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SAUNDERS: There are no heroes in pro-Hamas activism — especially at colleges


“When someone tells you they are aiding and abetting terrorists — believe them.” So begins a lawsuit against American Muslims for Palestine and National Students for Justice in Palestine, alleging they are “aiding and abetting terrorists.”

The lawsuit’s plaintiffs are victims of Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel, which resulted in about 1,200 horrific deaths. Some plaintiffs were the family or friends of those butchered on that awful day. Some had attended the Nova Festival and were able to flee the carnage. Others lost their homes, but at least they are alive.

Jonathan Schanzer, senior vice president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told me the idea behind the lawsuit is to “challenge the enablers.”

The lawsuit, which was filed May 1 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, alleges that American Muslims for Palestine and National Students for Justice in Palestine are carrying water for Hamas, a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization. “They are not innocent advocacy groups,” the lawsuit argues, “but rather the propaganda arm of a terrorist organization operating in plain sight.”

Who bankrolls Hamas? Iran, a country with little regard for human rights.

Pro-Palestinian protests are choreographed to make Americans see idealistic, keffiyeh-wearing activists as champions of the downtrodden in search of a larger truth — anything to avert your gaze from the thugs with knives, firepower and a lust to kill.

Earlier this month, CNN crunched the numbers and estimated two-thirds of arrested protesters were students, faculty or university staff. Aka “useful idiots.” That leaves room for professional radicals who know how to tell idealistic students exactly what they want to hear — that they’re the good guys.

It’s easy to see why Americans might watch the protests and not see terrorism, but instead see what Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., describes as “the power of young people.”

But, as the plaintiffs argue in their lawsuit, “The purpose of this messaging is not only to justify the terrorism of Hamas and its affiliates in Gaza within Western academia and society at large but also to establish an environment where violence against Jews and anyone else associated with Israel could be construed as acceptable, justified or even heroic.”

Lesson No. 2: When radicals boast that they will fight to achieve their ends “by any means necessary,” believe them. They don’t care about convincing others. They don’t care if you paid tuition and want to go to class.

In the Middle East, “by any means necessary” translates into not only the slaughter of Oct. 7, but also the civilian deaths in Gaza that were the inevitable outcome of Israel fighting back in self-defense.

As The New York Times reported, by the calculus of Hamas, “the deaths of many Palestinian civilians — who do not have access to Hamas’ subterranean tunnels — were the necessary cost of upending the status quo with Israel.”

The story also noted that, according to intelligence analysts, “the well-being of the Palestinian people or the establishment of a Palestinian state … appears to be secondary” for the leaders of Hamas.

The post Oct. 7 pro-Palestinian protests also seem to be more about the activists than the cause. There’s finger-pointing and virtue signaling and lots of moments on cable TV. And, as Schanzer noted, lots of enabling that should stop — right now.

Contact Review-Journal Washington columnist Debra J. Saunders at dsaunders@reviewjournal.com. Follow @debrajsaunders on X.

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