Trending Topics:

Allegations of anti-Semitism used to cover up anti-Palestinian hate crime in Brooklyn

on 68 Comments

On the evening of October 7th, after a basketball game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Israeli team Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Palestinian-American Nerdeen Kiswani was attacked by a group of Maccabi Electra fans. The 20-year-old Hunter College student was punched in the stomach, and a Palestinian flag was torn from her hands.

Among her attackers was Leonard Petlakh, a professor of Jewish history at her own school, and the executive director of the Kings Bay YM-YWHA (Young Men’s Hebrew Association). According to witnesses present during the assault, along with video evidence, Petlakh and his accomplices were plotting their attack on the young woman.

Kiswani published a Facebook status at 10:14pm on the night of the attack, recounting the horrific event. Her Palestinian flag was torn from her hands and she was punched in the stomach. She wrote “I was shaking and screaming and told them what happened [but] they pushed me to the side and let him go even though it was on camera.” Kiswani adds that several witnesses told the guards they explicitly saw the attack, but the guards did not listen and let Petlakh and his accomplices go. “I’m shaking,” she recalled. “They got 6 guards on me for a flag, a Zionist punches me in the stomach [and] I get cursed out by tons of white middle aged men. I’m the only visibly Muslim woman there.”

This is not the first time Kiswani has been targeted by police. She said

the number of times I’ve been assaulted by police for being near a protest [and] for existing as a Muslim Palestinian woman in this city is insane. I brush it off all the time. But this time when there’s witnesses and I get assaulted by a middle aged man in front of hundreds of people I honestly didn’t believe they’d look at me like I was crazy and let him go. … It’s exhausting being a Palestinian Muslim woman in this world. … Cops only exist to protect certain kinds of people, especially in NYC. I’m not one of those people.

Security escorted the assailants from Barclays without any questioning. When witnesses alerted nearby police of the assault (and of the inaction of the security staff), the NYPD reacted similarly; instead of listening to what they had to say, they threatened the witnesses with arrest.

Nerdeen filed an assault complaint against the group of attackers. On October 21st, on the steps of Brooklyn Borough Hall, a coalition of activists and human rights groups held a press conference to publicize details of the attack.

I got in touch with Nathan Sheard, Campaign Organizer for the peace organization CODEPINK’s Communities Organizing to Demilitarize Enforcement campaign, who spoke at the press conference. He expressed CODEPINK’s support for and solidarity with Kiswani and condemned “all forms of violence rooted in oppression and bigotry.” Sheard said that while he “wish[ed] there were other methods of recourse beyond depending on the mechanisms of a state itself complicit in violence against Palestinian and Muslim peoples both here and in Palestine, we recognize that solidarity does not mean telling those directly affected what Justice should look like.”

On behalf of CODEPINK, Sheard expressed “hope that the people of New York and those sworn to represent them will fulfill the obligations to which they have committed, and take action to make it clear we will not tolerate the violence of hate and two-tiered system of protection.”

National Lawyers Guild attorney and human rights advocate Lamis Deek, representing Kiswani, also spoke at the press conference, as did representatives from Jewish Voice for Peace and Al-Awda NY.

Deek told The Brooklyn Paper “My client Nerdeen Kiswani, was the true victim, of not only Mr. Petlakh, but also his gang of thugs. Mr. Petlakh felt that he could and would get away with claiming he was the victim when he was the aggressor. What he and his friends displayed that night was anti-Muslim, anti-Palestinian hatred against Ms. Kiswani.”

As horrible as Kiswani’s story is, she was not the only Palestinian solidarity activist reportedly targeted that night. Several other pro-Palestinian advocates, protesting outside Barclays, reported being sexually harassed by Israel supporters.

Fabricating a Hate Crime to Cover Up a Real Hate Crime

The story did not end here. After he and his accomplices physically assaulted a young Palestinian woman, Petlakh told the police that, later in that same night, he himself was allegedly assaulted in a hate crime. He falsely accused 25-year-old journalist and Palestinian solidarity organizer Shawn Carrié of punching him for being Jewish.

Many news sources quickly jumped to inaccurate and dishonest conclusions. Haaretz, the Jewish Daily Forward, the New York Daily News, all accused Carrié (whom they refer to as Shawn Schrader, but who goes by Shawn Carrié) of a “hate crime.”

Haaretz cites Petlakh claiming that, “as he left the [basketball] game,” he was verbally harassed before being punched. Petlakh’s account completely distorts the order of events and implies that he was attacked purely out of hate. No mention is made of the assault on Kiswani.

Many of these publications quote Petlakh encouraging readers to “volunteer to serve in the Israel Defense Forces,” and draw exclusively from his testimony. They also heavily cite Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn), who jumped the gun, immediately and erroneously assuming that Carrié’s alleged punching of Petlakh was racially motivated, and demanded that authorities punish the activist more harshly. Cymbrowitz claimed Carrié “was part of a group of anti-Israel protestors whose intentions turned hateful and violent.” No mention whatsoever is made of the group of pro-Israel protesters who assaulted a young Palestinian woman, among others.

Not a single source, in fact, makes any mention of the attack on Kiswani. The NY Daily News does note that, during the basketball game, one of Petlakh’s accomplices accosted a stranger who was waving a Palestinian flag, sparking an argument that continued outside.

The Palestine Solidarity network noted the irony that a group of middle-aged white males would proudly post a video of their own assault on a young woman of color, and then blame her for their crime.

In the video, ludicrously titled “Anti Israel provocation at Barclays Center,” you can see how Petlakh and his accomplices initiate the conflict. The men were clearly targeting Kiswani, and their assault was premeditated. The young woman is simply standing there, holding a Palestinian flag, while the men point at her on camera, speaking about her in Russian. According to two different translators with whom I consulted, the men call Kiswani a “beast” and “creature” before saying “take the flag; you want to.”

