The Trump administration last week unveiled its blueprint for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, one that creates a Palestinian state and protects Israeli security requirements in the Jordan Valley. As expected, the Palestinian Authority rejected the proposal outright, refusing to make a counteroffer or enter negotiations.
Praise and criticism for any new peace initiative is a given. But a coalition of supposedly mainstream Islamist groups and radical Leftists made it clear Friday why success is so unlikely. Significant players in the U.S. debate over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will oppose any deal that leaves Israel in place.
The "Say No to the Steal of the Century" protest in Manhattan's City Hall Park featured chants and speeches calling repeatedly for the destruction of the Jewish state and for terrorist attacks, which they euphemistically referred as the "resistance," against Israel. The Investigative Project on Terrorism covered the event and captured the hate speech on video.
Those chants include calls for an intifada, and claims that "Resistance is justified when people are occupied."
"From the river to the sea," they repeatedly shouted, "Palestine will be free."
A Palestinian state stretching from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea would eliminate Israel. The Hamas charter, revised in 2017, demands "the full and complete liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea."
That's what protesters opposed to the latest U.S. peace plan seem to want, too.
"We must all stand with the people of Palestine because Israel is part of a global apartheid that keeps the world divided into rich and poor, exploiters and exploited, oppressed and oppressors," said Bill Doares, a member of the Marxist Workers World Party and Struggle-La Lucha, which also identifies as a Marxist organization. "And when the State of Israel goes, that whole edifice will fall, Free, free Palestine!"
The protest was organized and hosted by nine radical groups, including area chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
SJP pushes the anti-Semitic "Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign targeting investment in Israel and any political, academic and social interaction with Israelis. An IPT investigation found that AMP fills many of the roles once handled by a Muslim Brotherhood-created network in America called the "Palestine Committee." It was charged with helping Hamas' agenda politically and financially.
Internal committee records seized by the FBI showed that CAIR and its founders were part of the Palestine Committee. And as the IPT exclusively reported in December, CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad told an AMP gathering that his organization's mission includes dealing "with ... Zionism on [a] daily basis."
At Friday's protest, former CAIR-New York board member Lamis Deek, who, like other CAIR officials, openly rejects Israel's right to exist, said the latest U.S. peace initiative, "and Israel itself, is not just a threat to Palestinians, but it is a threat to all people."
"We must be sure that we demand full liberation of all Palestinian land, the full return of every single Palestinian refugee, and full justice and accountability for every crime and every suffering of every Palestinian," Deek said. "And we do not rest until we see a liberated Palestine. From the river to the sea Palestine must be free!"
Nerdeen Kiswani, a co-founder of NYU's SJP chapter now working with an offshoot called "Within Our Lifetime," said Israel's days are numbered.
"[W]e know that the clock is ticking on Zionism," she said. "We cannot know the exact timeline until liberation, but we must do all that is in our capability to defeat the deal of the century, to defeat Israel, to defeat Zionism and to ensure that liberation will come within our lifetime!"
Raja Abdulhaq, executive director of Majlis Ash-Shura of New York, told protesters that Hamas-run Gaza "represents the resistance against colonialism and occupation of Palestine. Gaza represents the future aspiration for the newer generation that have not even left the first Intifada, or not even the second Intifada. Yet they know what Palestine means. They know that the spirit of resistance is the only way to end the Israeli occupation."
By prioritizing its money and infrastructure resources on building tunnels to facilitate terror attacks inside Israel, and on rocket production, Hamas's "resistance" has drastically lowered the quality of life for Palestinians in Gaza.
No speaker at the protest uttered a critical word about Hamas.
Whether the protest sponsors or speakers are outright supporters of the designated terrorist group, Hamas, Friday's protest, like many others before it, make it clear that they do share the same goal.