Janna Jihad and Professional Israel-Haters Do Washington, DC (Part Two)

I will always come from a place of love, a place of humanity, and equality. That’s what Detroit taught me,” stated Representative Rashida Tlaib at Capitol Hill’s Longworth House Office Building on July 24. Many would make other associations with crime-ridden Detroit and the Israel-hating Tlaib, but such Orwellian language corresponded to her sponsored panel and its Palestinian propaganda child-star, Janna Jihad, whom we examined in Part One.

Tlaib had granted the necessary Congressional member approval for hosting a public event in Congress to American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), a vile anti-Semitic, anti-Israel organization, and the gathering was largely like-minded. Among some 50 people appeared the Jewish Israel-hater Ariel Gold, National Co-director of the pro-Hamas Code Pink, an organizer of Jihad’s American speaking tour. AMP’s Associate Director of Outreach and Grassroots Organizing Taher Herzallah filmed the event. The night before, he had continued his radical anti-Semitic history with anti-Israel tirades at a city-sponsored movie screening condemned for its antisemitism in Washington, DC’s Takoma Park, Maryland, suburb.

The audience included many faces well-known to this author, like Carolyn Karcher, a Jewish, anti-Zionist retired Temple University professor who is now a leader of the local chapter of the radical Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP). Similarly Tom Getman, a former director of World Vision’s Gaza and West Bank operations who contributed to that charity organization’s bias against Israel, also attended. The CATO Institute’s libertarian sharia apologist Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad chatted with the Palestinian-American lawyer for jihadists, Ashraf Nubani, Ahmad’s fellow organizer of a 2014 anti-Israel panel in a McLean, Virginia, high school.

One woman attendee unknown to this author embodied the link between AMP’s panel and the previous day’s Jihad event at Washington, DC’s anti-Israel Jerusalem Fund. This author, during audience questions, had inquired into Jihad’s views on her terrorism-supporting clan, particularly her aunt, Ahlam Tamimi, the mastermind behind the August 9, 2001 suicide bombing at Jerusalem’s Sbarro pizzeria. This question provoked audience outrage, during which the woman condemned this author for having “dehumanized” Jihad (during a chance encounter in the Longworth cafeteria before the AMP panel, she also obscenely gestured to this author).

While the Jerusalem Fund deceptively excised from the online event video the tumultuous episode of this author’s question, AMP’s online event video retained this author’s similar inquiry concerning Palestinian terrorism. In response, Jihad repeated from the previous day her condemnation of Israel as a callous killer of children, but, unlike at the Jerusalem Fund, avoided endorsing terrorism. Meanwhile this author had also asked her fellow panelist, Brian Avery, to offer his thoughts on Palestinian suicide bombings against Israel.

Avery is namely a former activist with the terrorism/BDS-supporting International Solidarity Movement (ISM) whom Israeli soldiers shot in the head during his 2003 stay in the West Bank town of Nablus. An Avery email had related how his ISM activism included “lodging in the homes of the families of individuals who chose suicide bombing as their method of resisting the occupation.” Such sit-ins aimed to prevent Israeli house demolition reprisals for terrorism, a controversial policy in Israel whose deterrent effect is much debated.

After farcically describing his ISM “public diplomacy” as “humanizing” a Palestinian “boogey people” supposedly maligned as doing “scary evil things,” panelist Avery offered a laughable response to this author. “The suicide bombers, they are basically child soldiers convinced to do something by basically gangsters in the community,” Avery stated in complete denial of a rather lucrativePalestinian jihad “culture of death.” “None of the families want it, when their kids go do that it is like almost an embarrassment. They are just shocked, like what did we do wrong,” he stated, as if Palestinian authorities and society did not lionize terrorism in public place names.

Appearing in the middle of the AMP event, the panel’s congressional sponsor Tlaib likewise tried to mask her warped views on Israel and Jews with a friendly veneer. AMP Development Director Government Relations Director Jamal Najjab, also previously known to this author, contributed to her upbeat appearance by leading audience singing of “Happy Birthday” for her 43rd birthday. Absurdly, this BDS-supporting legislator claimed that her policy recommendations are “going to make Israelis safer too.”

By contrast, Tlaib, while accusing her congressional colleagues of ignorance about Israel, echoed the subsequent remarks of Emily Siegel, whose BDS and anti-Israel activism ultimately led to her prohibition from Israel. Tlaib slandered Israeli border controls for Israeli citizens and Palestinians as “based on racism,” not security, like “what happened to blacks in America.” Siegel likewise contended that these controls formed part of Israel’s “overarching racist and discriminatory system of repression.”

However, many of the panelists focused not on claimed Israeli wrongdoing against Palestinians, but rather on American citizens, which was the subject of a new AMP report released at the event. AMP National Policy Director Osama Abuirshaid, a vitriolic anti-Semitic Hamas supporter, in his event introduction charged that American aid to Israel violated “America First” policies. His language echoed past anti-Semitic “Israel-first” accusations of the longtime, perfervid anti-Israel activist Josh Ruebner, who introduced the report. Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) Deputy Legal Director Maria Lahood similarly demanded that American legislators not “put the interests of a foreign country over the interests of the rights of U.S. citizens.”

Lahood additionally peddled anti-Israel myths promoted by her pro-BDS CCR in the past, like those concerning the 2003 death of American ISM activist Rachel Corrie in the Gaza strip. Similar to Avery, she had deliberately entered a combat zone in order to impede Israeli military operations. Falling debris killed her when an Israeli bulldozer demolished a house during obstacle clearance operations in a restricted security zone that had seen numerous terrorist attacks.

Despite false accusations promulgated by groups like CCR, extensive investigations by Israeli courts and military authorities had determined that the Israeli army bulldozer driver could not see Corrie. Therefore the Israeli judiciary cleared him of any wrongdoing in a subsequent civil suit. Yet Lahood repeated treacly appeals that “each of us have even a fraction of the courage and compassion” of anti-Israel fallen like Corrie.

Lahood also lauded the highly dubious “humanitarian aid” of the 2010 “Gaza freedom flotilla,” a propaganda stunt that tried to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza coastal waters, a weapons smuggling route. Israeli naval forces intercepted this seven-ship flotilla after a bloody seizure of one ship, the passenger ship Mavi Marmara, filled not with supplies, but violent Hamas-supporting activists. Subsequent Israeli inspection in the Ashdod port of the flotilla’s four cargo ships exposed as worthless much of their contents, such as out-of-date medications or improperly packed items. The Israelis then trucked any remaining valuable supplies into Gaza in the normal processing of Gaza humanitarian aid that the Israelis had previously offered to the flotilla.

Tlaib’s AMP panel and Jihad’s Jerusalem Fund presentation the previous day indicate the strengths and weakness of current campaigns to delegitimize Israel. Troubling, such agitation has moved from fringe private groups to mainstream congressional corridors of power. Yet the unconvincing responses of Jihad and others to critical questions show that these agitators, however much they strive to obtain a patina of respectability, remain deeply afraid of the truth.

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