Petlakh teaches a course on Russian Jewish history at Hunter College, and is the first Russian-speaking Vice President of the American Zionist Movement. Perhaps he and his accomplices did not expect viewers to understand the racism they were spewing on camera. Regardless, posting video evidence of you and your friends dehumanizing a young Palestinian woman before plotting to assault her may not be construed as the most prudent of decisions.

At 0:21, one of the men approaches Kiswani and violently pulls the flag from her hands. At 0:29, you can see that the man assaulted Kiswani right in front of young children, presumably Petlakh’s. The man who assaulted her then calls out “Can I get an usher?”—doubtless knowing that, given the egregious degree of racism and Islamophobia in US society, the usher will believe his story over hers. When the guard arrives, you can hear him ask “What’s the problem?” A bystander replies “He took her private property” and Kiswani says “He assaulted me.” The guard asks whether the flag belongs to her, and the assailant admits that it does, insisting “I didn’t want to have a political statement.” Much like Israel itself, the pro-Israel attacker thought it was okay to physically harm another person because he didn’t agree with her politics, let alone with her right to hold a flag in a public place.

(In case the attackers realize posting evidence of their crime is perhaps not the best idea and decide to take it down, I have archived the YouTube information here and the video itself here—which I have renamed, much more accurately, as “Anti-Palestinian provocation at Barclays Center.”)

The conflict, initiated by Petlakh and his accomplices, continues after the video ends, yet even this short clip clearly contradicts Petlakh’s testimony—the only testimony cited in any of these news stories. In order to understand what happened off camera, a journalist would have to interview witnesses. Not a single news publication interviewed a witness, however; Petlakh’s allegations, doubtless impartial given his complicity in the assault, are taken at face value, as fact.

I spoke with several activists who attended the event, one of whom witnessed the attack on Kiswani. They spoke of incredible hatred, verging on violence, directed toward them, as they protested in what Dave Zirin described as the “fenced-off pen on the narrow strip of sidewalk,” in “an outdoor space built with public funds was deemed a privatized, no-free-speech zone, enforced by armed public employees.”

Zirin spoke of the pro-Israel counter-protesters who showed up. “All male, mostly young and carrying Israeli flags, they showered the demonstrators with profanity … and raised a middle finger.” When he tried to interview one of the Israel supporters, the man replied “F*ck them, f*ck your questions and f*ck you. Get the f*ck away from me before I bury you”; when Zirin asked how the man wanted to be identified, he responded “My name is ‘f*ck you.'”

Jewish Voice for Peace and Adalah New York were among the protesters outside Barclays, criticizing the Nets for hosting 12 wounded Israeli soldiers and Barclays for collaborating with the organization Friends of the Israel Defense Forces. Zirin reported seeing protesters holding signs reading “This Jew says no to Gaza slaughter.” Haaretz is the only mainstream publication to even acknowledge their presence. A critical reader would see this as a reminder that, in spite of Petlakh’s insistence to the contrary, many of the most prominent Palestinian solidarity activists in the US are in fact Jewish themselves.

The Witch Hunt of Shawn Carrié

Perhaps the most shocking aspect of this story, nonetheless, is the subsequent witch hunt of Shawn Carrié.

On October 16th, Carrié was over 950 miles away from Brooklyn, in Ferguson, Missouri, reporting on the brutal, militarized police repression of nonviolent civil rights protests, when the FBI showed up and arrested him. Police flew him almost 1,000 miles from Ferguson back to Brooklyn, where he was jailed for 60 hours.

I spoke with Carrié’s lawyer, Lamis Deek. She explained that the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force found Petlakh’s accusations to be completely false and unfounded; Carrié was never even charged with a hate crime. In spite of the fact there was no evidence of a crime that he was never charged with, and in spite of the fact that a police investigation firmly stated otherwise, the District Attorney still stubbornly argued Carrié had committed a hate crime—an accusation the judge called “preposterous.” No mainstream media source took the time to report these crucial facts, yet alone to apologize for its erroneous claims.

I reached out to Carrié for a statement, yet he was unable to comment on the case, for legal reasons.

That police would travel several states over and fly a 25-year-old journalist suspected of punching a man in the nose back to a Brooklyn jail is strange to say the least, particularly considering the incredible lack of interest the police displayed in response to the attack on Kiswani.

Carrié has had work published in Adbusters, The Nation, PolicyMic, Truthout, among other publications. He was also heavily involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement. In 2013, Carrié in fact successfully sued New York City for a series of beatings and unconstitutional treatment at the hands of police.

In its official statement, the New York City Palestine Solidarity network “strongly condemn[ed] anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and all forms of racism,” noting that “phony accusations of anti-Semitism undermine and take lightly the seriousness and danger of true anti-Semitism.” The organization expressed disgust with this “cynical manipulation of the charge of anti-Semitism, which was used to discredit pro-Palestine organizations, particularly Jewish Voice for Peace, and possibly to distract from an Islamophobic hate crime.”

The Palestinian Solidarity network called “the media’s rush to judgment and failure to investigate violations against pro-Palestine demonstrators … irresponsible journalism that contributes to fear and distrust in New York City,” lamenting that “the vastly unequal treatment of victim Nerdeen Kiswani and apparent aggressor Leonard Petlakh at Barclays Center on October 7 is but one example of pervasive institutional discrimination, privileging anti-Palestine groups and individuals.”

“We demand nothing less than full equal treatment of pro-Palestine groups and individuals engaged in activism in New York City and beyond,” the human rights advocates insisted.

Ben Norton

Ben Norton is a journalist and writer based in New York City. His work has been featured in a variety of publications. You can follow Ben on Twitter at @BenjaminNorton. His website is

Other posts by .

