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Deported Jihad Mastermind Reveals What the Palestinian Cause is Really All About

Deported Jihad Mastermind Reveals What the Palestinian Cause is Really All About
It’s not about establishing a Palestinian state, says Sami al-Arian.
By Robert Spencer

If the Palestinian Arabs really wanted a state, they would have accepted one of the many offers that have been made to them to establish one, going back to 1948. What they really want to do is destroy Israel utterly, in accord with the succinct Qur’anic command: “Drive them out from where they drove you out” (2:191). It is actually a historical myth that the Israelis drove the Arabs out; the Arab Higher Committee told them to leave, but that fact has been obscured by decades of propaganda. Now, however, no less a luminary than Sami al-Arian, a former U.S. academic and darling of the Left, has revealed the truth: the goal of the Palestinian jihad is not a Palestinian state, but the demise of the Jewish state.

Speaking on Al Jazeera on July 30, al-Arian said: “In my view, the Palestinian cause is not about creating a state, like everybody says. It is not about a one-state solution or a two-state solution. The Palestinian cause has to do with the very presence of Zionism in the region. Therefore, our greatest strategic goal, in the meantime, we can take steps, but the greatest strategic goal is to dismantle the State of Israel, which means uprooting Zionism from Palestine.”

Sami al-Arian has been an enemy of Israel for a long time. A former professor at the University of South Florida, he pleaded guilty back in 2006 to a charge of “conspiracy to make or receive contributions of funds to or for the benefit of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a Specially Designated Terrorist” organization. He was then deported from the United States, but he remains a darling of American academia. In Dec. 2022, Indiana University featured him as a speaker. In 2021, according to JNS, al-Arian organized a conference that was co-sponsored by the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School for International Studies. Conference speakers denounced Israel as the “apartheid Jewish Zionist colonial state” and called for its eradication. The program, JNS reported, was “replete with Palestinian propaganda, revisionist history, and blatant anti-Semitism and anti-Israel vitriol.”

At that conference, Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s al-Arian denounced Israel in the hysterically false terms that are now becoming familiar in America thanks to the likes of Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Mogadishu) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Ramallah): “There is no doubt we are talking about a settler, colonialist movement. What we see here today is an attempt to depopulate the indigenous people, and bring in as many Jews from around the world and try to bring a system that is properly being identified now as apartheid. There is no doubt about this.”

Israel, al-Arian thundered, was a “racist movement,” a “Zionist onslaught” that was directed toward replacing the “indigenous people.” The solution? Israel’s total destruction: “the essence of the struggle should be to dismantle this structure.”

Al-Arian has been quite clear about his views for decades. In 1991, during a speech in Chicago, al-Arian screamed: “The Quran is our constitution. Jihad is our path … Victory to Islam… Death to Israel… Revolution… revolution till the victory.”

Showing he hadn’t changed, in mid-December 2020, al-Arian spoke via Zoom at the Fourth International Conference on the Muslim Ummah. There al-Arian also called for “defeating and dismantling the Zionist project,” adding: “We cannot pursue an ummah project without actually attaining our real independence. We cannot attain our real independence without dealing with the problem of Israel….As long as Israel exists, the ummah will stay weak and fragmented, and disunited and divided and dependent and under control.”

Numerous American academics and other Leftists have counted al-Arian as a friend for years and were anxious to portray him as a victim of “Islamophobia.” Before al-Arian pleaded guilty, he was dismissed from his post at the University of South Florida, whereupon Georgetown Professor John Esposito claimed that al-Arian was merely falling victim to “anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bigotry.”

Al-Arian himself pushed all the right buttons as well, declaring: “I’m a minority. I’m an Arab, I’m Palestinian. I’m a Muslim. That’s not a popular thing to be these days. Do I have rights, or don’t I have rights?” In March 2002, Nicholas Kristof went to bat for the professor in the New York Times: “The point is not whether one agrees with Professor Al-Arian, a rumpled academic with a salt-and-pepper beard who is harshly critical of Israel (and also of repressive Arab countries) — but who also denounces terrorism, promotes inter-faith services with Jews and Christians, and led students at his Islamic school to a memorial service after 9/11 where they all sang ‘God Bless America.’ No, the larger point is that a university, even a country, becomes sterile when people are too intimidated to say things out of the mainstream.”

Phil Donahue fawned over al-Arian on his show. “So, one more time, sir,” he said to the professor, “and I know that you’re probably getting tired of these same questions — ‘death to Israel’ did not mean you wanted to kill Jews, do I understand your position?” After Al-Arian assured him of his pacifistic intentions, Phil went on to allege that “the law of innocent until proven guilty doesn’t seem to exist for Professor Sami Al-Arian.” He worried for al-Arian’s safety: “You are swimming upstream, professor, and this must be quite a shock to you. I know that your life has been threatened. I assume you have security.” In a 2002 defense of al-Arian in Salon, Eric Boehlert wrote: “The al-Arian story reveals what happens when journalists, abandoning their role as unbiased observers, lead an ignorant, alarmist crusade against suspicious foreigners who in a time of war don’t have the power of the press or public sympathy to fight back.”

None of those people are apologizing now that al-Arian has revealed beyond any doubt what he is all about. Now, why is that?

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