Can you imagine the shock and outrage if the official website of one of the two major American political parties praised Dylann Roof, the racist perpetrator of the South Carolina church massacre?
That’s the equivalent of what the Palestinian Authority did this week. So, where’s the shock and outrage?
On June 26, official Palestinian Authority Television—which is the voice of the PA regime, run with an iron fist by Mahmoud Abbas—broadcast a segment praising the late Baha Alyan as “a martyr for the sake of Jerusalem” who “refused to submit to the occupation.” (Thanks to Palestinian Media Watch for the translation.)
Who was Baha Alyan, and how exactly did he demonstrate his opposition to “the occupation?”
On October 13, 2015, Alyan and his friend Bilal Ghanem boarded a bus in Jerusalem. They were armed with a gun and a knife. They weren’t there to murder fellow Arabs. No, these racists were targeting the Other. They aimed at the Jewish passengers, murdering three of them and wounding 15 more.
One of the victims was 76-year-old Richard Lakin, a civil rights veteran from Connecticut who “taught English to Israeli and Palestinian children” in Jerusalem and “never missed a peace rally,” according to his rabbi. Alyan and Ghanem stabbed this defenseless elderly man in the face and chest, and then shot him in the head.
The cover photo on Richard’s Facebook page featured a Jewish child and a Palestinian Arab child under the heading “Coexist.” Jewish leftwing critics of Israel like to pretend that it’s the “settlers” who “provoke” Palestinian violence—not peace activists like Lakin. The truth, however, is that Palestinian Arab terrorists make no such distinctions. They kill left-wing Jews; they kill right-wing Jews; they kill middle-of-the-road Jews. It’s all the same to them.
In a civilized society, racist mass murderers —like Dylann Roof and Baha Alyan—are ostracized. Not so in Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority. His official television station praised the racist killer as a martyr and hailed Alyan for “refusing to submit to the occupation”—“refusing,” that is, by stabbing a defenseless old man on a bus.
The PA television program was only the latest in a series of public accolades for Alyan. Seven months after Alyan and Ghanem perpetrated their racist massacre, Al Quds University, a leading Palestinian Arab educational institution, honored Alyan by organizing a “human chain of readers” which they called the “Glory of the Martyrs.”
Alyan’s father joined hands with 2,500 students who wore shirts bearing the racist killer’s photograph. According to the Palestinian news agency Wattan, the students “wrote letters…to the souls of Martyr Baha Alyan and the other Martyrs.”
The Al Quds U. website boasts that the university currently has “cooperation agreements / projects” with George Washington University, Wayne State University, the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, the University of California at Berkeley and George Mason University. Al Quds also has a joint program with Bard College. How sad that those distinguished American institutions see nothing wrong in partnering with a university that celebrates and glorifies the racist murderer of an American Jewish peace activist.
From 2003 to 2013, Brandeis University, too, had a partnership with Al Quds University. This was particularly painful to me because my daughter Alisa, HY”D, who was murdered by Palestinian terrorists in 1995, was a Brandeis student at the time of her death. To its credit, Brandeis severed the partnership in 2013 after Al Quds hosted pro-terrorist rallies by students in military uniforms who were giving the traditional Nazi salute.
Strangely, however, to this day the official Brandeis website has a page called “Al-Quds University/Brandeis University Partnership” which sings the praises of that now-dissolved partnership and makes no mention of the reason that it ended. In fact, the page gives the impression that some kind of friendly relationship still exists—the text concludes: “Brandeis and Al-Quds are jointly documenting the partnership’s progress and outcomes through publications, videos, and still images.”
The fact that a leading Palestinian Arab university has publicly praised the Palestinian version of Dylann Roof is morally despicable. The fact that the official television mouthpiece of the Abbas regime praises him is even worse.
When a government-controlled television station teaches the viewing public that racist murderers are heroes, then many of the viewers will come to believe that it’s true. The consequence is that an entire generation of young Palestinian Arabs have been raised to think that stabbing defenseless elderly American Jewish peace activists is right, necessary and admirable.
How can there ever be peace when Palestinian Arab leaders behave this way? And when will today’s American Jewish “peace activists”—groups like J Street and Partners for a Progressive Israel, which claim to subscribe to the same values as Richard Lakin did—finally raise their voices in protest against the racist, anti-peace actions of the Abbas regime?
Stephen M. Flatow is a vice president of the Religious Zionists of America, an attorney in New Jersey and the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995. He is the author of “A Father’s Story: My Fight for Justice Against Iranian Terror,” and an oleh chadash.