Posted In:

68 Responses

  1. piotr on October 23, 2014, 12:42 pm

    Any guesses if Prof. Leonard Petlakh will be held to the standards of politeness?

      • Abierno on October 23, 2014, 9:36 pm

        Actually Petlakh’s actions could be construed as criminal. Punching a woman in the stomach is a felony; in concert with stealing her Palestinian flag as well as affiliation with sexually threatening associates, this could well rise the the level of a hate crime. Finally, the made up story that he was himself a victim of a hate crime could be construed as obstruction of justice. I believe most tenure contracts have clauses allowing dismissal for felony conviction. And moral turpitude. Both appear operative here. I hope Mondoweiss will continue to publicize this case, following from arraignment to trial and to closely monitor Hunter college’s action. Inquiring minds would wonder if Petlakh would not have known who she was given that she is also a Palestinian activist. Also, one wonders about the YMHA response – is this man their chosen role model for Jewish youth?

      • Sycamores on October 24, 2014, 10:54 am

        @ Abierno,

        without doubt Petlakh is a disgrace of a man and he was one of the instigators but from what i read i can’t find any evidence (i’m still searching) that it was Petlakh who punch Nerdeen Kiswani.

        however considering that Petlakh was attacked several minutes later could suggest that it was in retaliation for punching Nerdeen Kiswani.

        punching anyone is wrong, punching a young woman in the stomach is really sick, who’s to say she’s not with child.

      • piotr on October 25, 2014, 1:32 pm

        My bad, “civility” is the proper word. As far as role models for Jewish youth are concerned, the standard is (Wiki:) Bnei Akiva, the largest religious Zionist youth movement in the world. You can check the Wiki page for “Controversies”:

        In July 2014 Rabbi Noam Perel, secretary-general of World Bnei Akiva […] wrote on his Facebook page: “An entire nation and thousands of years of history demand revenge … The government of Israel is gathering for a revenge meeting that isn’t a grief meeting. The landlord has gone mad at the sight of his sons’ bodies. A government that turns the army of searchers to an army of avengers, an army that will not stop at 300 Philistine foreskins”. According to Ha’aretz newspaper, he was “alluding to the biblical tale of David, who killed 200 Philistines and gave their foreskins to King Saul as the bride price for his daughter”.

        Later Rav Noam issued an apology, it gives bad example to the younglings to take such liberties when quoting the Holy Book (like 300 rather than 200).

    • adele on October 23, 2014, 3:15 pm

      Here is literally an actual example of a student being aggressed and attacked by an adult male, a teacher from the same college attended by the female victim, and I don’t see any press releases or public emails from administrators condemning this violence. The hypocrisy is nauseating and only goes to prove that ANY pronouncements made by university administration is not worth the ink it is printed on.

    • adele on October 23, 2014, 3:20 pm

      Here is Leonard Petlakh’s bio at the American Zionist Movement (AZM):

      Vice President Leonard Petlakh received his B.A. from Hunter College and his M.B.A from Baruch College, both CUNY schools. He has served as the Executive Director of the Kings Bay YM-YWHA in Brooklyn since December 2006. The Y is the largest multi-program community center serving thousands of residents of the Sheepshead Bay, Marine Park, Homecrest, Midwood, Bergen Beach and Mill Basin neighborhoods of Brooklyn with a variety of programs for children and adults of all ages. Recently the Y has grown by adding its fourth location in Windsor Terrace, serving the Kensington, South Slope and Windsor Terrace neighborhoods of Brooklyn with programs for children and families. Petlakh served as the Associate Executive Director of the Hebrew Free Loan Society in NY from 1999 to 2006.

      Petlakh co-teaches an undergraduate Jewish history course at Hunter College and lives in South Merrick, Long Island, with his wife and two sons. The eldest spends his summers at Young Judea’s Sprout Lake Camp and is looking forward to his Bar Mitzvah in Israel in 2013.

      • bilal a on October 24, 2014, 3:26 pm

        I understand Christians are funding the emigration of Zionist Jews from America to Israel, is there any way we can nominate the Petlack family for priority seating ? Is there a crowd funding donation soruce ?

        Christian Evangelicals’ mass aliyah push touches Jewish nerve
        The group’s plan has set off a furious controversy on multiple levels.

  2. eljay on October 23, 2014, 1:10 pm

    Mr. Petlakh is a bully, a hate-monger and a coward – eager to commit acts of injustice and immorality, but unwilling to accept responsibility and accountability for his actions. He is…a Zio-supremacist.

    My sympathies to Ms. Kiswani.

    • Mooser on October 23, 2014, 5:41 pm

      My sympathies to Mrs. Petlakh.

      • bintbiba on October 23, 2014, 7:42 pm

        :- )

      • marc b. on October 24, 2014, 9:37 am

        my sympathies to his kids. (I doubt Ms. Petlakh finds any of this alarming.) first ‘dad’ assaults a woman, then gets his clock cleaned. муда́к.

      • Mooser on October 24, 2014, 3:53 pm

        I can’t imagine what my wife would say if I was in a public brawl, and with a women, too! She would think my behavior was abominable. It hadn’t occurred to me that different standards may obtain among those who move in more elite company. Maybe he was trying to keep up with the Palins?

  3. Horizontal on October 23, 2014, 1:33 pm

    I can only imagine the courage it takes for a Palestinian woman to protest Zionism in NYC.

    Instead of teaching Russian Jewish history, Prof. Petlakh might benefit from a course or two on American History, with a focus on the First Amendment.

