In a recent post, I documented how American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) ejected me from its annual conference Thanksgiving weekend because it was afraid I would provide negative coverage. For background on the harassing treatment I received, see Fearing Negative Coverage, 'American Muslims for Palestine' Conference Ejects Legal Insurrection Reporter.
Now we know why AMP wanted to cleanse the audience of media who could report accurately on what was going on: The AMP conference was an anti-Israel, anti-Semitic hatefest, and the keynote speaker was Democratic Representative Rashida Tlaib, who has worked with the group on many occasions.
AMP – Key Anti-Israel Connector
Though it has a long history of opaque funding, staff overlap with now-shuttered 'charities' found to be connected to terrorist groups, and persistently disseminating classic anti-Semitism, AMP managed to maintain its connections with 'intersectional' social justice activists by hijacking the language of human rights and claiming to fight for "oppressed peoples everywhere" (in the words of AMP speaker Linda Sarsour).
You can read more about AMP and the groups it works with in some of my earlier posts:
- Investigation: Anti-Israel groups plan disruption of Christians United for Israel Annual Summit
- Anti-Israel groups lock down planning for disruption inside Christians United For Israel Summit
- VIDEO: Anti-Israel Protesters Surround and Try To Intimidate Journalist Outside CUFI Summit
- Investigation: Anti- ICE "Never Again Action" Not The Spontaneous Grassroots Group It Claims To Be
- Investigation: 'Students for Justice in Palestine' Locked Down Its Annual Conference, What Was It Hiding?
- Anti-Zionist Jews ban 'Jewish Pride' flag but embrace Palestinian flag in name of "intersectionality"
AMP's Annual Anti-Israel Hatefest
As in the past, AMP's 2019 Palestine Conference was chock full of historical falsehoods and thinly veiled anti-Semitism. This is shocking to precisely nobody; this year's speakers' roster featured some of the most noxious anti-Israel agitators active today, including 'intersectional' activists:
- CodePink national co-director Ariel Gold, freshly returned from yet another of CodePink's mullah-enabling tours of Iran (see Code Pink sells out women and exploits Jews on propaganda tour of Iran)
- Ex-CNN correspondent Marc Lamont Hill, who was fired after repeating Hamas' favorite adage—"From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free"—during a speech at the UN (see CNN Fires Marc Lamont Hill After Calling for Israel's Destruction in UN Speech)
- Students for Justice in Palestine founder and UC Berkeley lecturer Hatem Bazian, who has called for an intifada in the U.S. and is well-known for infusing lessons with anti-Israel propaganda
- Columbia University professor Joseph Massad, who infamously wrote an article for Al Jazeera in which he charged that Zionists collaborated with the Nazis in exterminating non-Zionist Jews during World War II
- Friends of Sabeel North America director Tarek Abuata, who recently forced security to carry him bodily from the Christians United for Israel conference after he began shrieking exhortations for the "people of God" to "wake up" to the claim that "Zionism is racism" right in the middle of the event (see Investigation: How anti-Israel groups tried to turn failure at CUFI Summit into social media success)
Despite the behavior of her fellow AMP speakers, when Rep Tlaib took the stage at the annual Palestine Conference, she gushed about her pride in being invited to keynote, saying:
I'm incredibly proud to be here. The incredible work that all of you have done have opened doors for myself, somebody like me to serve in the United States Congress.
As Rep. Tlaib continued, she demonstrated a favorite rhetorical trick of the 'intersectional' far-left: "movement hijacking"—the appropriation and exploitation of unrelated social justice causes (frequently by BDS supporters) in order to subsume those causes within a broader left-wing movement in which anti-Israel activists are then revered as leaders.
I would remember the history here in this country...still, the oppression of our black brothers and sisters. Every time I saw the different color license plates, the dehumanization at the checkpoints, everything. So interconnected...So when you think about the border, you gotta understand how interconnected it is with the oppression, of what's happening in Falastine, the oppression that's happening to our people. When I see...like, the police going after, killing innocent people, innocent, treating African American brothers and sisters like they're disposable, I think of Filastine and what happens to our brothers and sisters in the occupation.
Tlaib's remarks echoed longstanding efforts by anti-Israel activists to stoke racial tension against Israel by falsely accusing it of being responsible for local police shootings of blacks in the U.S. As we documented, that campaign went into overdrive during the Ferguson riots, after the Michael Brown shooting in the summer of 2014.
You can watch Rep Tlaib's entire AMP speech here and below.
Anti-Semitism often manifests through conspiracy theories about Jewish power, money, and malevolent motivations. The AMP's Palestine Convention recycled these themes, especially in the rousing speech given by Linda Sarsour.
The notoriously anti-Israel 'intersectional' activist and AMP event regular held forth on Friday November 29. Her remarks, delivered to raucous applause from the AMP audience, seemed to be inspired by David Duke; in her lecture, she asserted forcefully that "Jewish supremacy" was the underlying motivation for creating a Jewish state in the land of Israel:
Ask them [Zionists] this! How can you be against white supremacy in the United States of America, and the idea of living in a supremacist state based on race and class, but then support a state like Israel that is built on supremacy, that is built on the idea that Jews are supreme to everybody else?
