Using pseudo-intellectual jargon like “intersectionality,” multiple identity groups have made fealty to the Palestinian cause a litmus test for belonging to the wider left. The artificiality, or often absurdity, of the supposed “intersection” between Palestine and the fashionable cause of the moment matters not at all. Hence, Palestine is a queer issue, as much as it is a feminist issue, and a social justice issue. The common thread remains supposed shared oppression—regardless of how homophobic, sexist or dictatorial Palestinian society might be.


For over 50 years, the American left has tried rebranding the Palestinian cause by camouflaging Palestinian terrorism with the slogans of America’s civil rights movement. Today, a new generation of would-be radicals has stumbled onto this zombie corpse of ahistoric sloganeering with the confident excitement of college freshmen on their first beer run.

Using pseudo-intellectual jargon like “intersectionality,” multiple identity groups and astroturfed leftist political organizations have made fealty to the Palestinian cause a litmus test for belonging to the wider left. That is why many progressives were “exhilarated” by Hamas’ massacre of innocent people, and feminists remained silent about the Gazans’ mass rape of Israeli women. The artificiality, or often absurdity, of the supposed “intersection” between Palestine and the fashionable cause of the moment matters not at all. Hence, Palestine is a queer issue, as much as it is a feminist issue, and a social justice issue. The common thread remains supposed shared oppression—regardless of how homophobic, sexist or dictatorial Palestinian society might be.

But most group identities, no matter how politically fashionable, lack the social, cultural, and political heft to integrate the Palestinians into the new hierarchy of American victim groups and protected minorities. In America, only race has that valence. That is why other identity groups keep trying to graft their victimhood onto the story of the Black civil rights movement to cement their legitimacy.

The Palestinian cause has gained a seat in the progressive sectarian tent by piggybacking off the historical experience of American Blacks. Especially since 2020, Palestine has become thoroughly incorporated into Black Lives Matter sloganeering and visual aesthetics. As a result, an Arab nationalist movement fighting a battle 6,000 miles away from America’s Atlantic coast has become a central component of America’s “anti-racist struggle,” regardless of its lack of even the slightest connection to the historical reality of race-based discrimination in America, or to the values of the American civil rights movement.

The differences between the Palestinian national movement and the American civil rights movement are obvious and fundamental. Palestinians have played no role in American history or the history of slavery. Palestinians played no role in the civil rights struggle. The Palestinian-Israeli clash, which is occurring a world away from America, is national not racial. Most Israelis are dark-skinned, while some Palestinians are light-skinned. Nonviolence fueled the civil rights struggle, while the Palestinian movement keeps perfecting new forms of political violence and terror-porn, from hijacking to suicide bombing.

As this brief history suggests, the identification of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with America’s race problem was hardly made in America. It is a recent foreign import. Long before the “globalization of the intifada,” Soviet communist propagandists “internationalized” the Palestinian “struggle.” In the mid-1960s, under Soviet patronage, Palestine became a global cause for the international left, earning a privileged spot in the constellation of Soviet-backed Third World anti-colonial and anti-imperial “liberation” movements through their use of terror. Today’s movement toward the “Palestinianization” of the Black struggle in America therefore mirrors Soviet propaganda efforts that are now more than half a century old—30 years after Soviet communism imploded. Today’s campus commissars and progressive fanatics use very similar methods toward similar aims. If one wants to understand current rhetorical political alignments, understanding that history is therefore crucial.

As the late Palestinian academic, and member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) Palestinian National Council, Edward Said, put it in The Question of Palestine (1979), the Palestinian movement moved to situate “their struggle in the same framework that includes Vietnam, Algeria, Cuba, and black Africa,” joining “the universal political struggle against colonialism and imperialism.”

The turn toward worldwide anti-colonial revolution and “Third World solidarity” pivoted Palestinian rhetoric around race. As Said explained, “The Zionist settler in Palestine was transformed retrospectively and actually from an implacably silent master into an analogue of white settlers in Africa.”

In the mid-1960s, under Soviet patronage, Palestine became a global cause for the international left, earning a privileged spot in the constellation of Soviet-backed Third World ‘liberation’ movements.

Working with Soviet propagandists to delegitimize America’s ally in the Middle East, PLO leader Yasser Arafat jumped at the opportunity to brand Zionism as racism, binding the Palestinian cause to what in his infamous speech at the U.N. he called the global “struggle” against “colonialism, imperialism, neo-colonialism, and racism in all its forms, including Zionism.”