    • michelle on October 23, 2014, 6:05 pm

      you mean he still has a job teaching people
      no way
      not after attacking a student verbally and physically
      on camera then lying to officals about it
      no way
      in America in New York
      no way
      say it isn’t so then make me believe it
      what a sad day for truth
      G-d Bless

      • Horizontal on October 23, 2014, 9:19 pm

        Not sure if he is still teaching or what effect — if any — this incident will have on his employer. Strange thing, my search for “Petlakh” on the Hunter College faculty & staff website returned no hits.

        The Yeshiva World News says this:

        Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn) released a statement following today’s announcement by police of an arrest in the October 7th attack on Leonard Petlakh, executive director of the Kings Bay Y.

        I’ll say this: the guy gets around.

    • Kris on October 23, 2014, 6:52 pm

      I don’t think Mr. Petlakh teaches at Hunter College, SUNY.

      He is not listed in the Hunter College faculty/staff directory, and he is not in the History Department’s lists of part-time or full- faculty members.

      Maybe he taught a course there once in the past.

  4. clenchner on October 23, 2014, 1:44 pm

    Kudos to Jewish Voice for Peace for their role here – engaging in responsible political action and denouncing violence.
    Here’s the first press release they sent out over this incident:

    Submitted by Naomi Dann on Wed, 10/08/2014 – 1:58pm

    *Statement amended October 20th*

    Further information regarding the incident at Barclays Center on 1010/7/14 has revealed that a Muslim woman carrying a Palestinian flag was assaulted at the Nets/Maccabi game and is pressing charges. A suspect was apprehended in conjunction with the assault on Mr. Petlakh, and the incident is no longer being investigated as a hate crime.

    October 8th, 2014. Jewish Voice for Peace deplores the violent incident at last night’s NY Nets and Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball game at Barclays Center. We send our sympathies to Leonard Petlakh, who was assaulted at the end of the game and suffered a broken nose and lacerations requiring stitches. The details remain unclear and we support a full investigation into this incident to determine what happened.

    JVP-NY members gathered outside the game to protest the fundraiser held by the Friends of the IDF at the stadium before the game. JVP members held signs and handed out flyers expressing the view that honoring the IDF only a few weeks after Israel’s attack on Gaza has ended contradicts our values as Jewish New Yorkers. We were there as part of a large coalition of organizations who were all committed to non-violently protesting this event.

    JVP-NY member Pam Sporn gave an eyewitness report of the protest:

    “The police had us behind a barricade on the sidewalk, while many people aggressively waving Israeli flags were in front of Barclays yelling at us and making rude gestures. Several times the police used a bullhorn to tell them to back up. The protest dispersed at 8 PM. Before we left, a police official said to us, “Thanks for making our job easier.” I don’t think he would have said that if someone from the protest had attacked someone. However, while a small group of us were leaving the area, a group 3 young men with Israeli flags harassed us and said that we “need Israeli dick.”

    If something happened after the game, which would have been several hours after the protest ended, it had nothing to do with us or the demonstration.”

    While the details of this incident are unclear, we reiterate our commitment to non-violence and express our horror at the injuries that Mr. Petlakh suffered. We hope to know soon the full details of what happened.

    We reaffirm our steadfast opposition to all forms of bigotry, violence and hate, including anti-semitism, anti-arab hate, and misogyny.

    • Mooser on October 23, 2014, 4:14 pm

      While the details of this incident are unclear, we reiterate our commitment to non-violence and express our horror at the injuries that Mr. Petlakh suffered. We hope to know soon the full details of what happened.

      I see.

  5. Cliff on October 23, 2014, 2:50 pm

    Its little stories like this that demonstrate the futility in dialogue with Zionists.

    It also shows how wrong Chomsky is on BDS.

    He’s all about not alienating Zios. Look at the Zios in the video.

    The mainstream American Jewish community is led by vulgar Zionists. Fanatical ethno-religious nationalists.

    Even the tepid Zionists (like the one woman who debated Max B.) are pathological. They can be polite and sympathetic but still they’re hypocrites who enjoy freedom here in America and espouse backwardsness in Israel/Palestine for the sake of Jewish sovereignty.

    I guess, I’m done with this issue.

    I never had a dog in this fight to begin with. It’s such an ugly conflict and it has far-reaching implications for America and our society.

    It showed me how ugly the Jewish community is in our country. And it shattered my perspective on social norms and conventions.

    I have never met people so ugly than the Zionists on MW and elsewhere on the net. Other than racists in real life.

  6. seafoid on October 23, 2014, 2:58 pm

    “Among her attackers was Leonard Petlakh, a professor of Jewish history at her own school.”-

    Professor of Jewish history and embodiment of the Jewish present. WTF.

    • eGuard on October 23, 2014, 4:02 pm

      From the linked AZM site: Petlakh co-teaches an undergraduate Jewish history course at Hunter College.

      It’s a hands-on course. This day the class went outdoor to exercise Zionist Terrorism.

      • Mooser on October 23, 2014, 6:15 pm

        Love to see the syllabus for Prof. Pletakh’s course. I bet it’s a doozy.

      • adele on October 23, 2014, 6:42 pm

        It doesn’t get better than this. Petlakh has been nominated for “emerging leader” award from the Russian-American Person of the Year organization. Voting is currently taking place online.

        According to the website: “Emerging Leader of the Year is awarded to a YOUNG professional who demonstrates exemplary leadership skills with a commitment to local, state, or national cultural communities”

        The takeaway: YOUNG Petlakh has lots more years ahead in which he can continue to abuse and assault people and then claim victimization.

      • seafoid on October 24, 2014, 3:18 am

        Petlak teaches a class on “why the Cossacks were right in hindsight even though very Jews realised it at the time”

      • Horizontal on October 24, 2014, 12:47 pm

        adele ~

        Petlakh’s got his work cut out for him: he’s up against a professional boxer, a cop, and some kid who been all over the world collecting signatures.

