After noticing a rather inflammatory video in my facebook feed, I decided to construct a response.
Throughout his monologue, Kasim Hafeez makes many statements that are either naive, ignorant, or just plain inaccurate. It is also perplexing that such material would be so casually thrown around in the social media realm after the recent wave of attacks against American Muslims.
Hafeez mentions his seemingly utopian visit to Israel, where he “didn’t see apartheid.” This could be because he didn’t bother traveling to the West Bank, where he would have witnessed segregated roads, segregated buses, Arab-only military checkpoints, discriminatory distribution of water and other resources, forced evictions, and demolition of Palestinian homes. Here is a very brief introduction to Israeli apartheid:
After reviewing the reports provided above, it becomes clear that apartheid exists in the West Bank, but even within Israel itself, not all citizens are equal.
Contrary to Hafeez’s statement, Israel did create the refugee crisis, according to the first-hand account of a former Israeli prime minister:
There are myriad additional sources documenting the Nakba. Denying this tragic event is a disservice to the hundreds of thousands of indigenous people who were either massacred or displaced indefinitely. In short, this is a different perspective on the Israel/ Palestine conflict:
Regarding the source of the original video
Just like “Trump University”, “Prager University” is not an actual university. It is a Zionist propaganda operation founded by Dennis Prager, a conservative pundit who has used an oversimplified worldview based on centuries-old Eurocentric and white supremacist notions to paint an entire group of people as savages. Even the Anti-Defamation League, which usually has a pro-Israel bias, has sharply condemned Prager for his outlandish bigotry.
Aside from the pro-Israel sentiments, another major theme of the video seems to be anti-Semitism, which has been a horrific scourge on human civilization for many centuries. One of the most prominent anti-Semites in history, Martin Luther, who greatly inspired the ideology of the Third Reich, advocated burning Jewish synagogues and schools, destroying Jewish homes, driving Jews out of their cities, and seemed to advocate murder when he said, “We are at fault in not slaying them.” He used words like “whore”, “devil”, and “swine” to describe members of the Jewish community in Germany circa 1546. Luther justified his views with the simple retort, “If they could kill us all, they would gladly do it.”
Dennis Prager made a strikingly similar statement when he said in 1985 that most Arabs would destroy Israel if given the opportunity (and has made many similar statements over the years).
Luther and Prager, separated by many centuries, employed hateful rhetoric to demonized an entire population of people. Although their respective targets were different, both were instances of religious extremists promoting tribalism and fear. It is also true that various Wahhabi clerics and fanatics of all stripes are guilty of the same. Anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim bigotry are plagues in our society and around the world, and are cut from the same xenophobic cloth. When pressed to “choose sides”, it seems we can choose the side of human dignity by refusing to paint groups with a broad brush, and by choosing love and openness over hate and fear.