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IPT Series on Countering 'Pro-Palestine' Propaganda


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The Investigative Project on Terrorism

A.J. Caschetta
Special to IPT News
January 23, 2024

Hamas and its allies in the media, Congress, and especially in academia have saturated the nation with propaganda meant to sway the "hearts and minds" of Americans against Israel. They appear to be winning. The proliferation of anti-Israel protests across the nation since October 7, attests to the failure of the American educational system and the success of the "Palestine" lobby.

At the forefront of Hamas's propaganda victories are legions of uninformed college students, aided by professional agitators and biased media figures. Shutting down roads, bridges, and airports with seeming impunity, they have made it impossible for even people with no interest in politics to avoid the war in Gaza.


Part 1: Resistance is Justified When People Are Occupied

With their chants and banners, anti-Israel protesters minimize Hamas atrocities by claiming it is a "resistance group" engaged in a "liberation struggle." The National Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) released a "Day of Resistance Toolkit" one day after the October 7 pogrom, praising the "historic win for the Palestinian resistance" and urging campus chapters to participate in a "national day of resistance." It advised them to "ground our campuses and communities in a narrative which centers the legitimacy of resistance," and to frame the massacre of civilians as a "natural and justified response to decades of oppression."

But Hamas is not a resistance group. Legitimate resistance groups don't butcher infants, abduct grandmothers, or brand children. They don't send storm troopers to prey on children and elderly civilians. They don't use rape as a tactic to desecrate their victims and satisfy their violent sexual desires. They don't defile corpses or kill family pets. Any group that does so crosses the line from "resistance" to "terrorism." Hamas's feral humans did these things, bragged about doing so, to their mothers even, and made videos of themselves doing so. And they promise to do it again.


Three Americans serving on the security detail of those diplomats were killed in that attack. As the State Department spokesman in 2003, Richard Boucher, put it, "We have employees on contract, in this case from DynCorp, who help supplement our security resources."

John Eric Branchizio from San Antonio, Texas was a 9-year veteran of the Navy Seals. He was the oldest of those killed by Hamas, having turned 37 years old two days before the attack.

Mark Thaddeus Parsons from Yonkers, New York, was 31 years old.

John Martin Linde Jr. from Missouri was the youngest killed, only 30 years old. He served 10 years in the U.S. Marine Corps and retired at the rank of Sergeant.

President George W. Bush issued a press release on October 15, 2003, condemning the attack and explaining the circumstances.

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
October 15, 2003

President Condemns Terrorist Act in Gaza Wednesday

I condemn in the strongest terms the vicious act of terrorism directed against Americans in Gaza today. We are working closely with the appropriate officials to bring the terrorists to justice.

Palestinian authorities should have acted long ago to fight terror in all its forms. The failure to create effective Palestinian security forces dedicated to fighting terror continues to cost lives. There must be an empowered prime minister who controls all Palestinian security forces, reforms that continue to be blocked by Yasser Arafat. The failure to undertake these reforms and dismantle the terrorist organizations constitutes the greatest obstacle to achieving the Palestinian people's dream of statehood.

The Americans who were attacked today were pursuing a vision for a better future for the Palestinian people. The U.S. embassy officials traveling in Gaza were there to interview young Palestinian candidates seeking Fulbright scholarships to study in the United States. This is another example of how the terrorists are enemies of progress and opportunity for the Palestinian people.

On behalf of the American people, I send my heartfelt condolences to the families of the brave Americans who were killed and injured serving our country and its ideals.

Bush left out some details, such as the fact that when American investigators arrived at the scene, rock-throwing Palestinian "youths" – perhaps some of the same youths the diplomats risked their lives to interview – forced them to retreat and wait for military back-up.

So the next time someone says that the "Palestinian resistance only targets Israelis," explain the difference between a resistance group and a terrorist group. Then remind them who killed Robert F. Kennedy, Cleo Noel, George Moore, John Branchizio, Mark Parsons, and John Linde.


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Countering 'Pro-Palestine' Propaganda Part 2: Israel is a Settler-colonial State

A.J. Caschetta
Special to IPT News
January 26, 2024

Many college students, and all of the anti-Israel protesters, erroneously believe that a country called "Palestine" was populated by a people called "Palestinians" until World War II, after which Jews who escaped the Nazi Holocaust began migrating there as "settlers" and took the land from Arabs. Today, so the narrative goes, they are colonial occupiers of "stolen Palestinian land," as the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) "Day of Resistance Toolkit" puts it.

There are many things wrong with these claims, most glaringly the fact that there has never been a country called "Palestine," and that Jewish people were the original inhabitants of this territory.

While it's true that many Jews migrated to the British Mandate Palestine in the aftermath of pogroms in the 1930s and then the Holocaust in the 1940s, there has been a continuous Jewish presence in Israel since the beginning of recorded history – centuries before the birth of Muhammad and the advent of Islam. Jerusalem is mentioned 667 times in the Hebrew Bible and zero times in the Koran. Not one.

The further back in history one goes, the less accurate the term "settler" is when applied to Jews living in Israel. King Solomon's Temple, built sometime between the 10th and 6th century B.C., and destroyed by Babylonian invaders in 586 B.C., The Second Temple was built between 538 and 516 B.C., rebuilt around 20 B.C., and then destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D.


Yet another overlooked component to the simplistic claim that "the Jews took the Arabs' land" is that many hectares of land in Israel were purchased by Jews from Arabs. As Robert Spencer points out, Jews who returned to Israel "in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries didn't come as armed marauders, seizing land from its owners by force. They obtained the land in a far more conventional and prosaic way: they bought it." Spencer quotes one British government report from 1930 that smugly notes they overpaid for it.

After World War II, the United Nations voted to partition the land into a Jewish state and an Arab state. No Arabs called themselves "Palestinian" at this time. Palestinian nationalism may have begun in 1920, but not until after the Six Day War in 1967 did Arabs begin calling themselves "Palestinians."

As a result of the U.N. vote, Resolution 181, many thousands of Jews living throughout the Middle East and North Africa were expelled from their homes. Few were permitted to take their belongings with them. They were forcibly exiled and sent to the nascent state of Israel, which the new occupiers of their homes and property said would soon become "the big graveyard of the Jews" in the war to come as five Arab nations invaded and sought to strangle the Jewish state in its cradle. But the Arab nations lost the war. The victorious Jewish fighters called it their War of Independence, and the Arabs began referring to their loss as the "nakba" or great disaster. However, for many Jews living in Arab, Muslim-majority countries, the U.N. partition vote and subsequent war became their disaster too.


The United Nations is the most egregious proliferator of the idea that Israel is a settler-colonial state that occupies the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem. A 2016 Wall Street Journal article documented 530 General Assembly references to Israel is an "occupying power" versus zero for Indonesia (East Timor), Turkey (Cyprus), Russia (Georgia, Crimea), Morocco (Western Sahara), Vietnam (Cambodia), Armenia (Azerbaijan), Pakistan (Kashmir), or China (Tibet). UNESCO's "Occupied Palestine" document uses the phrase "Israel, the occupying Power" thirteen times.

The most vocal protesters, especially college students, are blissfully ignorant of this history. They have been conditioned to respond to the terms "colonial" and "settlement" with images of white Europeans encroaching on the ancestral territories of red, brown and black peoples. But, as Elliot Abrams put it, "the term 'settlement' loses meaning when applied to Jews building homes in their nation's capital city."

Coming next week: "Part 3: Israel is an Apartheid State"

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