        Maybe assaulting a protester rockets him to the top of the list.

  7. seafoid on October 23, 2014, 3:34 pm

    The organization expressed disgust with this “cynical manipulation of the charge of anti-Semitism “-

  8. Kris on October 23, 2014, 6:33 pm

    Lying to a police officer is a crime.

  9. traintosiberia on October 23, 2014, 9:35 pm
    ADL is enlisting the cyber media to stop speech – Hate Speech.
    It is amazing pure simple ,Orweillan .
    But are these guys are looking into the abyss and trying to draw the rest with them?
    The empire on way out really becomes very repressive,arrogant,and incoherent . The movement of any nature under the burden of reality can die in same fashion. The dirty tricks,the lies the suppression the monolithic ramblings from the rowdy feckless crowd to the more sober serene places adorned by politicians and media show the death of the Zionism .
    What has happened in 13 yrs? PNAC or AEI or JINSA did not expect history be created in this direction. Their dream of Israel transcending the reality and create a new reality of its choice has died years ago ,just like American dream of control over the events in ME . The more they mop the floor, more wastes appears . Is that frustration evident here? An academic going ballistic out in the open against his own student tells something is rotting and it is rotting from head.
    Has it ever happened anywhere else in the world including in Na8 Germany!

  10. joer on October 23, 2014, 10:01 pm

    On second 39 of the video, if you freeze the video at the right instant you can get a good view of the guy who snatches the flag. I have my opinion of who it looks like-Petlakh-does anyone agree? There are lots of pictures of him on Google.

    • Horizontal on October 24, 2014, 12:17 pm

      Don’t know about that but can hear one of the men answering a question with: “. . . because I didn’t want a political statement,” pretty much admitting that they did do something to Ms. Kiswani.

      Dialogue with thugs isn’t going to get you anywhere.

  11. JLewisDickerson on October 23, 2014, 10:53 pm

    RE: “On the evening of October 7th, after a basketball game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Israeli team Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Palestinian-American Nerdeen Kiswani was attacked by a group of Maccabi Electra fans. The 20-year-old Hunter College student was punched in the stomach, and a Palestinian flag was torn from her hands. “ ~ Ben Norton

    AS TO THIS TYPE OF “PROTO-NAZISM”, SEE: “Met Protest Over ‘Klinghoffer’; Proto-Nazism on Exhibition”, by Norman Pollack,, October 22, 2014

    [EXCERPT] Israel’s policies and actions toward the Palestinians has been a principal incitement of international terrorism. To say that, does not excuse the latter, but does help to explain it. Had Israel chosen a different path from its founding (Arno Mayer’s Ploughshares into Swords records in detail the events of 1945-48 demonstrating the Zionist paradigm of ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Arab population, with few dissenting voices, such as Martin Buber and Judah Magnes), one can speculate that the historical outcome would have been a different spirit and structure of the Middle East, far more promoting of Jewish security certainly than in the present. The irony of history: authoritarianism feeds upon itself, force against force, hatred fully reciprocated. The original fault lies with a totalitarian Zionism which refused to credit the humanity of those it sought to displace, rather than live peacefully among—hubris hiding behind the fig leaf of providing a refuge for the victims of the Holocaust.

    The Holocaust was the systematic execution voicing World Evil, mercilessly planned and carried out on a hitherto unknown scale of human depravity. Survivors and descendants would bear the scars. Yet rather than engender compassion embracing the whole of humanity and life itself, the reaction was that of vengeance, of seeking power, however ruthless the consequences, as a self-protective shield with the inscription, “Never again”. At first, that seemed natural, and even commanded world respect following World War II. But the psychology of suffering was so intense as though breaking into another realm, what I am calling the introjection of the mentality of the Nazi executioner, perhaps not even realizing it.

    How otherwise view the history of modern Israel with respect to its own militarism, cult of superiority, reactionary stance in world politics, discouragement of internal dissent, and, obviously, treatment of the Palestinians, an Occupation not unlike what Europe experienced decades earlier? Humiliation, check-points, bulldozers, terrorist-like arrests in the middle of the night, the ever-present blockade, all-in-all a studied effort at imposing degradation on a people, the better (presumably) to enforce social control.

    From IDF shootings of adolescents to the scene in New York, Monday, October 20, at the Metropolitan Opera is a straight-line projection, nominally, to protest the performance of John Adams’s “Klinghoffer,” but far more, having nothing to do with the opera, rising to the occasion of absolutist self-justification of all Israel has done and everything it stands for. For the most part, world Jewry supports that record and finds only goodness in Israel, making Judaism and Israel indissoluble in meaning and moral value. There I disagree strongly. Israel is not Judaism, and, indeed, is fast becoming a curse on Judaism, by its wanton killings, arrogance, willingness to cause universal calamity to satisfy its policies. Bomb Iran. Bomb Assad. Bomb, bomb, bomb, power stations, water treatment plants, schools, shelters. Invincibility, the national disease. And AIPAC, hosannas to the heavens—American Jewry fearful of its own shadow, not from external forces, but congregational unanimity lest one be declared the Self-Hating Jew. . .


    • pabelmont on October 24, 2014, 7:24 am

      Israel is indeed a producer of terrorism. It does not limit its activity to waving flags, however, but does its own (severe) violence against Palestinians and others and has done so for 66 years.

      Waving a Palestinian flag may be a provocation (to Zios) but is (IMO) more like speech than like action and is certainly not violence. Punching the flag waver is violence and is, in this case I’d argue, a “hate crime”.

      Protecting the violent and waving-off the injured is standard behavior for police forces which see themselves as in the business of [1] protecting status quo and protecting the rich and powerful rather than [2] enforcing the law and preventing crime. (These are actually different jobs, and only [2] makes sense for a truly public-serving police force.) NYPD, is this you?

