpins the claim that Palestine extends “from the river to the sea” – which would obliterate Israel completely.
When the “Wall of Lies” banner was erected on the UNC campus last spring, two directors of Hillel – Ari Gauss and Sheila Katz – wrote a letter to the Daily Tar Heel dissociating themselves from our Wall and defending the Muslim Students Association, which the Wall identified as the group making the false claim. This was not the first or only attack on the Wall of Lies by liberal Jews active in the university community, and was mild compared to others, which had denounced me as an “Islamophobe” and “racist.” At the University of Pennsylvania, Hillel students had voiced these slanders in a joint letter signed by members of the Hamas-supporting group “Penn for Palestine” and the Muslim Students Association.
In an attempt to understand these reactions, I contacted Hillel officials at Penn and attempted to explore ways to work with them. At a bare minimum, I hoped to avoid being attacked by Jews for my efforts to defend the Jewish state. I met with Hillel’s regional director in Philadelphia, Rabbi Howard Alpert, and more than a dozen Jewish student leaders. Hillel had issued policy guidelines forbidding its local chapters from entering working partnerships with organizations that did not defend the existence of the Jewish state – which should have included the Muslim Students Association and Students for Justice in Palestine. Unfortunately, this was a policy not always observed by the local chapters, which were independently funded and run. But my contacts with Hillel directors who shared my views of the conflict, including Rabbi Alpert, made me want to work with them to change that.
From my discussions in Philadelphia, I drew two conclusions. First, I had made a mistake in not discussing the ads with members of Hillel before placing them. The appearance of the ads inevitably created a local firestorm, thanks to the aggressive behavior of the Muslim student organizations and the political left, which attacked them as “Islamophobic” and “racist” at every turn. This was a standard operating procedure of the left generally, whose goal is never to engage an opinion that challenges its core beliefs but instead to demonize and marginalize it. In pursuit of this goal, leftists have shown no qualms about implicating others in their smears, making any group on campus that is Jewish or “pro-Israel” a party to the crime.
The second observation was that my approach to the defense of Israel was fundamentally different from that of most Hillel chapters. I believed that the way to combat genocidal claims and intentions was by identifying them for what they were and confronting them. By contrast, members of Hillel – even those who understood these malevolent agendas – felt that the defense of Israel should be positive; that it should stress the tolerance, creativity and generosity of the Jewish state, while refraining from identifying its enemies and their supporters with the genocidal intentions they held. In my view, the refusal to identify Israel’s enemies with their malignant goals weakened the case for Israel’s defense. The left understands that demonizing one’s adversary as a “colonial occupier” is the most effective argument, even though it requires disregarding the facts. But pro-Israel groups like Hillel, from fear of offending the Muslim organizations and the left, give their most important asset away at the outset. This forces them to play defense, which is always the weaker position. The left understands that intimidation through name-calling is an effective technique – which is why so many Jewish students are reluctant to “provoke” them by speaking blunt truths.
After my discussions in Philadelphia, I decided to submit the ad I planned to run in the UNC student paper – the Daily Tar Heel – to the UNC Hillel director, Ari Gauss. The ad was designed to expose the connections of the leading sponsor of the “Israeli Apartheid” weeks to the Islamic jihad against Israel and the West, and thus to put the other side on the defensive. It was headlined, “Where Are They Now?” and featured nine former presidents of the Muslim Students Association who had gone on to leadership positions in Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. The most famous among them was Anwar Awlaki, mentor of the Christmas bomber and the Fort Hood assassin, who had previously been president of the Muslim Students Association at Colorado State University. Since the Muslim Students Association is basically a recruitment front for the Muslim Brotherhood, this should come as no surprise, yet these facts were invisible on university campuses. Also featured in the ad was the pamphlet we had produced, written by Daniel Greenfield and titled “Muslim Hate Groups on Campus.” The pamphlet documented the anti-Jewish hate-weeks and other outrages committed by the Muslim Students Association and Students for Justice in Palestine. Greenfield also traced the groups’ lineage back to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.