Still, after Israel won the Six-Day War in 1967, most Black American leaders, including Martin Luther King Jr., continued to support Israel passionately. Their identification with Zionism drew on powerful, historical bonds with Jewish leaders and organizations, cemented by decades of joint struggle.

Nevertheless, although aimed at the developing countries, the Soviet strategy made headway in America, too, where Maoist China had built strong relationships with radical Black activists like Robert Williams. Groups like the Black Panthers and other extremists fused Black Nationalism with Marxist-Leninism and Maoism. Also seeing themselves as advancing a global struggle, Black Power activists fed off Soviet communism, Maoist China, and Fidel Castro’s and Che Guevara’s Cuba in their search for external sponsors. As the rise of identity politics in the 1960s and 1970s paved the way for America’s grievance-based politics, sectarian activists gained cover to sacrifice individual rights on the altar of collective resentments.

These Maoist Black American figures detested the Constitution-positive, patriotic, liberal-left mainstream Black leadership of Dr. King and his circle. Shut out from the U.S. liberal power structure, these radicals began traveling to the Middle East and Africa and meeting with members of the PLO. In 1970, the “Committee of Black Americans for Truth about the Middle-East” took out an ad in The New York Times in “solidarity with the Palestinian people’s struggle for national liberation.” It declared that “Zionism is a reactionary racist ideology that justifies the expulsion of the Palestinian people from their homes and lands.” Marginal then, such rhetoric is common now on U.S. college campuses.

In defying Dr. King and other civil rights liberals they found insufficiently militant—and by defining themselves against Zionism, by extension—a new generation of Black radicals staked their claim to being the “true voice” of angry young men in the cities. They demanded “revolution,” nothing less. While the language of global Marxist radicalism alienated Black churchgoers in the civil rights heartland, it provided Black Power activists with allies and street cred among white Marxist campus radicals who likewise celebrated “revolution” and established trust-fund terrorist organizations like the Weather Underground.

The distance from anti-Zionism to antisemitism was predictably brief. One Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) newsletter portrayed the Jewish state as a tool of “white western colonial governments … helping white America to control and exploit the rich oil deposits of the Arab nations.” The pamphlet included a cartoon with a puppeteer’s hand marked with a Jewish star and a dollar sign, pulling on a rope hanging Egypt’s dictator Gamal Abdul Nasser and heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali; greedy Jews were lynching an iconic Black figure and an Arab leader, side by side. SNCC’s program director Ralph Featherstone denied charges of antisemitism, as would his comrades in their 1970 New York Times ad, claiming the cartoon “only” targeted Jewish oppressors—in Israel and “in the little Jew shops in the [Negro] ghettos.” Featherstone explained that the SNCC supported the Palestinian cause because it was working toward a “third world alliance of oppressed people all over the world—Africa, Asia, and Latin America.”


When the United Nations branded Zionism to be a form of “racism” in 1975, most mainstream African American leaders openly objected. Martin Luther King’s friend Bayard Rustin wrote a column invoking King’s famous comment that “when people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews, you are talking anti-Semitism.’” Vernon Jordan, the National Urban League president, wrote: “Black people, who recognize code words since we’ve been victimized by code words … can easily smell out the fact that ‘Zionism’ in this context is a code word for anti-Semitism.” Other civil rights leaders signed an ad proclaiming, “We have fought too long and too hard to root out discrimination from our land to sit idly while foreign interests import bigotry into America.” Nevertheless, by singling out Jewish nationalism as “racism,” the U.N. assisted in the effort to frame the Palestinian struggle as a racial conflict.

The equation of Zionism and racism, no matter how obviously ahistorical and unfair—no other form of nationalism is accused of being inherently racist—resonates and contaminates, inasmuch as race continues to have a hold on American emotions. The purpose of the slur is obvious and toxic: It aims to place American Jews, the vast majority of whom identify as some form of Zionist, outside the bounds of normal American morality, while stigmatizing Israel with America’s own historical guilt over race relations.

In the 1980s, the international left’s crusade focused on the apartheid regime in South Africa. Palestinian propagandists quickly appended the term “apartheid” to the Palestinian cause, further entrenching the racialist approach.

The Soviet Union’s collapse in the early 1990s deprived leftists of their ideological glue, while the end of South African apartheid deprived leftists of a favorite cause. Yet paradoxically, in the vacuum, these historic breakthroughs cleared the way for “Palestine” to become the paramount cause célèbre on the activist left. Wearing a kaffiyeh proved to fellow progressives that you passed a default ideological litmus test. Throughout, spearheaded by its Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, established while passing the 1975 Zionism-is-Racism resolution, the United Nations kept amplifying the Soviet-Palestinian antisemitic project.

