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December 21, 2012

“Violent Resistance” Makes Comeback in Wake of Pillar of Defense

Throughout Operation Pillar of Defense, the recent clash between Israel and Hamas operatives in Gaza that came to an end almost a month ago, anti-Israel activists expressed support for Hamas and violent resistance against Israel. Rallies across the U.S. included chants of “intifada, intifada” and hostile messages posted on Facebook and other social media platforms also sided with Hamas and joyfully announced that the “resistance has reached Tel Aviv!”

Interestingly, this sort of extreme rhetoric has not fully ebbed since the latest operation came to a close. At an event on Wednesday called “Resistance and Revolution: Gaza, the Arab Spring, and the new Middle East,” which was held in downtown Brooklyn, several panelists acknowledged that violence is a necessary part of the “revolution” against Israel.

Lamis Deek, a founder of Al-Awda, even criticized the Muslim Brotherhood’s leadership in Egypt for seizing and confiscating an arms shipment en route to Gaza from Libya, using it as an example of Egypt’s excessive “pro-Israel” position. She also included in her remarks, which were titled “Palestine and the Right of Resistance,” praise for the language of the ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas precisely because the text did not include a call for the recognition of the state of Israel.

Sherry Wolf, an activist with the International Socialist Organization and the event’s sponsor, similarly claimed that outsiders “can’t dictate the type of resistance” used by Palestinians and that there should be no expectation of a “resistance ‘Dream Team.’” Wolf has previously advocated an explicitly pro-terrorist position. On November 20, a day before the ceasefire was declared, Wolf published an article on the Socialist Worker’s website titled, “Gaza’s Right to Resist Israeli Terror.” In the article, she called “Hamas’ military resistance” a “source of tremendous pride” and said that those who stand with the oppressed ought to defend the “right of Palestinians to resist the terror of the Israeli military machine.”

Wolf has been invited to speak on several college campuses in recent weeks, including at New York University and Williams College in Massachusetts. Her appearances are generally sponsored by socialist student groups and Students for Justice in Palestine.

There is also evidence of increased support for Palestinian resistance beyond the U.S. At the University of London tomorrow, an event called “Gaza: Refocusing Resistance, How the resistance in Gaza has refocused the Arab Spring” will take place. Speakers scheduled to appear at the event include Roshan Muhammed Salih, a correspondent for Iran’s government-run English language news network PressTV, and Sukant Chandan, a London-based activist who supports Hezbollah and praised the second intifada during his speech at an Al Quds Day rally in London last August.

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