After receiving my email with the proposed ad, Ari Gauss sent this reply:
While it’s unspeakably upsetting and problematic that our campuses are supporting individuals that become leaders in terrorist organizations, my chief concern about the ad is that it’s not clear to me 1) how connected one campus MSA may be to another and 2) specifically, how connected UNC’s MSA chapter is to the national entity or other campus MSA chapters. To run this ad in UNC’s paper suggests that UNC’s MSA is connected to the others in some meaningful way and part of the problem. I’m not convinced that this is the case.
I have heard this argument from more than one Hillel director, and it always puzzles me. Why would an organization take on the same name as an already-existing national organization like MSA, which has chapters on virtually every campus, if it were not related to it? Wouldn’t the national MSA sue any unrelated organization that appropriates its name and recruits members using its name? Of course it would. In any case, a quick search of the national MSA website shows that the UNC chapter is indeed one of the national MSA affiliates. Apparently Gauss didn’t bother to look.
Because I wanted to work with Gauss and forestall an attack on my appearance by the campus Hillel, I let this go and agreed not to run the ad. In a phone conversation, Gauss explained to me that, in his view, the Muslim Students Association at UNC was “not political.” Hillel worked closely, in fact, with the UNC-MSA chapter and had established a joint “Israeli-Palestinian Dialogue Committee” with its members. Gauss was very proud of the dialogue. I asked him if this “dialogue” was based on a public commitment by the MSA that the Jewish state had a right to exist on the land now called Israel. I got no satisfactory response but again chose to continue our own dialogue. Since I had withdrawn the ad, I asked Gauss if he would distribute our pamphlet, Muslim Hate Groups on Campus, to his Hillel students, because they (and obviously he as well) needed to be informed about what was actually taking place on campuses across the country. He said he would do this, so I sent him 50 copies.
When the speaking date was set, my office called Gauss to arrange an in-person meeting with him and some Hillel students. Jeffrey Wienir, who runs our campus programs, informed me that he was having trouble setting up such a meeting, because the Hillel students were “to the left” and didn’t want to be in the same room with me. It would require Gauss’s intervention to get any of them to agree. When I arrived at his office a few hours before my speech, we had a brief chat in which he reiterated that he had good working relationships with the Muslim Students Association. Then he introduced me to two students who were willing to meet with me, whose names were Jacob and Josh.
Josh Orol was the co-president of the campus Hillel. His partner, Jacob, was visibly agitated when I entered the room. “Why did you run that ad last year?” he asked, referring to the ad containing the Wall of Lies I had placed in the Tar Heel. I asked him what he objected to. He said its references to the Koran were wrong and it was an attack on a religion. Neither of us could remember what the ad actually said; in fact the only reference to the Koran was that Jerusalem, which the Palestinians now claim is a Muslim holy city, was never mentioned in it. But I jumped right in. “The ad doesn’t attack Muslims,” I said. Then I asked whether he didn’t agree that Islam was problematic in a way that Christianity and Judaism were not. I pointed out that Christians worshipped a carpenter who preached non-violence and never committed a violent act in his life. By contrast, Muslims worshipped a warrior who spread his religion by force, killed those he considered infidels, and had committed genocide against an entire community of Jews – the Qurayza tribe – because they were Jews. To which Jacob responded: “Well, in the Torah, Joshua conducted a war of extermination against the Amalekites.”
“That’s true,” I said, “except for this difference: there are no Amalekites around anymore and there haven’t been for more than a thousand years. But there are Jews, and there are Imams and dictators all over the world screaming for our destruction.” At this point, Josh Orol spoke up to support Jacob: “In the Torah it says that rabbis should decapitate a Jew who does not observe the Sabbath.” “That’s news to me,” I replied. “But when was the last time you heard of a rabbi decapitating anyone, let alone a Jew, for not observing the Sabbath?”
Anxious to break free of this surreal discussion – all too typical of the left – I returned to Jacob’s original question and said: “The reason I wrote the ad was to identify the Palestinian case against Israel as a genocidal lie; namely, that Israel occupies Palestinian land. In fact, Israel was created out of the Turkish Empire. The Turks are not Arabs, let alone Palestinians.” This comment poured oil on the already crackling flames; the conversation became testy and passionate as the two of them claimed that this history didn’t matter. What mattered was “international law” under which Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, according to them, was “illegal” and therefore indefensible. It was the standard PLO/Hamas line. I deliberately didn’t accuse them of spouting the Palestinian line; but whatever I did say provoked an outburst from Josh Orol, who proclaimed with ardor that he considered the head of the Muslim Students Association not only his friend “but my brother.”
