Why was an antisemitic anti-Israel activist forced on Jewish students, leaving some in tears?

By Sheldon L. Freilich, JNS

The Zionist Organization of America-Michigan Region is disturbed that known anti-Israel and antisemitic activist Huwaida Arraf was invited to speak at Bloomfield Hills High School as part of the school’s diversity initiative.

Arraf gave four presentations to a heavily Jewish student audience at Bloomfield Hills High School on March 14, 2023.  Her anti-Israel and antisemitic rhetoric made many Jewish students uncomfortable, with some leaving the assembly in tears.

She calls herself a “Palestinian human rights activist,” but her actions show she is an antisemitic anti-Israel advocate who supports terrorism.

Her Twitter account repeatedly displays antisemitic tropes and lies, calling Israelis “Jewish supremacists” and Israel an apartheid state. She has written in favor of Palestinians resorting to violence and insisted that suicide bombings are “noble.”

As chair of the Free Gaza Movement, Arraf was behind the infamous 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla, which attempted to break the perfectly legal Egyptian and Israeli weapons blockade of Gaza. Arraf was aboard one of the boats of the nine-ship flotilla, which was linked to both Hamas and Al-Qaeda.

Flotilla organizers made clear that their intention was to violate Israel’s security perimeter. They claimed their goal was to deliver humanitarian supplies. In fact, weapons and contraband were subsequently found on the Mavi Marmara.

Nearly two dozen members of Hamas used knives, clubs, chains and metal rods to mount an unprovoked attack on the Israeli weapons inspectors who boarded the flotilla in accordance with international law.  Video footage shows, among other acts of violence, an Israeli soldier being stabbed, gangs of passengers pummeling soldiers with metal rods and other objects and a soldier being thrown off one of the upper decks.

Arraf founded the International Solidarity Movement in 2001. ISM members take an active part in illegal and violent actions against IDF soldiers. At times, ISM activists work with representatives from Hamas and Islamic Jihad and support shooting attacks against Israeli civilians. When Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity was occupied by terrorists in 2002, Arraf and other “activists” acted as voluntary human shields on behalf of the terrorists.

ZOA-Michigan intends to ask the Bloomfield Hills school system the following questions: Was Arraf’s background vetted before inviting her to speak to students and how do we prevent this from happening again?

ZOA-Michigan recommends that a knowledgeable speaker be invited to give the students an honest and accurate picture of Israel, a vibrant democracy which ensures complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or gender. ZOA would be pleased to provide such a speaker.

Sheldon L. Freilich is president of the Zionist Organization of America-Michigan Region.

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