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Pro-Palestinian junta

"Pro-Palestinian junta" Continued...

Issue: "Save the unions," Oct. 24, 2009

Code Pink also sponsors the U.S. tour of two young Israeli women, Maya Wind and Netta Mishly, who refused to join the Israeli army in defiance against Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory. The duo is scheduled to speak at more than a dozen campuses between Sept. 12 and Oct. 10. So far their message has been well received.

Toameh, who has been writing about Palestinian affairs for The Jerusalem Post since 2002 and has worked for NBC News since 1989, wasn't always well received during his U.S. campus tour. At DePaul University in Chicago in March, he was greeted with fliers for the event covered with swastikas. At another Illinois campus (Toameh says he can't remember which one) he saw fliers with devil-like features added to his photograph. "These people hate Israel so much that they will cheer any group or anyone that is against Israel. It's simply that. It's not that Hamas is so brilliant in their PR campaign. I think it's more out of hatred for Israel," Toameh told me.

Cinnamon Stillwell, the West Coast representative for Campus Watch, agrees with Toameh's assessment: "Hatred of Israel, and in a larger sense, the existence of a Jewish state, is at its heart. Years of propaganda painting Israel as an aggressive, colonialist, apartheid state and the Palestinians as freedom fighters justified in any course of action has taken its toll, to the point where this false narrative has been accepted as the truth, despite all evidence to the contrary. Those who refute the narrative are demonized and intimidated, while those who uphold it are glorified and rewarded. In this way, hatred of Israel has become the prevailing mindset on campus."

Winfield Myers, the director of the Middle East Forum's Campus Watch, says although Hamas supporters are far from a majority on U.S. campuses, their numbers are growing. Many professors-particularly those within the Middle Eastern Studies departments-peddle jihadist views to impressionable students, justifying terrorism for the sake of the oppressed.

Myers named University of California at Berkeley professor Hatem Bazian, who called for an intifada-or Palestinian uprising-against the United States during a rally in San Francisco in 2004, as a chief example.

In May at the University of California in Irvine, the Muslim Student Union hosted a series of speakers who claimed that Zionists are the "new Nazis" and the "party of Satan." A video on the university's website promoting the speaker series included a song in Arabic that said, "With all force we will drive them away. We will restore purity to Jerusalem." Campus administration did nothing in response.

The prospect of receiving Saudi oil money for Middle Eastern Studies programs may be another piece to the pro-Palestinian puzzle. As universities compete for funding, signs of censorship have emerged. Myers points to the recent decision by Yale University Press to remove the controversial Danish cartoons of Muhammad from a book about the controversy, Jytte Klausen's The Cartoons that Shook the World, as a prominent example. The Yale decision came while it courted for funding the director of Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal's foundation.

Hamas long has been on the State Department's list of terrorist organizations, but former President Jimmy Carter believes there's hope for the group, even though its charter permits the murder of Israeli civilians and its funding comes from Iran. Carter met with Hamas leaders in Gaza over the summer and publicly encouraged the United States to remove the group from its terrorist list.

Toameh puts Carter and others in the so-called "pro-Palestinian camp" into the "wishful thinking" category: "These people who are supporting Hamas, or advocating Hamas or acting as speakers for Hamas, they're actually undermining the moderates among the Palestinians." He said analysts should pay closer attention to what Hamas is saying in Arabic.

The United States Institute of Peace, a taxpayer-funded think tank, released a new report in August about Hamas with the purpose of injecting "some gray areas into an issue that is often framed only in black and white terms." The authors claim that Hamas has already "in certain respects" changed and has sent signals regarding its possible coexistence with Israel.

Marc LeVine, a professor of Middle East history at the University of California in Irvine, engaged in similar "wishful thinking" in an article that appeared on Al Jazeera's website: "The claim that Hamas will never accept the existence of Israel has proved equally misinformed, as Hamas leaders explicitly announce their intention to do just that in the pages of The Los Angeles Times or to any international leader or journalist who will meet with them."

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