Echoes of Wannsee on campus

Palestinian terrorist groups understand that political participation is most visible on the college campus scene – naivety and ignorance too.

 GRAFFITI ON the separation barrier in Bethlehem depicting Leila Khaled of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. (photo credit: Alana Perino/Flash90)
GRAFFITI ON the separation barrier in Bethlehem depicting Leila Khaled of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
(photo credit: Alana Perino/Flash90)

On January 20, 1942, in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee, fifteen high-ranking Nazi officials convened in a villa to carry out the sentencing of the Jewish people. By war’s end, the edict reached saw its near-realization: Six million Jews were systematically executed.

The ideological heirs to the twentieth century’s eliminationist strain of antisemitism don’t wear their predecessors’ jackboots and black shirts. They don’t goosestep, nor do they “Sieg Heil” – at least not always. Instead, they wear the deceptively hospitable masks of civil rights activists – holding crude, modern imitations of the Wannsee Conference, airing out their genocidal fantasies under the politically-appealing banner of Palestinian liberation.

Palestinian terrorist groups understand that political participation is most visible on the college campus scene – naivety and ignorance too. So, they send their apologists to address students at events organized by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Jewish Voice for Peace.

Other times, outright terrorists – not just their apologists – make appearances on campus. For instance, on April 23, 2021, the AMED Studies department at San Francisco State University (SFSU) hosted Leila Khaled, a convicted hijacker and member of the US and internationally-designated terrorist organization, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). This followed the cancellation of a September 2020 event featuring Khaled, organized by SFSU after Zoom and YouTube refused to host the stream over concerns regarding US anti-terrorism laws.

Take Charlotte Kates – a name you’ve maybe never heard of, but one you should remember. Last December, the University of British Columbia (UBC) student organization Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights invited Kates and her husband, Khaled Barakat, to participate in a publicly funded panel discussion. While not explicitly advertised, the two are members of the PFLP. The PFLP boasts a history of plane hijackings, suicide bombings, assassinations and in recent years, the massacre of four worshipers in a Jerusalem synagogue, as well as the murder of a teenage girl hiking with her family.

 Jewish Voice for Peace (credit: FLICKR) Jewish Voice for Peace (credit: FLICKR)

According to a 2019 Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs special report, Barakat arranged Mustapha Awad’s military training with Hezbollah – a Lebanese terrorist organization sworn to Israel’s destruction. Awad was contacting terror operatives across the Middle East. Entrusting TWA Flight 840 hijacker Leila Khaled – perhaps SJP’s most prominent campus terrorist-in-residence – with his laptop and cellphone, Awad moved funds to Barakat before attempting to enter Israel. There, Awad was arrested and sentenced to 12 months in prison, before becoming the European Representative for Samidoun, the Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, upon his release.

In other words, Barakat is not merely the writer-activist of which the Samidoun website claims. In Arab media, he is explicitly stated as a leader of the PFLP Central Committee. He’s a Jew-hating terrorist and one of 30 the Israeli government discovered infiltrating BDS organizations like Samidoun. On top of that, a Dutch investigation this January found 34 PFLP members in one NGO alone.

That brings us back to his wife, Kates. In addition to her PFLP membership, Kate serves as Samidoun’s International Coordinator. According to the special report, the organization lobbies for releasing Palestinian terrorists and works to “form a network of connections with leading BDS and anti-Israel organizations,” per the special report.

A month before the UBC event, Kates spoke for Samidoun in an SJP Butler-coordinated panel of multi-disciplined anti-Zionists. Comparative Criminalization: Repression and Resistance Across Borders is the title of the event that brought out Kates’ vision for what is effectively a judenrein Palestine “from the river to the sea.” Despite her genocidal aspirations, Kates dismisses the terrorist label she and her anti-Zionist comrades are charged with as the Israeli government funding Zionist organizations to “smear and slander anyone who stands up for Palestinian rights.”

Apparently, it’s all part of an international Jewish scheme. David Miller – a writer and investigative researcher, supposedly sacked by the University of Bristol due to an Israel lobby campaign – claimed during the November 2021 Comparative Criminalization: Repression and Resistance Across Borders event organized by the US Campaign Focused on a Boycott of Israel (USACBI) that the “alleged rise in antisemitism” is “entirely a fabrication… planned by Israelis in specific places.”

How does he suppose they defeat it? “In order for Palestine to be free,” Miller explains, “the Zionist movement in general needs to be dismantled. Not just in Palestine, but in Britain and the US. Every single Zionist organization needs to be dismantled.”

In Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler, too, echoed delusional anxieties of “the movement for expanding Jewish power on a wider scale and finally subjugating the world to its rule.” It’s why Miller concerns himself with how pro-Israel organizations can be ended or de-Zionized, a term practically identical to what the Third Reich promoted, de-Judaized. He wishes these groups to see themselves as just Jewish organizations. Still, since Jewish identity is inseparable from the land of its birth, Miller’s idea of dismantling almost certainly fits the bill of his final solutionist forebears.

Antisemitism always reaches the same lethal conclusion.

Omar Zahzah, another figure featured on the USACBI event, has long adopted Miller’s violent cues. A national board member of the Palestinian Youth Movement and former president of SJP, Zahzah called for intifada violence against Israelis and introduced a BDS resolution to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), his alma mater. The violent harassment of pro-Israel students he once defended seems like one way of doing so. “With our blood and souls,” he once avowed, “we will redeem you Palestine.”

It’s easy to forget that these conversations between demented and bloodthirsty anti-Semites are not taken underground, they happen in plain sight. Understand that the propositions taking place in SJP meetings are not new or misunderstood, and are certainly not to be ignored.

These speakers exploit the noble-sounding ideas college students especially have an appetite for, all the while determining the fate of the Jewish people. However, the only thing in the way of them achieving what Wannsee couldn’t is the Jewish state founded for that very reason.

The writer is a 2021-2022 fellow for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting & Analysis.