Palestine Awareness Week — an international event billed as an educational showcase for Palestinian culture — comes to Ann Arbor on February 7th. Like any ethnic event, there’ll be plenty of music, art, food and celebrations.
Unlike any other such event, however, there will also be unabashed glorification of “martyrs” who have slaughtered Israeli civilians and calls for the annihilation of a sovereign nation.
The First Amendment, of course, allows for a broad range of permissible speech, and the attendees of the event are well within their rights to protest the government of Israel. But one would think that any event claiming to raise “awareness” would be forthright enough to not conceal the real aim of its promoters and speakers.
Like many campuses across America, the University of Michigan has planned a busy schedule of events for the week. A simple check of the event’s organizers and speakers reveals an agenda that isn’t hidden very well.
The two principal organizers of the U of M event — the Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM) and Students Allied for Freedom and Equality (SAFE) — may have innocuous enough names, but that only masks their true intentions. Based on their rhetoric and their actions, it’s clear they both support the total destruction of the Jewish state, despite their supposed focus on “promoting an inclusive campus environment that supports and uplifts Palestinians.”
According to the political website, The Hill, “Members of Congress should be extremely wary” of the Palestinian Youth Movement, “a group that has explicitly endorsed the violent activities of a designated terrorist organization.”
That “designated terrorist organization” is the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the notorious group that has been on the U.S. government’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations since 1997. The PFLP has a long history of brutality — including plane hijackings, the murder of a family (including an infant) in their home, and a synagogue attack in Jerusalem that killed 5 people with axes, knives and guns.
The Palestinian Youth Movement has made no secret of its support of the PFLP. It has honored a PFLP leader and has used many of the terrorist group’s identical materials.
The other co-sponsor of the Ann Arbor event, SAFE, also supports a violent overthrow of the State of Israel. Among SAFE’s standard practices are to paste large posters on public buildings of “martyrs” who have killed Jewish Israelis, including civilians. In its current tweets promoting the event, SAFE always concludes with its standard phrase, “Glory to our Martyrs.”
SAFE is the local chapter of Students for Justice for Palestine (SJP), a group with a long track record of hosting speakers who advocate violence. At Wayne State University, a SJP speaker advocated actions “by any means necessary including armed resistance.” Some SJP chapters have called upon supporters to cut off any cooperation or communication with pro-Israel groups, and have even advocated the expulsion of a Hillel at a campus.
The keynote speaker of the event is Mohammed El-Kurd, a prominent Palestinian writer. El-Kurd has become a favorite on the campus lecture circuit where he makes a six-figure living bashing Israel everywhere he goes. According to the ADL, El-Kurd “has accused Israelis of eating the organs of Palestinians and of having a particular lust for Palestinian blood. He has compared Israelis to Nazis, negated the historic Jewish connection to the Land of Israel, and vilified Zionism and Zionists,” whom he describes as “genocidal,” “murderous” and “brutal” and a “blood cult.”
It should thus be no surprise that “Awareness Week” will be nothing more than an Israel bash-fest with the singular purpose of convincing people that Israel must be destroyed by any means, including violent overthrow.
So expect the usual, predictable script during that week:
We will hear the usual chants of “Free Palestine” and “from the river to the sea,” which is just the latest trendy way of saying “Destroy Israel.”
There will certainly be silence about the celebrations of the recent shooting attacks that gunned down 7 Israelis and the wounding of 5 others as they were leaving a Jerusalem synagogue on Shabbat, and then, just hours later, the shooting of a father and son by a 13-year-old boy. The brutal killings — literally on Holocaust Remembrance Day — were celebrated with fireworks displays and handing out candy in the streets. The mother of the 13-year-old was beaming with pride at the celebration.
There will be no acknowledgement of the duplicity of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who says one thing to the world and another to Arab audiences.
To the world: “I affirm to you that we are raising our youth, our children, our grandchildren on a culture of peace, and we are endeavoring to bring about security, freedom and peace for our children.”
To an Arab audience: “We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem. This is pure blood, clean blood, blood on its way to Allah. Every martyr will be in heaven, every wounded will get his reward.”
There will be nothing about the “martyr fund” which provides financial assistance to terrorists who kill Israelis, as well as support to their families.
There will surely be references to the recent attack by Israeli forces in Jenin, while omitting the essential fact that the raids were targeting Palestinian Islamic Jihad operatives who were planning a large-scale attack against Israelis.
There be no disavowing the terror of Hamas and Hezbollah, whose charters contain their express intent to annihilate Israel.
Palestine Awareness Week in Ann Arbor and elsewhere will be nothing short of a call for all out war against Israel. Make no mistake about that. There won’t be any calls for peace negotiations, or a two-state solution or nonviolent co-existence. The only call will be for a one-state solution — “Palestine” — once Israel is fully annihilated and its inhabitants are expelled or killed.
So can we please drop the charade of calling it Palestinian Awareness Week? Instead, give it a name based on what its organizers are really aiming to accomplish — like Let’s Wipe Israel Off the Map Week.