Since 2010 or so, when progressive Third World sectarianism became quasi-official ideology among all right-thinking people, the Palestinian cause has become increasingly central in left doctrine, bounding to the top of the American left’s “anti-racist” agenda. Time and again, the Palestinian cause gets a free pass other movements somehow don’t merit. When the Black Lives Matter movement emerged, its activists policed any attempts to broaden their slogan to include other identity groups. Yet pro-Palestinian activists were allowed to appropriate the slogan “Palestinian Lives Matter” and to embed themselves in an internationalized framework against “oppression” that extends “from Ferguson to Gaza.”

BLM has helped Palestine activists repackage their predecessors’ racialist slogans and tailor them to fit America’s current pathological zeitgeist. In addition to run-of-the mill charges of “racism” and “apartheid”—the new hot items, in line with the broader political agenda and official terminology of the Democratic Party, are “white supremacy” and “white nationalism,” resulting in the charge that American Jews and Israelis are beneficiaries of “white privilege,” a statement that casually erases nearly all of Jewish history up to and including the Holocaust. Apparently, Jews—whether American or Israeli—are so privileged that not even centuries of exclusion and pogroms, culminating in the worst genocide in human history, can detract from their inherent status as “privileged,” i.e., evil.

During the George Floyd riots in 2020, Palestinian activists commandeered “I can’t breathe” as part of their transnational campaign painting Blacks and Palestinians as fellow victims of the same “structural violence, occupation, and colonial oppression” inflicted by “whites.” In what was dubbed the “deadly exchange,” intersectional propagandists for Palestine charged that the “Israeli military trains U.S. police in racist and repressive policing tactics, which systematically targets Black and Brown bodies.” This lie transformed some police junkets into nonexistent IDF boot camps where innocent American cops were systematically reeducated into specialized Israeli techniques of racial brutality.

The point of this bizarre accusation was not just that the Jews are oppressors. It was that “the Jews” are guilty of the most heinous crime in the American cosmos. Eerily echoing traditional blood libels, Jews became racist oppressors, complicit in, even responsible for America’s original sin, racist oppression. After all, it was the IDF that “perfected” the chokehold “used to murder George Floyd,” hundreds of academics and students in the University of California system declared. In other words, it was “the Jews” who had actually killed the 21st century’s leading American Black martyr.

In a way, this trajectory was inevitable, once progressives decided on a vision of social justice in which America would be run according to a sectarian quota system, in which they defined which groups would be worthy of everything from university admissions to political power. According to this logic, success and failure is—and should be—a function of group identity, which pigeonholes individuals as either “oppressors” or “oppressed.” Within this new taxonomy, American Jews have been defined as the quintessential “white oppressors,” since “Jew” is defined as being synonymous with “white” and “successful.” The Jewish connection to Israel makes the Jews doubly or triply as oppressive as other “white people.”

It is no coincidence that at its core the Palestinianization of the U.S. civil rights movement is an anti-American project. The intersection of the Palestinian cult of victimhood with the “anti-racist” progressive ideology being pushed institutionally by DEI regimes, not only declares that Israel is inherently racist, it also maligns America as systemically racist. The implication is clear: Both projects should be dismantled. That a generation of young American radicals chooses to ignore the real-world implications of these insane slogans is scary enough. That many of them, their professors, and other influential politicos in fact embrace the broader message, is terrifying.

Accommodating overseas elites by tolerating antisemitism on U.S. university campuses is part of a scheme to turn loss-leader DEI categories into profit centers


Five weeks after Rutgers University suspended the New Brunswick campus chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) on Dec. 11 for violating several university policies, the school reversed its decision and reinstated the pro-Hamas group. In celebration, SJP members filmed a video in the classic Palestinian terrorist style: faces covered in kaffiyehs, reading a communique which, following a diatribe against the Zionists, made a list of demands that the school must meet if it wished to wipe the stain of its complicity in genocide.

Since October, American cities and college campuses have been transformed into stages for this kind of Middle Eastern performance theater in support of Hamas and its murder, torture, and rape of Jews. Performances have ranged from vicarious partaking in the Oct. 7 pogrom, like the tearing down of posters of kidnapped Israelis, to calls for “globalizing” Palestinian terrorism “from New York to Gaza,” to outright expressions of support for Hamas and the extermination of Jews “from the river to the sea”—“by any means necessary,” lest there be any confusion. “There is nothing, nothing more honorable than dying for a noble cause, for justice,” a high-profile organizer of a rally at Columbia shouted into a bullhorn in a thick Arabic accent.