I said, “If you consider him your brother, you might ask him whether he believes the Jews have a right to a Jewish state in the land that is Israel and, if he does, would he state that publicly.”
“I could not do that,” Josh replied. “It would be insulting.” This spoke volumes about the suppliant attitude of the co-president of campus Hillel towards Israel’s enemies.
Ari Gauss, who had not spoken until then, said it was time to conclude the conversation. I reached into my pocket and pulled out our pamphlet Muslim Hate Groups on Campus, thinking that Josh Orol should become acquainted with its contents. “Have you seen this?” I said. He hadn’t. I realized then that Gauss hadn’t distributed the pamphlets to his Hillel students as he said he would. “You’ve been remiss,” I said to him. “Yes,” he replied, “I’ve been remiss.”
When I reached the hall where I was to speak, there were about 160 people assembled to hear me, about 60 of them students. I was a little concerned to see that the front rows were filled with students who were obviously Muslim, some with headscarves and at least one with a keffiyeh, the badge of Palestinian jihadists. Security is always an issue for me at such events, since I have been physically attacked on several campuses, and the words used by the left to defame me are easily translatable into incitements to violence. Nonetheless, this was a southern campus, and in my experience such campuses are generally better behaved than those in other regions.
My speech focused on two points: first, that the intentions of Israel’s adversaries in the Middle East are genocidal, their goal being the obliteration of the Jewish state. Second, that this has been the goal of the Arab states and the Palestinians since Israel’s creation in 1948. The rest of my speech was devoted to a historical narrative in which I documented the disinterest of the Palestinians in self-determination or in establishing a state. The 40 members of the MSA and Students for Justice in Palestine who had positioned themselves in the front rows didn’t bother to wait around for the historical review. About fifteen minutes into my talk, they stood up on cue and marched out in unison. They had come only to protest, and were uninterested in hearing the facts or disputing them.
I learned from the report in the Daily Tar Heel the next day that the leader of the walkout was Mariem Massmoudi, a member of the Muslim Students Association and “co-founder” of the “Israeli-Palestinian Dialogue Committee” that Gauss had praised. I also learned, from an article in the Internet magazine The Blaze, that Massmoudi was not merely interested in Muslim culture and religion; she was a political activist and self-styled “revolutionary” whose father was an important figure in the network of Muslim Brotherhood fronts, of which the Muslim Students Association was one. The headline in the Daily Tar Heel – “Student-Led Walkout of Horowitz Lecture Protests ‘Destructive’ Remarks” – gave Massmoudi the public relations victory she wanted. The characterization of what I said as “destructive remarks” was the comment she had given to the reporter about the speech she hadn’t stayed to hear.
This kind of “reporting” is not unusual for campus papers, which are normally run by leftists and whose editors are often as concerned, as are the activists, that the campus community not be exposed to politically incorrect opinions. The article beneath the headline ignored the substance of my speech, quoting only one remark I had made, which turned out to be a useful one. Accompanying the headline report were three column-length attacks on the editorial page, accusing me of being an anti-Muslim bigot. The attacks came from the president of the Muslim Students Association, the president of Students for Justice in Palestine, and the president of the campus Hillel, Josh Orol. It was obviously a coordinated assault.
The piece by Josh Orol was the most damaging, as it came from a fellow Jew who claimed to be pro-Israel. His attack was headlined: “UNC Hillel Won’t Stand for Vilification of Muslim Students.” It began: “As co-president of UNC Hillel, I was surprised to receive an invitation from the Committee for a Better Carolina to publicize David Horowitz’s upcoming speech. I would have hoped that our opinions were already publicly known: UNC Hillel does not support Horowitz’s repeated vilification of Muslims.” The only attempt Orol made to justify the specific claim that I vilified Muslims – rather than Muslim jihadists – was this: “To make the broad claim that Arabs want to kill Jews – and that Islam is a militant religion bent on the destruction of Israel and the United States – is to destroy the principle of pluralism that the freedom of speech is meant to uphold.” Naturally, Orol didn’t quote anything I had said or written – and I have written thousands upon thousands of words on Islam and on the Middle East war. The reason he provided no quote is that there is none. I made no such claims. In my speech, I said the Arab states that attacked Israel in 1948, 1967 and 1973 did so with the intention of destroying the Jewish state and pushing the Jews into the sea. I also said Hamas is a terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of the Jews. Conflating Hamas terrorists with all Muslims is the propaganda goal of Hamas, of its parent organization the Muslim Brotherhood, of the Muslim Students Association, of Students for Justice in Palestine, and of the campus left. This is how the terrorists and Jew-haters protect themselves, and how students like Josh Orol who claim to speak in the name of the Jews become their enablers.
