A Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter has offered us yet another astounding defense of antisemitic vitriol—this time at Florida State University (FSU).
After the school’s Student Senate president, Ahmad Daraldik, found himself in the hot seat due to his own past antisemitic social-media posts and shockingly antisemitic website, he took to Facebook to explain himself on video. In a remarkable feat of situational irony, Daraldik’s video only dug his hole deeper with a declaration that Israel commits the “same crimes” that the Nazis did.
To SJP, such rhetoric does not raise any red flags. In a laughably deceitful petition (endorsed by more than a dozen on-campus student organizations, including FSU College Democrats and six student senators) titled “#ImWithAhmad Solidarity Statement,” the group bends over backwards to explain away what can only be described as hateful behavior.
The document begins with typical SJP talking points, denouncing a campaign to remove Daraldik from office—all without a shred of evidence—as “discriminatory,” “Islamophobic,” “racist,” and an effort to “smear and silence Palestinian students and critics of the state of Israel” based on purportedly innocuous social-media posts. They also absurdly proclaim that Daraldik’s critics are accusing him of antisemitism based on “flimsy evidence.”
Of course, there is plenty of “evidence” of Daraldik’s antisemitic views beyond a few obnoxious online posts. His entire website’s goal is to explain how “the Holocaust never ended, it just moved to Palestine.” The site is saturated with repugnant hate speech that would rival many white nationalist websites, asserting as its “thesis” that:
The mainstream media portrays the holocaust as that of Nazi Germany. While an atrocity, we must not ignore the holocaust of today. Over 11 million Palestinians have either been massacred, raped, imprisoned, put under siege or bombed with illegal chemical weapons. This research serves to prove that the contemporary Holocaust in Palestine is very similar to that of Germany.
“More than 11 million Palestinians have either been massacred, raped, imprisoned, sieged or bombed?” That’s certainly an interesting claim considering that about 5,000,000 people—less than half the above number—have been killed in warfare across the Middle East and North Africa during the past 70 years. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict accounts for less than 1 percent of that death toll. That’s fewer than 50,000 people. Palestinians have not been killed by the Israel Defense Forces as a result of Holocaust-type genocidal intentions on Israel’s part, but as a tragic consequence of warfare—warfare precipitated by endless eliminationist assaults on the Jewish state. Unsurprisingly, the website entirely ignores the more than 1,300 people killed by Palestinian terrorists since September 2000. (To read more about defamatory claims directed at Israel regarding rape, imprisonment, “siege,” and chemical weapons, see here, here, here and here).
But, just in case the “Jews are the new Nazis” lie was in any way unclear, Daraldik follows this up with a quote from disgraced “academic” Norman Finkelstein:
The Zionists indeed learnt well from the Nazis. So well that it seems that their morally repugnant treatment of the Palestinians, and their attempts to destroy Palestinian society within Israel and the occupied territories, reveals them as basically Nazis with beards and black hats.
The venom does not end there. Daraldik scolds Jews, insinuating that Israel’s existence violates some kind of Divine commandment that world Jewry must remain “loyal to the nations in which they live” (Those uppity Jews should know their place!). He insists that—just like the Nazis, of course—the Israeli military harvests Palestinian organs. He preposterously insists that “ … there are way more similarities between the Holocaust and what is happening in Gaza than differences”—a ludicrous premise that only someone guilty of brazen historical ignorance and moral bankruptcy could accept. This supposed Israeli barbarity, we are supposed to believe, is justified by their invocation of the phrase “Never Again” to memorialize the Holocaust.
This is viciously antisemitic propaganda with no basis in reality. The internationally endorsed International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism includes “drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” as one of its tenets. Daraldik created an entire website dedicated to promoting that very libel. It’s worth noting that three on-campus pro-Israel groups (Noles for Israel, Christians United for Israel and Israeli-American Council-Mishelanu) decried the website’s appalling content in a published statement denouncing Daraldik’s hateful views, utterly invalidating SJP’s narrative that his critics are glomming on to “flimsy evidence” to propagate an unjustified smear campaign.
Despite SJP’s failure to distance themselves from (let alone mention) this toxicity in their petition, they do address a recent Instagram post by Daraldik that proudly displayed the hashtag “#f***israel,” insisting on his First Amendment rights “to condemn any oppressive nation-state.” This putative commitment to free speech from SJP is anything but, considering their recent push to oust a former Student Senate president for allegedly uttering hateful remarks towards transgender people. The moral hypocrisy is blatant.
In addition, they cite Daraldik’s aforementioned Facebook video, in which he details his own negative experience with Israeli border security—an experience that, apparently, fueled the frustration behind the Instagram post. In SJP’s exact words, “in a video addressing the post, Ahmad recounted his trauma of living under military occupation by describing the day he posted the photo, including his experience at an Israeli military checkpoint” (they conveniently fail to address his double-down on the Israel-Nazi comparison).
One can’t help but wonder whether these students would grant the same understanding to a Jewish and/or Zionist peer who chose to recount, say, “trauma” induced by Palestinian terrorism through an Instagram post donning the hashtag “#f***palestine.”
Nevertheless, all of this irony is lost on FSU’s SJP. Before closing out the petition with a plea for political support for Daraldik, they once again slur those standing against antisemitism, accusing the organizers of a supposed “coordinated smear campaign” of, among other things, “anti-Arab racism” and of perpetuating “clash of civilizations” tropes that reinforce “savage Arab stereotypes.” Yet again, these are shameless strawman arguments. Neither the petition calling for Daraldik’s removal from the Student Senate presidency nor the joint statement released by campus Zionist groups derogate Daraldik for his identity. On the contrary, the joint statement specifically says, “When Ahmad Daraldik was first elected to take [former Student Senate president] Jack Denton’s place as Florida State University Senate President, we respected the fact that he was proud of his nationality.” Clearly, the bulk of the criticism directed at Daraldik has nothing to do with his race, nationality, religion or any “savage Arab stereotype,” but his actual words and actions.
The phrase, “The Jew cries out in pain as he strikes you,” is popular within antisemitic circles. This sentiment, it seems, is being kept alive by members of Florida State’s SJP chapter, as they brand Jews and Zionists under attack as aggressors whose passionate attempts to defend their community and push back against Holocaust minimization are “discriminatory.” Such assertions should not be taken seriously in the marketplace of ideas.
Perhaps Daraldik will eventually leave his hateful and flawed ideas behind; perhaps he won’t. Until that happens, the Jewish community has every right to speak out.
Originally published in jns.org.
Contributed by CAMERA’s campus advisor and online editor Zac Schildcrout.