For many years, Ali Abunimah has been a prominent proponent of “pro-Palestinian” solidarity activism, and he is often invited to speak on US campuses. As a veteran professional activist, he usually delivers smooth presentations that tend to obscure the fact that his often invoked demands for “justice in Palestine” require the injustice of doing away with the world’s only Jewish state in order to replace it with another Arab Muslim-majority state. While Abunimah’s activism focuses primarily on delegitimizing Israel and promoting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) to help bring about the hoped for elimination of the Jewish state, he is usually not very outspoken about the fact that he is also an ardent supporter of Palestinian terror groups like Hamas and its Al-Qassam Brigades as well as Islamic Jihad.
In view of the genocidal antisemitic Hamas Charter and Abunimah’s claims to be a “progressive” rights activist, his reluctance to reveal his admiration for the “Islamic Resistance Movement” is arguably prudent. However, during this summer’s fighting between Hamas and Israel, Abunimah has become increasingly open about his unqualified support for what he euphemistically calls the “Palestinian defense forces” and his concomitant contempt for the Western-backed Palestinian Authority (PA) under President Mahmoud Abbas. Abunimah has denounced Abbas as an “Israeli puppet” and a “collaborator;” he dismissed the Palestinian president’s announcement of a ceasefire on August 26 as “shameful talk” and asserted that “Abbas is utterly irrelevant.” By contrast, Abunimah eagerly shared “a ‘joint military communique’ from all the Palestinian defense and resistance forces” delivered by the Al-Qassam Brigades’ spokesman Abu Obaida (Abu Ubayda), whose statements Abunimah translated in a series of completely uncritical tweets that included the terrorist group’s obscene claims of victory, its threats against “surrenderist Arabs,” the ominous declaration that “No one’s word is above that of the resistance,” and the preposterous assertion that by attacking Israel, Al-Qassam’s jihadi terrorists were defending “the Muslims and Arabs and free people of the world.”
Abunimah also repeatedly endorsed the bombing of Israeli civilians, including the barrage that killed two and wounded several others shortly before the ceasefire took effect.
However, the most chilling illustration of Abunimah’s unqualified support for Hamas came when the terror group publicly executed 18 Gaza residents as “collaborators.” According to a report by the Jerusalem Post, 11 suspected collaborators were executed at a Gaza police station, and a short time later, “Hamas killed seven more Palestinians in a public execution in a central Gaza square.”
News agencies Reuters and AFP captured some disturbing photos of the Hamas prisoners being lined up for execution; according to the Jerusalem Post, the “victims, their heads covered and hands tied, were shot dead by masked gunmen dressed in black in front of a crowd of worshipers outside a mosque after prayers.” Apparently, the crowd of onlookers also included children, and a clip of the bloody aftermath of the executions shows young boys gathering to look at the puddles of blood on the pavement and snap some pictures. Both the images from these recent executions and previous ones can hardly fail to remind viewers of the similarly revolting images of proudly displayed brutality by the bloodthirsty jihadists of ISIS.
Abunimah reacted to this appalling abuse by noting on Twitter that he was opposed to the “death penalty,” but he also argued that it was hypocritical to “feign outrage about Hamas killings while supporting [the] Israeli massacre.” In another tweet, Abunimah even implied that it was only normal for Hamas to execute Gaza residents suspected of collaboration:
In other words, the author of “The Battle for Justice in Palestine” is unwilling to criticize Hamas for meting out deadly “justice” as a public spectacle without anything remotely resembling due process. According to media reports, Hamas executed more than 50 alleged informants since the beginning of the recent war in July. By contrast, the PA – which Abunimah despises so wholeheartedly – issued a moratorium on death sentences in 2005 and now condemned the “random executions” as “reminiscent of the summary executions carried out by Wahhabi militant groups in other parts of the Middle East.” A PA spokesman also noted that Hamas was persecuting “political dissidents” and that some of those executed as collaborators had been detained by Hamas for years.
Yet, Abunimah clearly sees no reason to qualify his support for Hamas. Incensed by widespread international support for Israel’s demand for the demilitarization of Gaza, Abunimah accused the United Nations and Oxfam of undermining the “Palestinian right to resist.” In order to remove any doubt about what kind of “resistance” he had in mind, Abunimah chose to illustrate his post with an image captioned “A fighter from the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, at a rally in Gaza City celebrating a ceasefire that the movement hailed as a victory for resistance, 27 August.”
Even though Abunimah has spent the past few weeks accusing Israel of committing unspeakable atrocities, massacres and “genocidal slaughter” in Gaza, he is apparently eager to help Hamas and its fellow jihadists to achieve more “victories” like this one. As many commentators – and President Abbas – have pointed out, the recent fighting ended when Hamas finally accepted a ceasefire that had been offered already in the early stages of the war.
While Abunimah has expressed his extremist views more openly in recent weeks, anyone familiar with his advocacy work could not have had any doubts about his longstanding support for Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups like Islamic Jihad. It is therefore arguably very problematic if Abunimah is allowed to recruit activists for his cause on American campuses – after all, the kind of “justice” Abunimah and Hamas strive for is clearly outlined in the racist and fascist charter of the “Islamic Resistance Movement.” This inevitably also means that inviting Abunimah to events like the recent panel on “Understanding Gaza” at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame, ultimately legitimizes the unqualified support for Palestinian terrorism and the utter contempt for the PA and organizations like the American Task Force on Palestine that Abunimah works so hard to propagate.