There’s also no confusion about the fact that these rallies feature Arab and Muslim students who eagerly support terrorism—often by denying that Hamas or its actions of Oct. 7 constitute “terrorism” at all. Equally evident is that many of the students leading, organizing, and participating in these protests and expressions of antisemitism and support for Hamas on college campuses are not Americans—meaning that they are not American citizens or even green card holders. Rather, they are foreign passport holders, including from Arab and Muslim countries, who have decided to avail themselves of U.S. educational infrastructure while importing the passions and prejudices of their home countries to American campuses.

American universities have made either an exceedingly clever or else exceedingly reprehensible bargain: quota-filling at a profit.

Indeed, the universities have acknowledged the obvious fact that many of the campus protest leaders are foreign students, here on limited educational visas, in the manner with which they have chosen to handle the Gaza protests. Early on, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) cautioned students who occupied lecture halls, prevented other students from going to class, and otherwise violated school policies and guidelines, that they could face suspension for their behavior. But it quickly became clear there would be no serious consequences for noncompliance. When the students pressed on, MIT only suspended a handful of them “from non-academic campus activities.” The explanation MIT President Sally Kornbluth gave for her decision was unambiguous: “serious concerns about collateral consequences for the students, such as visa issues.”

Plainly put, what Kornbluth said is that foreign students have been violating school policy, but academic suspension or expulsion would terminate their ability to remain in the country. MIT therefore refrained from disciplining these students in order to keep them enrolled.

Kornbluth’s concerns were well-founded. There are laws on the books that apply to foreign students and other nonresident aliens in the United States who support terrorist organizations like Hamas. Since October, leading Republican lawmakers have reminded everyone of the existence of these laws. Reps. Jim Banks, R-Ind., and Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., led 17 other Republican House representatives in a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas and Secretary of State Antony Blinken “to request information regarding the potentially unlawful presence on U.S. soil of non-immigrant foreign nationals who have endorsed terrorist activity.” The letter explained the relevant law:

Student visa applicants, like all non-immigrant visa applicants, must qualify under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to be approved for a visa. They are subject to a wide range of ineligibilities in Section 212(a) of the INA.

Section 212(a)(3)(B)(i)(VII) of the INA states that, “any alien – who endorses or espouses terrorist activity or persuades others to endorse or espouse terrorist activity or support a terrorist organization … is inadmissible.”

If a visa “was issued before DHS uncovers evidence of a visa-holder’s ineligibility under INA s.212(a)(3)B),” the legislators added, “the individual in question should immediately have their visa revoked and face expedited deportation proceedings.”

You could argue there are ideological reasons for the schools not to take action against foreign students. “Palestine,” after all, has found its place at the heart of progressive “intersectionality.” But there’s also a strong material incentive for the universities’ failure to obey the law.

The average share of international students in Ivy League schools who enrolled in the fall of 2023 is about 15%. The overall international share is higher. A quarter of Harvard’s student body is now international. At MIT, it’s nearly a third.

SJP members read a list of demands in a YouTube video
SJP members read a list of demands in a YouTube video

The scheme by which U.S. taxpayers pay to give 25% or more of the places at America’s most prestigious universities to foreign students is a recent innovation—one that took shape between 2004 and 2014, and has helped make the universities’ DEI rhetoric cost-free. The international share of freshmen at Georgetown nearly quadrupled from 3% in 2004 to 11% a decade later, with similar numbers at Berkeley and Yale. The growth in undergraduate enrollment at Yale during that decade was fueled almost entirely by foreigners. In that same period, the number of incoming foreign students at Ivy League schools rose by 46%.

Behind this increase lies the simple reality that only a comparatively small number of Americans can afford the mind-numbingly high fees that American universities extort from their captive domestic market. Foreign students, the overwhelming majority of whom are either the children of wealthy foreign elites or directly sponsored by their governments, represent a serious source of funding for American colleges, public and private alike. These students often pay full or near-full tuition and board, and help public universities balance the books in the face of budget cuts. More broadly, they augment revenue by helping to fill federally funded programs that are based on racial and ethnic quotas.

Depending on how you look at it, American universities have made either an exceedingly clever or else exceedingly reprehensible bargain: Quota-filling at a profit. While this practice is generally covered with asinine bureaucratic language such as “promoting diversity” and “fostering a cosmopolitan culture” for a “global community,” it is in fact a racket by which universities take slots presumably intended for members of groups that are held to be economically and culturally deprived—and on which the universities would be obligated to take a loss—and instead sell them at a profit to the families of some of the more privileged people on Earth, while also continuing to sell identity-politics platitudes as institutional ideology.

