On Friday, March 25th, Cornell’s Students for Justice in Palestine and the Department of Near Eastern Studies plan to co-sponsor an event titled A Conversation With Mohammed El Kurd.
It is inappropriate and deeply upsetting to see a Cornell department attaching their name to a speaker like this one.
As a proud Jew and passionate Zionist, I implore my peers to do their due diligence in educating themselves in order to create an inclusive and accepting community, and the Cornell administration to request that the Department of Near Eastern Studies remove their name from this event.
Mohammed El-Kurd is a Palestinian journalist, writer, and activist, infamous for making libelous and inflammatory remarks about Jewish people and the State of Israel. While I am extremely grateful that we live in a country that supports and celebrates free speech, it is crucial to contextualize speech, such as El-Kurd’s, that is misguided and harmful. He has not just equated Israelis with Nazis but has done so in the vilest of ways, alleging that they “are the sadistic barbaric neonazi [sic] pigs that claim to be indigenous to our land” and then stated that “I dont care who this offends they have completely internalized the ways of the nazis.”
It is indisputable that the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is extremely tense, personal, and emotional, however, to unleash ad hominem attacks and make sweeping generalizations about millions of people and then to subsequently proclaim not to care who it offends, is inexcusable and, quite frankly, despicable. Whatsmore, El-Kurd has made it a habit of speaking grotesquely about Israelis, claiming that they have an “unquenchable thirst for Palestinian blood” and that “they [Israelis] harvest organs of the martyred [Palestinians], feed their warriors our own.”
If that was not enough, El-Kurd has tweeted that “dishonesty has always been integral to the Zionist project” and “fuck the genocidal death cult that is Zionism”. These comments are not only ignorant but incite hate, are counterfactual, and more so libelous.
In line with this practice he has cultivated, El-Kurd has also asked “How are Israelis gonna say they’re indigenous to Palestine but can’t walk outside without getting sunburned?” El-Kurd questions the indigeneity of the Jewish people, rewriting history to push his hateful agenda.
Zionism is simply the movement supporting Jewish self-determination in the land of Israel; there were no hidden intentions or underlying plans to displace anyone, nor to stage any covert or hostile takeover. In fact, as evident in the Israeli Declaration of Independence, the founders of the State of Israel sought to “appeal to the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to preserve peace” as well as “participate in the upbuilding of the State on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation”.
proposed plans that detail just the opposite. Furthermore, proclaiming that the “explicit goal of the Zionist project has always been to replace the native with the settler” is a lie that strips the more than half of Israeli Jews who are of Mizrahi descent of their identity and the reality that the majority of Israeli Jews are indigenous to this very land and that, on the whole, Jews are the indigenous people in the land of Israel.
As members of the Cornell University community, we are committed to Ezra Cornell’s vision of “any person, any study” and accordingly should welcome with open arms different people and perspectives. However, when those people and perspectives come from a place of hate and a demonization of others, we must examine them critically and view their opinions and “truths” in comparison to history and fact.
This article was originally published in The Algemeiner.