      • Horizontal on October 24, 2014, 12:34 pm

        I think this entire story needs to be couched in this context:

        N.Y. mayor at closed AIPAC gala: Part of my job is to defend Israel.
        Mayor Bill de Blasio says ‘there is no greater ally on earth’ than Israel, in speech to Israel lobby that did not appear on public schedule.”

        The local government sets the tone where violations of individual rights like we are discussing are virtually guaranteed, and we see the disgusting results; all because of the basest form of political pandering to a violent, dishonest, entrenched thugocracy. And I can’t believe that the Mayor’s sick attitude doesn’t somehow or other bleed down into the police force.

        The Israel lobby’s event was closed to journalists and the speech did not appear on the mayor’s public schedule, arousing suspicion and making the event all the more intriguing. A reporter with Capital who tried to get into the event was escorted out by security.

        This evil can only occur under the cover of darkness.

        Here’s the entire article

      • adele on October 24, 2014, 5:37 pm

        Brilliant Horizontal, that is the only sane way to frame this sordid story! The corruption definitely starts at the top.

  12. weiss on October 23, 2014, 11:23 pm

    Petlakh teaches at the SAME Hunter College that forced Israeli policy critic Norman Finkelstein…

    Go figure…

  13. jayn0t on October 24, 2014, 2:01 am

    This story is a clear illustration of the reasons for the failure of the Palestine solidarity movement. Its members really seem to think they can use left-wing morality to liberate the Palestinians. “The New York City Palestine Solidarity network “strongly condemn[ed] anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and all forms of racism,” noting that “phony accusations of anti-Semitism undermine and take lightly the seriousness and danger of true anti-Semitism.””. Why on earth would a Palestine solidarity network care about “anti-Semitism”?

    • Mooser on October 24, 2014, 11:51 am

      “This story is a clear illustration of the reasons for the failure of the Palestine solidarity movement. “

      Gee, ‘jaynOt’ I read Mondowiess pretty closely, usually in the morning, but I missed the article on the “failure of the Palestine solidarity movement.”
      Maybe I’m just obtuse, but in what way has the Palestine solidarity movement failed?

    • Horizontal on October 24, 2014, 12:41 pm

      “Left-wing morality?”

      So right-wingers are fine with anti-Semitism? Good to know.

      Why on earth would a Palestine solidarity network care about “anti-Semitism”?

      You really need to get out more and stop projecting your limited ability to care about others onto others. A novel concept, I know.

    • Ellen on October 24, 2014, 1:21 pm

      Why on earth would a Palestine solidarity network care about “anti-Semitism”

      Because Judeophobia, or anti Judaism (or what you call “anti-semitism”) is something the Religious Nationalist enterprise of Zionism needs. Zionism must cultivate and nourish this reality or at least the perception of it. Zionism needs Judeophobia like a plant needs water.

      And also because the Palestinian Solidarity Movement is actively denouncing all form of racism, intolerance and bigotry to distinguish itself as a universal movement.

      • bilal a on October 24, 2014, 3:39 pm

        “because the Palestinian Solidarity Movement is actively denouncing all form of racism, intolerance and bigotry to distinguish itself as a universal movement. “..

        except broad brush stereotyping of white gentiles, eg

        “White males post video of assault on a woman of color, then blame victim.
        But what’s new?”

        recalls Jon Stewart talking about white privilege without once mentioning other forms of privilege

      • annie on October 24, 2014, 3:56 pm

        who’s the white gentile? and how does that broad brush anyone except whomever posted the video. i’m not grasping your logic, please explain.

        recalls Jon Stewart talking about white privilege without once mentioning other forms of privilege

        ? except that article is not about “Jon Stewart talking about white privilege without once mentioning other forms of privilege”

        so how it “recalls” it is completely lost on me.

      • Mooser on October 24, 2014, 4:03 pm

        I still want to know when the Palestine Solidarity movement was declared a “failure” and by who?

      • annie on October 24, 2014, 4:40 pm

        exactly! i second that! even chomsky said

        Maybe 500 or 600 students were there, all enthusiastic, engaged, committed, concerned, wanting to do something about it. That’s happening all over the country. All over the country, Palestinian solidarity is one of the biggest issues on campus—enormous change in the last few years.

        if this is anybody’s idea of failure, they have rocks for brains. i think it’s a case of sour grapes if you ask me.

    • adele on October 24, 2014, 5:44 pm

      jaynot – why shouldn’t the Palestine Solidarity Network care about anti-semitism, I’m curious to know your opinion on this.

  14. concernedhuman on October 24, 2014, 6:22 am

    So in the land of free and the brave its ok for some one to assault a a Palestinian muslim women and get away with it .

    This is what is FREEDOM and FREESOCIETY is.

    And still arabs think US is a honest broker in the I/p conflict?

    A male professor assaults a girl of age of student and walks away, Is just like Israel murders 500 children and gets a pass .

  15. hophmi on October 25, 2014, 6:28 pm

    Totally non-credible story. No evidence whatsoever Peltakh was involved in taking the flag or that she was actually punched.

    This is damage control, very late damage control, by the BDS protesters at the game.

    • Cliff on October 25, 2014, 9:29 pm

      Your fellow Jewish supremacist is the one who assaulted the woman.

      This wouldn’t have happened had it not been for hate-filled freaks, who go out looking to bully/harass/often murder Palestinians or those who support the Palestinians.

    • tree on October 25, 2014, 9:36 pm

      The police investigated Petlakh’s claim of anti-semitism and found it false. So he lied about the circumstances surrounding the assault, and Norton’s investigation places Petlakh among the group who harassed and attacked Kiswani. She complained about being punched immediately while in the arena on the video, well before Petlakh was assaulted outside the venue. It was not some “late damage control”.