You can see some of her speech here and below:
a look at his Facebook wall shows he has left up another video, so it is not a blanket removal of all conference videos.
Later, Sarsour posted a justification for her words, clearly attempting some damage control.
Reinterpreting historical events to prove the uniform evil of Zionists and fit an anti-Israel narrative is key for AMP. Unsurprisingly, I saw dozens of historical distortions during my short time at the conference. They are too numerous to list here, but I will recount a few of them.
I noticed several falsehoods in the few minutes of the one conference lecture I was able to watch before the organization demanded I leave. The session was called "Palestine 102: Post-Nakba to Oslo" and presented by former Al Jazeera producer Rawan Damen.
For example, Damen presented the audience with a photo showing a family of Yemenite Jews journeying to Israel from Yemen. According to Damen, the photo was dated from 1882. At that time, motivated by centuries of Muslim persecution and a strong belief that the Messiah was finally on his way, a group of approximately 5,000 Yemenite Jews left Yemen to live in the land of Israel.
But instead of mentioning these motivations, or the relatively small size of emigrating group, Damen asserted that these Jews represented the first "settler-colonialist Zionists."
Minutes later, Daman claimed (without offering any proof or citations) that the first Zionist land purchases in Ottoman Palestine occurred in 1911, and that these purchases somehow necessitated the eviction of 60,000 Palestinian farmers from those lands.
But multiple historians have shown that the first Zionist land purchases in the area began in the 1800s. And, as the historian Yehoshua Porath notes in his 1977 volume "The Palestinian Arab National Movement: From Riots to Rebellion", until the 1930s, most of these purchases were in sparsely populated areas; poor immigrating Jews needed inexpensive land, so they put down roots in places where the soil was unsuitable for growing the area's agricultural staple, corn.
Moreover, it's estimated that only approximately 30,000 Jews came to Israel during this period (half of whom left after only a few years), so for Damen's Palestinian exile figure to be correct, every single Jewish immigrant (including children) would have had to (without the benefit of any military assistance) physically remove two Palestinians from their homes and prevent them from returning.
In another glaring falsification, an AMP pamphlet I collected called "A Synopsis of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict" promoted a previously-debunked claim that often appears on 9/11 Truther websites such as GlobalResearch: that Israel purposefully attacked the American naval vessel USS Liberty.
Amazingly, the very memo AMP quoted in its pamphlet concluded the exact opposite of AMP's implication; AMP deliberately included only half of quoted sentence. The first part of the quoted sentence reads, "The attack was not made in malice toward the U.S. and was by mistake..." And as documented by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis, reports by the U.S. Navy Court of Inquiry, presidential advisor Clark Clifford, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the National Security Agency, and the House Armed Services Committee all concluded that the attack was a case of mistaken identity.
Many elements of the AMP convention seemed to causally harken to negative stereotypes about Jews and Zionists. Even the convention's official spokesman and legal affairs officer (an AMP-Wisconsin chapter official called Munjed Ahmad) who led the charge to expel me from the event, himself alluded to the old 'scheming Jew" canard when he huffed to me in anger that he and AMP are not "sneaky and underhanded, unlike some others." When I asked him if he was talking about Jews, he declined to answer.
Similarly, the 'sneaky' trope apparently appeared as part of conference programming. One participant described learning about Zionists' "dirty tricks."
— (((kweansmom))) (@kweansmom) December 3, 2019
Other recognizable tropes were printed in the conference materials.
Here's the #AMP19 convention program, where @AMPalestine once again displays its rabid antisemitism for all to see: "Zionism has come in like a disease to destroy the purity of Al-Quds."
cc. @ADL @JGreenblattADL https://t.co/vbv5jbShix pic.twitter.com/fiIXwHg0Rz
— Dr. Petra Marquardt-Bigman (@WarpedMirrorPMB) December 3, 2019
Speakers echoed the classic canard of Jewish control and influence. Speaker and assistant professor at Lafayette University Hafsa Kanjwal claimed that the American pro-India Hindu lobby "learned from the best, they learned from the Zionists" in thwarting "Kashmiri activists".
There are dozens more examples of AMP's use or endorsement of falsehoods, distortions, conspiracies, and anti-Semitic stereotypes—too many to list or explain here.
Not a single conference panel focused on the horrors the Hamas and Palestinian Authority governments have inflicted upon Palestinians; anti-Palestinian legislation in Jordan; on statecraft and strategizing about building a successful Palestinian government; or on even substantive critique of Israeli policies.
Instead, the entire conference focused on motivating its attendees to work for the destruction of the Jewish state—on the basis that Israel and Zionists uniquely practice all of the greatest evil systems known to mankind (Nazism, fascism, Apartheid).
Rep. Rashida Tlaib's "proud" presence at AMP is an endorsement of the falsehoods and bigotry AMP fosters.
Samantha Mandeles is Senior Researcher and Outreach Director at the Legal Insurrection Foundation.