By: Morton A. Klein
July 21, 2011 | 3 comments
ZOA Urges Israel Coalition On Campus To Cancel Speaking Event Featuring Anti-Israel Propagandist Ghaith Al-Omari
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The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has urged the Israel Coalition on Campus (ICC) of which the ZOA is a member, to cancel a July 28 event in Washington, D.C., that gives a platform to a professional anti-Israel speaker, Ghait Al-Omari.
Omari is the advocacy director of the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP), an extremist pro-Palestinian advocacy group. Ghaith Al-Omari has previously served in various positions in Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority (PA), including director of the International Relations Department in the Office of the Palestinian President, and as advisor to Abbas. He was also the lead Palestinian drafter of the Geneva Initiative, an unofficial Israeli /Palestinian peace plan drawn up by non-governmental Israeli and Palestinian figures, which demanded massive further one-sided concessions from Israel. These concessions would include an Israeli return to the 1949 armistice lines with only minor modifications that would have to be approved by the Palestinian Authority and all land retained by Israel over these lines compensated by exchange of Israeli territory of equal size. The ATFP is also a strong supporter of the morally and legally baseless so-called ‘right off return’ of Palestinian refugees of the 1948-9 war and their millions of descendants to Israel. It also supports uprooting hundreds of thousands of Jews in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem from their homes in order to set up a Jew-free Palestinian state. The ZOA has sent a letter to ICC, urging them to cancel this speaking engagement.
The ATFP includes in its staff far-left anti-Israel ideologues like its Senior Fellow, Hussein Ibish, who has sanitized Hamas as an organization “running schools and orphanages,” while saying nothing of its Charter commitment to the destruction of Israel and the global murder of Jews. Recently, he criticized Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu for daring to demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state. (Ibish also labeled U.S. sanctions on Saddam Hussein’s Iraq as “genocidal”; claimed to be “skeptical” that Al Qaeda carried out the 1998 East Africa bombings of U.S. embassies; described President Ronald Reagan’s 1986 strike on Libya after a Libyan terrorist attack on U.SA. servicemen in Europe as a “terrorist” act; described former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright as “vermin” while, conversely, claiming that “the achievements of Mao can hardly be overstated”).
Both ZOA President Morton A. Klein and Director of the ZOA’s Center for Middle East Policy Dr. Daniel Mandel have debated Ibish on TV and elsewhere, responding to his absurd claims that the PA is committed to a peaceful settlement, has stopped incitement, that Israel was founded by terrorists and other lies that simply promote the extreme Arab, Muslim, far-left critique of Israel.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “It is especially shocking that the ICC should give a platform to Omari and the ATFP, thereby legitimizing and giving credibility to their heinous views anti-Israel views. In an era when so much of the world is attempting to delegitimize Israel’s very existence, why is a Jewish group giving a platform to these delegitimizers. The ZOA has objected to the ICC putting in place a training course for student group leaders, faculty members, and other student services professionals that should be designed to prepare Israel supporters on university campuses for the upcoming challenges of a poisonous Palestinian propaganda campaign of delegitimization regarding the Palestinian statehood bid at the UN and the Durban III so-called Anti-Racism Conference. Instead, it can expect activists subjected to a dishonest propaganda onslaught that seeks to sanitize the Palestinian moves against Israel and to thus disarm activists as to the dangers ahead of both the UN statehood bid and the Durban III conference.
“Gaith Al-Omari speaks publicly in a range of venues so pro-Israel activists who wants to discover what he is saying can easily do, just as they can peruse his publications and interview on the internet. What the ZOA cannot understand is why the ICC would pay out of its own pocket the funds to bring Ghaith Al-Omari to disseminate his propaganda to pro-Israel student activists at a conference designed to enable students to counter propaganda. The ICC should be debunking in detail the ATFP’s agenda for the benefit of student activists, not paying for it to be promoted at their own event.”