In an attempt to alert the campus community to the slanders it was being fed, and to set the record straight, I wrote a letter to the Daily Tar Heel. The Tar Heel’s editor, Steven Norton, refused to publish my letter, despite his paper’s officially stated commitment to journalistic fairness and “involving . . . seldom heard opinions in our community.” The letter summed up my feelings on this whole disturbing episode:
Apparently, it is easier for the presidents of campus Hillel and the Muslim Students Association to condemn a defender of Israel than to condemn those who call for the destruction of Israel and America, and the murder of their inhabitants. Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Hezbollah, has called for “Death to America” and “Death to Israel,” as has Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran. The spiritual head of the Muslim Brotherhood, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, has said that the Holocaust was a just punishment for the Jews and [he wishes] that the followers of Allah would finish the job that Hitler started.
In their Tar Heel columns, the presidents of MSA, Hillel and Students for Justice in Palestine accuse me of being an anti-Muslim bigot. This is a lie exposed by the Tar Heel’s own reporter, whose one direct quote from my speech had me accurately saying, “There are good Muslims and there are bad Muslims.” I also said that “the majority of Muslims [are] decent, law abiding citizens . . . who want peace.” I then pointed out that there were also good Germans, but that in the end they didn’t make “a damn’s worth of difference.” This is a true statement, and no one would accuse me of being anti-German for making it.
Unfortunately, conflating Muslim terrorists with all Muslims is a typical tactic of campus apologists for jihadists who are at war with Israel and the United States. Opponents of the Islamic jihad against the West, like myself, are routinely accused of being “anti-Muslim,” which is a term designed to shut down debate and make opponents of genocidal movements seem the indecent ones – instead of those who make excuses for them.
Mahmoud Al-Zahar, the co-founder of Hamas and one of its current leaders, has said: “There is no place for you Jews among us, and you have no future among the nations of the world. You are headed for annihilation.” If the Muslim Students Association on this campus does not support Hamas or this statement, its leaders should say so.
This goes for all the Muslim Students Associations on American campuses. If they do not support the destruction of the Jewish state, and if they condemn the Hitlerian sermons of Muslim Brotherhood leaders like Yusuf al-Qaradawi, they should say so. And if they do not, Hillel should have no partnerships or “dialogues” with them, and Hillel students should not think of them as “brothers.”
This was the less-than-satisfactory conclusion of my visit to the University of North Carolina. It pretty well summed up my experience on scores of other campuses I visited to try to counter the campaign to demonize Israel – a campaign spearheaded by campus fronts for the Muslim Brotherhood as part of the holy war the Muslim world is waging against the Jews of the Middle East.
 See Part II, Chapter 5, “Palestinian Wall of Lies,” above.
 Daniel Greenfield, “Muslim Hate Groups on Campus,” January 20, 2012; http://frontpagemag.com/2012/frontpagemag-com/muslim-hate-groups-on-campus-2/
 Mytheos Holt, “UNC Students Walk Out of Pro-Israel Talk – Led by Student Whose Father Is Tied to Muslim Brotherhood,” The Blaze, March 13, 2012; http://www.theblaze.com/stories/unc-students-walk-out-of-pro-israel-talk-led-by-student-whose-father-is-tied-to-muslim-brotherhood/
 Caroline Leland, “Student-led Walk-out of Horowitz Lecture Protests ‘Destructive’ Remarks,” Daily Tar Heel, March 14, 2012; http://www.dailytarheel.com/index.php/article/2012/03/studentled_walkout_of_horowitz_lecture_protests_destructive_remarks