To the General and Campus Communities:
As you are all well aware, I am the one who spoke at the David Horowitz event this past Monday May 10, 2010.
Allow me to begin by stating that I do NOT condone murder, I do NOT condone genocide, and I do NOT condone racism under any circumstance whatsoever against Jews or anyone else. These accusations are lies that I refuse to allow David Horowitz and his allies to perpetuate in their irresponsible and hateful smear campaign against those who disagree with or differ from them.
On April 19, 2010 I volunteered to speak at the Racism/Genocide Holocaust Event last April only because of my strong convictions against genocide like the Holocaust. I was there every step of the way during the protests denouncing racism on campus last quarter—from the very beginning to the very end. Never have I uttered a negative syllable towards or about any person because of their ethnicity or religion on campus or otherwise, Jewish or otherwise. Regardless of my participation in these events, for Mr. Horowitz to insinuate that I am anti-Semitic is ridiculous; I am a Semite.
I attended the event as an individual, not as a representative of any organization, least of all the MSA. My presence was solidly founded in my academic and personal quests to hear diverse viewpoints. Unfortunately, Mr. Horowitz is a seasoned polemicist whose intent is not to encourage academic discussion by expounding his arguments or even supporting his positions with hard facts, but to excite the passions of an audience. Mr. Horowitz spent an hour indiscriminately attacking liberals, students, Arabs, Muslims, and Palestinians, utilizing verbiage that completely departed from an academic tone and delved into hate speech—especially labeling groups and individuals that support Palestinian rights “terrorists.”
Insofar as my references to Hitler and the Nazi Youth programs: it was Mr. Horowitz who spent a substantial amount of time referring to the MSA as the “Hitler Youth” and its Justice in Palestine Week as “Hitler Youth Week”— pejorative titles that as a human being, a student of history, and a person of faith, I find disgusting. I uttered them in a sarcastic manner only to point out the ridiculous and slanderous nature of Mr. Horowitz’s labels—Nazis sought the extermination of anyone who was not “white,” and this racial category excludes the vast majority of the Muslim population.
I asked Mr. Horowitz to explain the purported connection between UCSD’s MSA and “Jihadist Terrorist Networks.” His pamphlet did not mention the organization; rather it focused on other groups like UCI’s MSU and Berkley and LA’s MSA chapters, and offered supporting grounds that can be characterized as shaky at best, with sources that had little credibility. He chose not to engage my question (his opening arguments were the verbatim generalizations made in the pamphlet, though my question asked for specifics) but instead decided to subject me to an interrogation because of my headscarf and Palestinian kuffiyeh. The fact that Mr. Horowitz claimed on a respected national cable news network that the MSA receives forty thousand dollars to put on Justice in Palestine Week, speaks volumes to his status as a gross exaggerator who should not be trusted to deliver opinions on anything. The information can be found on UCSD’s official website.
Towards the end of the exchange, I became emotional. I could no longer hear Mr. Horowitz speaking and so did not even hear his injection of Hezbollah’s credo of “rounding up” Jews in his last tangent. I could no longer contain my anger at being implicitly and improperly labeled a terrorist, an anti-Semite, and a proponent of genocide. The answer I was coerced into giving grossly misrepresented my beliefs and ideologies.
My answer, “for it,” in the context in which it was said does NOT mean “for” genocide. I was referring to his initial question that asked me for my position on Hamas, a topic that for his own political reasons he was relentless in pursuing. “For it” was not a legitimization of Hezbollah’s or anyone else’s credo for that matter that Jews should be exterminated. In fact, Mr. Horowitz’s intent was to entrap me with his barrage of questions so that he could avoid answering my question, and construe any answer that I would provide as anti-Semitic, genocidal hate speech in order to further his political agenda.
I am not a member of Hamas, nor have I ever given support to Hamas, nor do I agree their actions or stances wholesale, but I refused to offer Mr. Horowitz a blanket condemnation of Hamas that night. I felt that doing so would be a blanket condemnation of the Palestinian cause. I refused to throw the baby (the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people) out with the bathwater (Hamas.) In addition, Mr. Horowitz asked me to condemn Hamas as agenocidal organization; which to my limited knowledge on the subject, is another unsupported claim made by Mr. Horowitz.
My opinion of Hamas is not as simple as condemn or condone, “for it” or “against it.” I firmly believe that the killing of civilians, even as “collateral damage” regardless of creed, politics, sexuality, nationality, or ethnicity is one of the highest crimes in the eyes of God and is morally reprehensible and abhorrent. But I condone Hamas in its ambition to liberate the Palestinian people. I condone Hamas as the duly elected representative government of the Palestinian people granted governance in an election overseen by our ex-President Jimmy Carter; and characterized as fair, open, and fully democratic. I condone Hamas in its desire to end the inhumane siege of the Gazan people. I condone Hamas in its struggle to free the 10,000 Palestinian men, women, and children unjustly locked away in Israeli prisons. It seems that in Mr. Horowitz’s logic, my support of freedom, peace, and justice makes me a “terrorist.”
David Horowitz can try to erase my history, the history of my grandparents, the history of the Palestinian people, he can call me a terrorist, he can mischaracterize my faith as bloody, and my God as false, but I will NOT allow him to vilify me as a racist or a proponent of genocide and remain silent.
For Peace, For Love, For Justice,
Jumanah Imad Albahri