Two George Mason Law School student organizations, the ACLU and the International Law Society, are sponsoring a lecture tomorrow by one Mazin Qumsiyeh, entitled, "Terrorism, the US, and the Centrality of the Israel/Palestine Question: Can Peace be Based on Human Rights and International Law?"
I saw a flyer for this event, and the name sounded vaguely familiar. So who is Mazin Qumsiyeh?
He is an American scientist of Palestinian origin who is a leading propagandist for the Palestinian cause. There's plenty of information out there about his anti-Israel views (he frequently likens the Israelis to Nazis), but a little digging shows something more disturbing.
Despite his own vigorous denials that he has anti-Semitic intent, Qumsiyeh's advocacy for the Palestinians and criticism of "Zionism" shades, as it all too often does, into rather obvious prejudice against Jews. In particular, he appears so one-sidedly devoted to his (fantastical) interpretation of the Arab-Israeli conflict that he invokes conspiracy theories about nefarious Zionist plots to suppress the Palestinian cause, perhaps because he can't imagine that other informed people might simply disagree with his perspective. And, as is not uncommon among rabid "anti-Zionists," he manages to often lose sight of his own asserted distinction between Zionists and Jews. In short, unlike traditional right-wing anti-Semites who start with hatred of Jews and a belief in Jewish conspiracies, and naturally go from that to hatred of Israel, Qumsiyeh seems to start with a hatred of Israel that he assumes all reasonable people should share, and then progresses (or regresses, really), to a belief in conspiracy theories reflecting longstanding anti-Semitic themes, and implicitly, strong prejudice against Jews. Evidence was not hard to come by, from his own website and an initial 15 minutes of Googling, and I've recounted it below. And yes, the student organizations in question are aware of this.
(1) Qumsiyeh believes that "Zionists in Israel and the US" control U.S. presidential elections, and that the reason that Dennis Kucinich, Ron Paul, and Mike Gravel were "marginalized" was because they were unfriendly to Israel. Charitably, such nonsense would reflect a complete ignorance of the self-marginalizing character of these campaign, but there is further evidence that it is actually part of a larger conspiratorial worldview in which "Jewish Zionists" are pulling the strings. In the same paragraph, he switches from "Zionists" to "Jews," focusing on Jewish influence in American politics, just in case there was a doubt that he conflates the two groups. "Establishment Jews", according Qumsiyeh, have also supported and funded Barack Obama's candidacy to serve the greater interest of the Jews, especially Zionism.
(2)Qumsiyeh suggests that "Zionists" somehow have the power to suppress genetic research that allegedly shows that Jews of European and Middle Eastern origin do not have common genetic origins (arrant nonsense, by the way), and to disseminate bogus research that shows the opposite. Thus, he writes: "Valid scientific research must not be shunned by political pressure groups intent on preventing any rational discussion and stifling apparent conflict with the aims of Zionism. Similarly, scientists should not be allowed to publish statements and conclusions not supported by the data simply because they appear 'politically correct' at the moment or do not generate an outcry. A statement such as that by Amir et al. that 'We have shown that Jews share common features, a fact that points to a common ancestry' should not be allowed to stand." Once again, Qumsiyeh himself sometimes refers only to "Zionists," but other times conflates Jews with Zionists, as when he states that "It seems odd though that authors who are accepting of Zionist claims or are Jewish make conclusions not even supported by their own data while authors from other backgrounds based on similar data (showing clear links of Ashkenazim to Turkic populations) make differing conclusions." In other words, he is accusing Jewish geneticists of manipulating their findings to serve a large Jewish interest in Zionism. (Ironically, it is Qumsiyeh himself who manipulates genetic and ethnographic research to propound the long-discredited notion that Ashkenazic (European) Jews are primarily the descendants of Khazar converts, and thus have no historic ties to the Land of Israel).
(3) Here is Qumsiyeh's website. He links to just a few articles not written by him, including one entitled "Jewish Power" by one Paul Eisen [update: a Holocaust denier, who even extreme anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian activists properly find beyond the pale], which he hosts on his own site. This article is full of statements reflecting obvious invidious prejudice against Jews (click show to continue)
- By their own reckoning, Jews are 'a nation that dwells alone' it is 'us and them' and, in many cases, 'us or them'. And these tendencies are translated into the modern state of Israel.
- Nonetheless, an awful lot of Jews certainly do control an awful lot of America. ... Nor have Jews been slow in exploiting their position. Jews have not hesitated to use whatever resources they have to advance their interests as they see them.
- Shamir took me to task, "Eisen is too optimistic", he said, "Palestine is not the ultimate goal of the Jews…the world is." Well, I don’t know about that, but, if as now seems likely, the conquest of Palestine is complete and the state of Israel stretches from Tel-Aviv to the Jordan River, what can we expect? Will the Jews of Israel, supported by Jews outside of Israel, now obey the law, live peaceably behind their borders and enjoy the fruits of their victory, or will they want more? Who’s next?Qumsiyeh is well-aware that this article is filled with anti-Semitic statements, because he links to an article that says so. He nevertheless promotes it to "start discussions and exchanges," as if a discussion regarding whether Jews really want to dominate the world is somehow rational and productive.
(4) Qumsiyeh sent the following email to a Yale listserv when he was a professor there:
For your information, I include here the list of members of Yale Students "for Democracy", the pro war cabal that subscribes to the same Straussian theology that the neo-cons around Bush have been pushing (Wolfowitz, Perle, Wurmser, Kristol, Feith. [note: all Jews]). I think you will find the list informative. Note that there is significant overlap of this list with the "Yale Friends of Israel" listserve.
The names and e-mail addresses of 64 Jewish students followed his message. Professor Qumsiyeh’s research was not quite as brilliant as he believed it to be; he had mistakenly copied the Yale Friends of Israel member list for comparison purposes rather than the member list of the Yale College Students for Democracy. He was therefore comparing two identical lists of members of the Yale Friends of Israel; not surprisingly, he found "significant overlap" between the two lists. And not surprisingly, Professor Qumsiyeh mistakenly named many students who were staunch opponents of the war in Iraq, and who were horrified at being identified as members of a pro-war cabal by dint of their affiliation with the Yale Friends of Israel.See also this post, recounting Qumsiyeh's claim that the Iraq War was the responsibility of those, like Richard Perle, "who put Israel and personal wealth ahead of US public interests."
UPDATE: Here is a page recounting some of Qumsiyeh's "greatest hits." You'll learn, among other thigns, that Qumsiyeh believes that "Zionists" "bilked" Germany, that American foreign policy is controlled by "Zionists" (including major Jewish organizations), and that Zionism reflects Jewish chauvinism against Gentiles.