      You on the other hand are engaging in late damage control. Someone has been proven to have falsely reported an act as anti-semitic in order to punish another person for his political beliefs and you feel the need to divert from that fact, because it makes it clear that not all claims of anti-semitism are legitimate, and should be investigated before being bandied about as true. Shame on you.

    • joer on October 26, 2014, 8:29 am

      Hophni: If you ever watch boxing, you know that not every punch is captured by every camera angle. A famous example of this is a “phantom” knock out punch thrown by Ali against Frazier at 4:03 of this clip:

      Also, the shock of the assault and robbery may have made her thought an unintentional jab was a punch. It is hard to tell what is happening in much of the video-since the one taking the video was intentionally obscuring the identity of the assailants. He wasn’t entirely successful and around 3:06-3:10 in the video it is possible to freeze the screen and get a look at the assailant. It’s a bit blurry, but it certainly looks like Petlakh-enough to wonder what he was wearing that night.

      The video also shows that Petlakh lied to the police, arena security, the press when he said there was a group of protesters waving a flag and cursing and he merely asked them to move out of the way. I can’t help wondering how much more of the story is a hoax. Did he report the punch in the nose at the scene or did he wait? Also, I am interested to see the emergency room records from that night….and speaking of hoaxes, there is nothing about Petakh on the Hunter College website and no reviews of him as a professor anywhere. It turns out he co-taught a class on Jewish History,,,supposedly.

      The end of this case will probably bring another big settlement to Shraeder because of his treatment at Barclay’s and the way he was extradited back to New York-six detectives for a brawl outside a sports arena. I think before anyone involved wants to explain how that and other decisions and policies happened, they will quietly pay for the case to go away.

    • Mooser on October 26, 2014, 10:54 am

      “No evidence whatsoever…. that she was actually punched. ”

      Gee Hophmi, nobody said she died, or was severely injured. She said she was punched. Why isn’t her word good enough?
      I’d sure like to know why she can’t be trusted, Hophmi. Want to tell me?

      • Cliff on October 26, 2014, 1:52 pm

        Cuz a Nakba-denying tool like hoppy wants to just say ‘Arabs lie’.

        Just like he said all Palestinians are Nazis vis a vis the Mufti.

      • hophmi on October 27, 2014, 7:30 am

        “Gee Hophmi, nobody said she died, or was severely injured. She said she was punched. Why isn’t her word good enough?
        I’d sure like to know why she can’t be trusted, Hophmi. Want to tell me?

        1. The video shows no punch. The video shows a guy walking up behind her, and taking the flag out of her hands from behind (and not “violently”), after which she almost immediately starts shouting about an assault. The entire thing is on tape. It’s clear what happened. These hooligans took her flag, which they should not have done, and she, like the trained activist she is, tried to make a big scene out of it. Tiptoeing up behind someone and taking their flag is not the same thing as punching them in the stomach.

        2. There’s been no arrest for an assault, even though she claims to have filed a complaint. That likely means there is no evidence of an assault.

        3. She’s being presented to the press by Schrader’s lawyer in an effort to sully the victim, a common defense technique.

        4. She clearly has a habit of making unsubstantiated claims of persecution. She claims that she’s arrested at protests all the time for being a “Muslim woman,” an allegation she does not substantiate, and which, frankly, is likely nonsense, since the police arrest all kinds of protesters. She seems to think that if she wears a hijab, and she gets arrested, it must be because of the hijab. I guess the when JVP protesters wearing yalmulkes get arrested for civil disobedience, it must be because they’re Jewish.

      • Mooser on October 27, 2014, 11:08 am

        You know Hophmi, the extra zest and vim with which you attack a Muslim woman is really quite palpable.
        You’ll want to dial that back just a bit, just saying. I understand, it runs away with you sometimes, but not every minute of the workday can be fun.

    • Horizontal on October 26, 2014, 6:03 pm

      Hey, hophmi — quick: Can you look into that crystal ball of yours and tell me if the Giants are going to win the series?

      • hophmi on October 27, 2014, 12:01 pm

        “You know Hophmi, the extra zest and vim with which you attack a Muslim woman is really quite palpable.”

        No Mooser, the zest with which you suggest I attacked her because she was Muslim – which I certainly did not – is really quite palpable. Anybody with a brain not on Pallycaine would question the credibility of a witness who comes forward weeks after an incident, at the behest of the defense attorney of the accused attacker, with a claim that she herself was attacked. They would also admit that the video vitiates her entire story, rather than coming to very laughable conclusion that it supports her account of being punched in the stomach when, in fact, no such event appears, and when she starts screaming about an assault as soon as her flag is taken from behind her.

        Ben Norton claims that the flag was “violently” pulled out of her hand. “Violently” is a strange word to describe the act of sneaking up behind a person a taking a flag away from them. By the same definition, flag football is a “violent” sport.

      • Mooser on October 27, 2014, 12:27 pm

        “Violently” is a strange word to describe the act of sneaking up behind a person a taking a flag away from them. By the same definition, flag football is a “violent” sport.”

        You know, Hophmi, I’d like to encourage you. Why, if you displayed the same laser wolf-like, roseh-sharp reasoning on some of the more consequential happenings reported here,, things would be a lot different!

      • tree on October 27, 2014, 4:02 pm

        Hophmi, you’re flailing. Re your “points”.

