Tuesday, May 24th | 24 Iyyar 5782

March 24, 2022 11:48 am

Will Cornell University Tolerate Anti-Israel Hate?

avatar by Zoe Bernstein


The clock tower at Cornell University. Photo: Clarice Oliveira.

On Friday, March 25, Cornell University’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter and the Department of Near Eastern Studies plan to co-sponsor an event titled “A Conversation With Mohammed El-Kurd.”

It is inappropriate and deeply upsetting to see a Cornell department attaching their name to a speaker like El-Kurd.

As a proud Jew and passionate Zionist, I implore my peers to do their due diligence in educating themselves in order to create an inclusive and accepting community on campus. And the Cornell administration should request that the Department of Near Eastern Studies remove their name from this event.

Mohammed El-Kurd is a Palestinian journalist, writer, and activist, infamous for making libelous and inflammatory remarks about Jewish people and the state of Israel.

As HonestReporting has documented for The Algemeiner:

El-Kurd [previously] posted a video to Twitter that he claimed proved Israelis were “readying themselves” to “invade” the Al-Aqsa Mosque. In reality, the clip showed Jews praying at the Western Wall. El-Kurd also disseminated a fake story about a stabbing attack by Israeli “settlers.”

While I am extremely grateful that we live in a country that supports and celebrates free speech, it is crucial to contextualize speech, such as El-Kurd’s, that is misguided and harmful. He has not just equated Israelis with Nazis but has done so in the vilest of ways, alleging that they “are the sadistic barbaric neonazi [sic] pigs that claim to be indigenous to our land,” and then stated that “​​I dont care who this offends they have completely internalized the ways of the nazis.”

It is indisputable that the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is extremely tense, personal, and emotional; however, to unleash ad hominem attacks and make sweeping generalizations about millions of people and then to subsequently proclaim not to care who it offends, is not behavior that should be welcomed on any decent college campus.

Furthermore, El-Kurd has made it a habit of speaking grotesquely about Israelis, claiming that they have an “unquenchable thirst for Palestinian blood” and that “they [Israelis] harvest organs of the martyred [Palestinians], feed their warriors our own.”

If that was not enough, El-Kurd has tweeted that “dishonesty has always been integral to the Zionist project,” and “f*** the genocidal death cult that is Zionism.”

These comments are not only ignorant but incite hate, are counterfactual, and more so, libelous.

In further racist language — that a university would not allow if directed at any other group — El-Kurd has also asked: “How are Israelis gonna say they’re indigenous to Palestine but can’t walk outside without getting sunburned?” El-Kurd questions the indigeneity of the Jewish people, rewriting history to push his hateful agenda.

Zionism is simply the movement supporting Jewish self-determination in the land of Israel; there were no hidden intentions or underlying plans to displace anyone, nor to stage any covert or hostile takeover. The only reason there is not a Palestinian state is because when one was created in 1948 by the UN Partition Plan, the Palestinians and Arab states rejected it, trying to commit genocide against all the Jews in the area. When they lost their war of extermination, they lost their state. And the Palestinians have turned down repeated offers for a state, because they do not wish to renounce terrorism, or their ultimate goal of Israel’s destruction.

El-Kurd has tweeted that “There is no geography in which a two-state solution is conceivable,” despite multiple proposed plans that detail just the opposite. Furthermore, proclaiming that the “explicit goal of the Zionist project has always been to replace the native with the settler” is a lie that strips the more than half of Israeli Jews who are of Mizrahi descent of their identity — not to mention the fact that Jews are indigenous to the land of Israel.

As members of the Cornell University community, we are committed to Ezra Cornell’s vision of “any person, any study,” and accordingly, should welcome different people and different perspectives. However, when those people and perspectives come from a place of hate and a demonization of others, we must examine them critically and view their opinions and “truths” in comparison to history and fact.

Zoe Bernstein is a sophomore at Cornell University and a CAMERA fellow and delegate to the National Council of Fellows 2021-2022.

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