It seems obvious enough that foreign students who can afford the cost of full tuition and board without financial aid often come from the elite segment of their societies, which in authoritarian countries often translates into overlap with the ruling regimes. When it comes to the Middle East especially—though hardly exclusively—this privileged class is both outwardly “Westernized” and soaked in the antisemitism prevalent in their home societies.

What should universities do in response? Well, one move might be to hold seminars for incoming foreign students explaining that the group hatreds and conspiracy theories that fuel political discourse in their home countries are in fact poisonous—and according to U.S. law could easily get them expelled. Or, universities can pretend that these views are normal—and encourage home-grown professors to serve as faculty advisers and active sympathizers—so as not to disturb their cash cow.

And it’s not just tuition money that schools are milking. Foreign governments also write big checks to ensure that their students—and their politics—are given red-carpet treatment at big-name universities. According to the National Association of Scholars, since 2001 Qatar has given around $5 billion to American universities, more than any other foreign government. Between 2014 and 2019, American colleges and universities received $2.7 billion in Qatari funding without any public acknowledgment of the source of those funds. Given that Qatar hosts the leadership of Hamas, one can see how cracking down on Hamas-sympathizing students might seem like a bad idea for university presidents who cash Qatari checks.

The political and financial incentives for the universities, therefore, are straightforward. But here’s the thing: It’s not just the students who are breaking the law. The schools are actively doing so, too. Universities did not simply refrain from expelling foreign students who violated the terms of their visas by espousing and endorsing terrorist activity. They took extra steps to protect foreign students from the legal repercussions of their actions, which in some cases would appear to make the universities themselves accessories to the crime of facilitating terror-supporting activity.

In November of last year, for example, the presidents of Columbia University and Barnard College announced the establishment of the “Doxing Resource Group” in response to “Arab, Muslim, and Palestinian students,” who participated in the rallies cheering terrorism and the murder of Jews, having their names and photos publicized “by third parties.” This was doxing, according to the presidents: “a dangerous form of intimidation” that is “unacceptable.” For this initiative, Columbia and Barnard “have retained experts in the field of digital threat investigation and privacy scrubbing to support our impacted community members.”

That is, the schools hired people—who will work with the Offices of General Counsel, the Offices of the Provost, and Barnard College Information Technology—to erase whatever damning footprint their foreign students may have left online, which could be used as grounds for visa revocation and deportation. It should be noted that foreign students are not merely exercising their rights to free speech, whether determined by the First Amendment or university administrators: Foreign students are not U.S. citizens, and their entry and presence in this country are strictly conditional. Once these conditions are violated, the violators have no right to stay or exercise rights that belong to citizens.

The schools, in other words, know the law. They know that what their international students did violates the terms of their legal status in the U.S. and is therefore subject to legal sanction. Nevertheless, they took steps toward being actively complicit in their students’ illegal conduct.

But what the schools also know is that they have political cover from the Biden administration to violate the country’s visa and terrorism laws. On Nov. 1, three weeks after the Oct. 7 pogrom and the eruption of antisemitic, pro-Hamas street action in U.S. cities, the White House unveiled “the first-ever National Strategy to Counter Islamophobia in the United States.” The initiative, with its inversion of reality, gave a green light to pro-Hamas protesters while telegraphing to the university administrators that the former were members of a protected class—rather than a danger to public safety.

University administrators were hardly the only ones to get the message. In Massachusetts, for example, the top-down imperative to protect student demonstrators from the legal consequences of supporting terrorist groups led to a wholesale change in police functioning that under any other circumstances would be excoriated by the left as evidence of incipient fascism.

“Under Massachusetts law,” the University of Massachusetts Amherst explained in a statement, “daily police logs, including the names and addresses of arrestees, must be made public ‘without charge to the public during regular business hours and at all other reasonable times.’ For several years, the University of Massachusetts Police Department (UMPD) has posted these logs online to ensure compliance with state law. Beginning in December 2023, UMPD police logs will no longer be available on the UMPD website. UMPD logs will, however, remain available to the public at no charge at the UMPD lobby at 585 East Pleasant Street in Amherst.”

The real victims, you see, are the brave students chanting genocidal slogans in public; the villains are the people who attempt to “dox” them by posting footage of their noxious statements and behavior online.

Instead of this kind of dangerous moral inversion, universities and the state and federal authorities that govern their behavior would be better served by obeying the law. Deporting foreign students who support and aid terror groups that kill Americans and hold them hostage seems like a first step toward sanity at American universities whose desire to have their sectarian DEI cake and get even fatter by eating it has led them into a moral abyss.