        1. You misrepresented what was on the video. Kiswani was not holding the flag in “her hands” at the moment it is snatched away. She’s clutching it between her folded arms and her body (specifically her stomach area) when it ripped away from her. We see this only from behind and other than the first reach by her assailant the rest of the action is obscured by the man’s body. We can’t tell if there was a punch or not from the video but we do know that he had to reach in to her stomach area in order to pull the flag away from her, and that such an action, regardless of whether it was or was not a punch, could have easily been interpreted as such by Kiswani. The flag stealing was indeed violence of a minor order, since you can’t take a object tightly clutched between someone’s folded arms and body without doing it violently, any more than you can steal a handbag tightly clutched to someone’s body without some violence.

        2.There’s been no arrest for an assault, even though she claims to have filed a complaint. That likely means there is no evidence of an assault.

        No, it means that the police/prosecutor didn’t think that the assault on Kiswani rose to the level of criminal misdemeanor assault. You’re a NY lawyer so you should know that one element of criminal misdemeanor assault in NY requires “physical injury” / “substantial pain” which was not met in Kiswani’s case, and in addition, prior to the posting of the video by Kiswani’s assailants, there were only conflicting witness accounts on what actually transpired. In other words, the fact that no assault charges were filed doesn’t mean that no evidence of an assault exists, because the video and several witnesses have provided that evidence. What it means is that the prosecutors have judged that the assault doesn’t rise to the level of criminal assault.

        3. The video was stupidly posted, not by Kiswani, but by her assailants. It corroborates her testimony of what happened inside the arena, and is relevant to rebut Petlakh’s false charge that he was assaulted because of his religion/ethnicity. The “sullying” of the “victim” was done by Petlakh himself, or his friends, when they posted the video.

        4. Speaking of sullying the victim, this point of yours is exactly that, as well as an example of you making unsubstantiated claims. You have no proof of anything you say about Kiswani, you are merely acting like a defense attorney for Petlakh because it irks you that some stupid, hateful Jewish guy got called out for falsely accusing someone of a hate crime.

      • hophmi on October 27, 2014, 8:22 pm

        “1. You misrepresented what was on the video.”

        I did not. There is nothing on the video that remotely suggests a punch. The flag is trailing behind her. He walked up behind her and snatched it. And she did not start talking about an assault at that point. She started yelling about an assault at least 8 seconds later. A person who gets punched in the stomach reacts immediately.

        ” No, it means that the police/prosecutor didn’t think that the assault on Kiswani rose to the level of criminal misdemeanor assault.”

        If she was punched in the stomach, it’s harassment, and if she was threatened, it’s criminal menacing. The police charged neither, likely because her allegation is not credible.

        ” It corroborates her testimony of what happened inside the arena, and is relevant to rebut Petlakh’s false charge that he was assaulted because of his religion/ethnicity. ”

        Lol. It does neither. The video vitiates her claim and says nothing about the Petlakh assault, which took place at a different time and place and involved a different perpetrator. The video shows a young lady attempting to escalate a minor incident, the taking of her flag, into a major one, an assault.

      • Mooser on October 27, 2014, 8:03 pm

        Okay, we get it, Hophmi. A woman assaulted on video, it never happened, but Zionist students who don’t feel “comfortable” on campus, that’s real, and serious!

      • Mooser on October 28, 2014, 11:10 am

        Hophmi I’ve thought about it, and you are right. The kind of movement, Zionism, which would pour gas down a child’s throat and light it, or drop white phosphorus, or bomb hospitals, would never, ever, countenance snatching a flag from a woman. I really doubt such an insignificant action meets Zionism’s standards.

      • annie on October 28, 2014, 11:25 am

        you’re in top form today mooser ;)

      • hophmi on October 28, 2014, 11:57 am

        Again, the video shows no punch, and no violence. It shows a guy snatching a flag, and an angry woman cursing and alleging an assault, and telling the people filming the exchange to stop filming it, presumably because she knows she’s going to look bad claiming an assault occurred, when, in fact, the video shows otherwise.

        “A woman assaulted on video, it never happened, but Zionist students who don’t feel “comfortable” on campus, that’s real, and serious! ”

        Again, taking a flag out of someone’s hand from behind is not an assault. At most, it’s harassment. And as usual, we have little idea what the full context was, since there is no video of what occurred before the flag was taken away. Perhaps the Palestinian group was harassing the Russian group, since it is fairly clear that something had happened before the recording started. I watched the protesters demonstrate for a good 45 minutes before I went into the game. There was, by a way, relatively little response from the crowd filing into the arena, and NYPD got in between the protesters and anyone who tried to approach the pen.

        I’ve thought about it too, Mooser. Leonard Peltakh was punched in the face and needed eight stitches. About that there’s no dispute, whether the motivation was anti-Zionism (which would not fit the hate crime statute) or antisemitism. This is what he looked like after the assault:

        All I see is a campaign by extremists in the pro-Palestinian community (because even most in the pro-Palestinian community are smart enough to leave this one alone) to deflect attention from Peltakh’s injuries and to blame the victim here.

      • Mooser on October 29, 2014, 7:21 pm

        ” Leonard Peltakh was punched in the face and needed eight stitches.”

        Ah yes, those telegenic stitches.

        Gee, Hophmi, you’ve spent more words on this than any other article in a long time. It must be very important. But, I’d rather think about something more positive! Eight stitches, you say?

      • Mooser on October 29, 2014, 7:24 pm

        “Leonard Peltakh was punched in the face and needed eight stitches.”

        And they say the Age of Chivalry is over!

      • Mooser on October 29, 2014, 7:28 pm

        “Again, taking a flag out of someone’s hand from behind is not an assault. At most, it’s harassment. “

        I suppose next Hophmi will argue there is a Zionist Droit du seigneur, too.

  16. MHughes976 on October 26, 2014, 2:39 pm

    What’s the difference between a crime of hate, a crime of anger and a crime of (non-erotic) passion?

Leave a Reply