Moral Low Ground

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Obama Fundraiser Hala Hijazi Under Fire for Speaking Truth about Israeli War Crimes

Hala Hijazi (Photo: League of Women Voters of San Francisco)

Hala Hijazi, an Obama fundraiser who has reportedly personally brought in as much as $200,000 for the president’s reelection bid, is taking fire from conservatives over her history of criticizing Israel. The self-described “Muslim Palestinian-American” who works for the San Francisco City Attorney’s office, has been accused of “highly charged press attacks on the Jewish State.”

The Washington Free Beacon, a new conservative publication which, like Moral Low Ground claims to serve the public interest by “reporting news and information that currently is not being fully covered by other news organizations,” recently ran a piece that thoroughly documents Hijazi’s supposed history of Israel-bashing.

The Free Beacon’s Adam Kredo seems to think that Hijazi’s stance against Israeli crimes could become a campaign issue. Kredo may be right, for in this country, any criticism of Israel is the third rail of politics. Those who do so are labeled as anti-Semites, or if they’re Jewish, the much-despised “self-hating Jew.”

Let’s examine some of the accusations that Kredo levels against Hijazi to see if he might not be on to something. I’d like to have covered all of them but frankly, doing so would require a book-length blog post, and nobody wants to read that. So…

Kredo writes that Hijazi “has gone on record accusing Israel of war crimes.”

Well, Israel has been on the receiving end of well over 200 UN resolutions— more than any other nation by far. As much press as Arab terrorism against Israel gets, hardly anything is mentioned of the fact that Israel was literally founded though a concerted terror campaign against both the indigenous Arab population of Palestine– which was more than 90% of what would become Israel 100 years ago and still more than 60% at the time of Israel’s declaration of independence– as well as against the British occupiers of the Palestinian mandate.

The 1946 bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem by the Jewish terror group Irgun, for example, killed 91 innocent people, including 28 Britons and 17 Jews. Menachem Begin, the Irgun commander and future Israeli prime minister, was responsible for this horrific act of terrorism and many others. Israel has infuriated Britain by continuing to shamefully celebrate the anniversary of the King David Hotel barbarism.

Then there’s the Nakba, the 1948-49 ethnic cleansing of more than 700,000 Palestinians in order to secure the borders of the newly-declared Jewish state of Israel. Many Palestinians were “persuaded” to leave their homeland through a concerted campaign of Jewish terror which included forced evictions and the slaughter of innocent civilians, such as the massacre at Deir Yassin. As Joseph Weitz, director of the Jewish National Land Fund declared: “Among ourselves it must be clear that there is no room for both people in this country… and there is no way besides transferring the Arabs from here to neighboring countries, to transfer them all… we must not leave a single village, a single tribe.”

Indeed, David Ben-Gurion, the “George Washington of Israel,” candidly admitted that Israel was a stolen country:

“If I were an Arab leader, I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural: we have taken their country. Sure, God promised it to us, but what does that matter to them?… There has been anti-Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They only know but one thing: we have come here and stolen their country. Why would they accept that?”

During the Nakba, more than 400 Palestinian towns and villages were cleansed of their Arab populations or destroyed. If that doesn’t constitute “war crimes,” what does?

Israeli war crimes have continued throughout the Jewish state’s 64-year existence, right up to the present time. Kredo gives this quote from Hala Hijazi: “As Americans we cannot allow the humanitarian crisis in Gaza to continue… The death of children and mothers and the Gaza blockade lack any moral justification and humanity.” 

The 2008-2009  Israeli invasion and blockade of Gaza in response to years of sustained rocket attacks from Palestinian resistance groups– who unfortunately resort to terrorism because they are massively outgunned thanks to billions of dollars in US aid to the Jewish state– was indeed characterized by the slaughter of large numbers of Palestinian civilians. Over 1,400 Palestinians were killed in the Israeli campaign, including 926 civilians– 429 of them women and children. A grand total of 13 Israelis died during the operation, and four of these were from “friendly fire.” That’s a 100:1 ratio. As for the blockade, it was condemned by the UN and the international community (UK Prime Minister David Cameron famously called all of Gaza a “prison camp”) for its crippling effects on the people of Gaza.

Among the items Israel banned from entering Gaza: canned goods, plastic sheeting, toys, books, electric appliances, auto parts, fabrics, threads, needles, light bulbs, candles, matches, books, musical instruments, crayons, clothing, shoes, mattresses, sheets, blankets, cutlery, crockery, cups, glasses, animals, pasta, tea, coffee, sausages, chocolate, sesame seeds, nuts, margarine, salt, artificial sweetener, legumes, yeast, diapers, sanitary napkins and toilet paper.

“The idea,” said Dov Weisglass, advisor to then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, “is to put the Palestinians on a diet” until their democratically-elected leaders give up resisting Israeli occupation.

Kredo slams Hijazi for calling the election of Ariel Sharon– an “Israeli war hero” in his view– “a sad day in Palestine.” It certainly was! A little bit about Sharon’s “heroism”: In 1953, as commander of the notorious Unit 101, Sharon led indiscriminate raids on Palestinian civilians that resulted in many innocent deaths. Unit 101 attacked the El-Bureij refugee camp in the Gaza Strip in August 1953, slaughtering 43 Palestinians, including seven women. The Israelis threw bombs through windows of huts in which refugees were sleeping; when the shocked and terrorized victims tried to flee for their lives they were mowed down with automatic weapons. The UN Mixed Armistice Commission called the attack “an appalling case of deliberate mass murder.”

Two months later, Sharon’s Unit 101 attacked the Jordanian village of Qibya in retaliation for the killing of an Israeli mother and her two children. Sharon’s orders were chilling: “maximum killing and damage to property.” His troops enthusiastically complied. According to Time magazine, the Israelis shot “every man, woman and child they could find. The cries of the dying could be heard amidst the explosions.” Unit 101 killed 69 Arabs, including dozens of women and children, and destroyed 45 houses, a school and a mosque.

These are but some of the past crimes of Sharon, the “Israeli war hero” who George W. Bush called a “man of peace.” Sharon may be a “war hero” to many Israelis, but to Palestinians– and to much of the international community– he is a war criminal.

Kredo has every right to criticize Hijazi’s criticism of Israel, and to attempt to paint her support for the Palestinian liberation struggle against internationally condemned Israeli ethnic cleansing and occupation as an electoral liability in the United States. It is. But if more Americans knew the truth about the depth and scope of Israeli crimes against humanity, perhaps this could one day change. Kredo, with insidious cleverness, pushes all the right buttons– pro-Palestinian, San Francisco, Israeli war crimes, Muslim— to fire up his reactionary audience. But behind every one of Hala Hijazi’s assertions lies irrefutable, documented truth. And in the end, the truth is the most powerful weapon of all.

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